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Morning Memo: Berger to make decision; Wos as a mentor to McCrory

MORAL MONDAYS IN THE FOOTHILLS: The North Carolina NAACP is taking its protest of legislative action to Yadkinville. The civil rights group said its Moral Monday and the Forward Together Movement will be at the Yadkin County Courthouse at 7 p.m. Monday.

The NAACP has been protesting actions by the Republican-dominated General Assembly for weeks. The group says it's concerned about what it calls attacks on teachers, unemployed workers, immigrants and voting rights, among other issues. Read more here.

TODAY IN POLITICS: Other political headlines to expect: Senate leader Phil Berger announces whether he will run for the U.S. Senate on Monday. Gov. Pat McCrory will take his message outside the capital city again, traveling to McAdenville for a tour at Pharr Yarns Facility and then visit Belmont for a business roundtable at the String Bean on Main Street.

***Read a dissection of the Aldona Wos profile below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: McCrory abortion promise challenged

UPDATED: TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House and Senate convene at 7 p.m. for what some lawmakers hope is the final week of the legislative session. It seems unlikely, even if it wraps by Sunday, because of the bevy of issues remaining on the table: fracking, voter ID, taxes, budget, landfills, abortion, guns, a regulatory overhaul, commerce bill, immigration, etc.

The House will get started Monday, debating the so-called RECLAIM NC Act, an immigration bill that splits the loyalties of immigration advocate groups. A bill about riding ATVs on roads is also on the calendar. The Senate will consider a handful of measures, including a bill to force Durham to clear hurdles for the contentious 751 development. All this takes place amid the backdrop of the 11th "Moral Monday" demonstration, which starts about 5 p.m.

McCRORY'S HOMETOWN PAPER SAYS HE 'BREAKS HIS PROMISE ON ABORTION': The Charlotte Observer issued a scathing editorial in reaction to McCrory saying he would sign the abortion bill: "McCrory should have stood firm and vetoed it. But backed into a corner politically, trying to stay in the good favor of the extreme conservatives he has deferred to since taking office, he caved. Now, he says he will sign the House bill if it reaches his desk.

"Too bad. This was a moment when McCrory could have redeemed himself and showed up as the moderate governor we thought we were getting when he was elected, the person we recognized from his years as Charlotte’s mayor. Instead McCrory broke a promise. And by doing so, he showed us that though he may be governor in name, he’s clearly not in charge." Read more here.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Many more N.C. political headlines below.***

Morning Memo: Voter ID on hold, as taxes takes stage

VOTER ID STILL ON HOLD: From AP: The Senate is putting on hold for another week debating legislation that would require photo identification to vote in person in North Carolina. Rules committee Chairman Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville said previously a voter ID bill and legislation with broader election changes would be unveiled this week. Apodaca said Monday that won't happen until next week because Republicans are still working on the legislation. He declined to provide details.

MONDAY ARRESTS AT LEGISLATURE NEAR 700: About 80 more people were arrested outside the legislative chambers Monday after a rally attracted thousands outside. Earlier in the day, lawyers, professors and religious leaders who were among the first to get arrested were in Wake County District Court. Concerned about mounting court costs, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby has encouraged General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver to consider issuing citations rather than arresting the protesters. Weaver said, however, that arresting them gives law enforcement officers a way to disperse the crowd.

***In the Dome Morning Memo below, find a GOP lawmaker's thoughts on why the Confederacy lost the war, reaction to the Senate's final tax plan and more N.C. political news and analysis.***

Morning Memo: Ahead of 2014 race, Berger, Tillis hit by national Democrats

2014 WATCH: National Democrats hit potential GOP candidates Tillis, Berger on Ryan budget. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis are making enough moves toward challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagain in 2014 that its attracting the attention of national Democrats. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is asking whether the two Republicans support Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan. "Republicans in Washington are back with their Medicare-busting budget plan, but potential GOP Senate hopefuls Phil Berger and Thom Tillis have yet to tell North Carolinians where they stand," starts a statement from the DSCC set for release later Tuesday.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House will consider a bill to curtail local building design standards that local mayors want stopped dead in its tracks (more below) as well as a measure to limit tanning beds for those under age 18. House convenes at 1 p.m.; Senate convenes at 2 p.m. Gov. Pat McCrory will make a school safety announcement in Apex in the morning.

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- the source for exclusive North Carolina political news and analysis. Send news and tips to Read more below.***

Morning Memo: McCrory budget may emerge soon, men oppose 'nipple bill'

McCRORY BUDGET RELEASE NEXT WEEK? Top GOP lawmakers say Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to release his state budget plan next week. The governor's office is remaining mum. But budget details are leaking to lawmakers, who say McCrory's spending plan isn't like to include details of a major tax overhaul, such as corporate or personal income tax cuts, and instead it will assume the tax plan being negotiated privately by Republicans will be revenue neutral.

