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Morning Memo: Expect a late night at legislature as bills fly fast

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The action starts early Tuesday and will likely stretch