MEN OPPOSE NIPPLE BILL: Public Policy Polling will release more from its statewide voter survey later Friday. But here's a peak: nearly half of men -- 45 percent -- oppose the bill to prohibit women from barring their breasts and 34 percent support. Women are deadlocked at 38 percent on what is called the "nipple bill." (Insert stereotypical joke about men here.)

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- a roundup of North Carolina political news and analysis. Send news and tips to And read much more below.***

Morning Memo: McCrory to White House; more details from strategy memo

MEMO STIRS THE N.C. POLITICAL POT: The political strategy memo from a cadre of groups aligned with Democratic causes is getting a good bit of attention for its tactics. One overlooked in all the coverage: a staff of video trackers to follow the every move of the "targets" (Pat McCrory, Thom Tillis, Phil Berger) and hiring private investigators.

McCRORY VISITING THE WHITE HOUSE: Pat McCrory is visiting Washington Friday through Monday for a series of meetings with the National Governors Association and Republican Governors Association. On Sunday, along with all governors, he will dine at the White House with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, followed by a meeting at the White House the next morning with the president.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- more N.C. political news and analysis below, including more details from the anti-Republican strategy memo.

Morning Memo: Which bill will McCrory sign first?

LAWMAKERS THROW McCRORY A BONE: The first bill to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk is likely to be a measure to cut unemployment benefits for the jobless. The Republican supports the bill but don't be surprised if it's not the first one he signs. The House worked late Wednesday to pass another bill designed to create two paths for high school graduates: technical schools or college. McCrory campaigned on this issue and Democrats expect to him to make it the first bill he signs. "The word on the street is that the governor wants to have a press conference on this," Democratic state Rep. Paul Luebke of Durham said on the House floor in criticizing the speed at which it progressed. The bill was heard in committee and given initial approval in the House in the same day.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: State Auditor Beth Wood appears before lawmakers this morning to talk about a recent audit showing troubles in the Medicaid system -- a documents Republicans are using as justification to block a Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law. A Senate committee will consider a measure to block public access to records about concealed weapons holders. On the House floor, House Speaker Thom Tillis is limiting debate on a controversial measure to block Medicaid expansion to 30 minutes. Lawmakers want to leave early today, in part, because it's Valentine's Day. McCrory is hosting more lawmakers for breakfast and lists no other public events.

Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- the source for all the North Carolina political scuttlebutt. Much more below.

Jobless benefits extension controversy resurfaces

Yet another special session on the horizon?

That’s the word from the General Assembly leadership today, which raised the possibility of returning to Raleigh to extend unemployment benefits.

You’ll recall that last year Gov. Bev Perdue and Republican lawmakers were in a protracted standoff over extending unemployment benefits to about 42,000 jobless North Carolinians, who had been without them for weeks. Republicans tried to tie the extension to a requirement that the governor approve whatever budget the General Assembly passed.

Perdue refused, and eventually signed an executive order stretching the benefit to the end of the year. The extension was also part of the state budget that was approved.

Congress has extended the benefits an extra two months, but a change in North Carolina’s unemployment law is needed in order to make that happen here, according to a statement issued this afternoon by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis. The legislative leaders issued a joint statement:

“The General Assembly is ready to work with Gov. Perdue to resolve this issue.  If Gov. Perdue believes an immediate fix is required, then we encourageher to take the appropriate action and call the General Assembly back for a special session.”

Update: No special session necessary, says the governor. She has once again signed an executive order extending benefits.

There are currently about 25,000 unemployed people in line for that money. Perdue issued a statement this evening noting that all of the money is federal funding.

“In addition to providing desperately needed financial help to the families that actually receive the benefits, these federal dollars will help all North Carolinians because the money will circulate throughout the economy and help support large and small businesses across the state,” Perdue said.

The "fill-in-the-blank" governor

Most of us don't get to pick our own nicknames.

Yesterday, at a policy speech in Charlotte, Gov. Bev Perdue gave it a shot.

"Make no mistake," she told a Charlotte Chamber audience on Wednesday. "Our number one priority in North Carolina has to be jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs ... I am, and will continue to be known as the 'jobs governor.'"

We've heard Perdue called a lot of things, but "jobs governor" isn't one that comes up a lot. On the campaign trail, Perdue cultivated an image as an "education governor."

Senate Republican leader Phil Berger wasted no time in pouncing on the new nickname in a press release.

"Despite Governor Perdue’s desperate attempts to give herself a nickname and lift her low approval ratings, more than 64,000 North Carolina workers have lost their jobs on her watch," Berger said Wednesday.

Berger suggested Perdue will be known as the "Jobless Governor" instead.

Correction: A previous version of this post misstated the original source of Berger's comments.

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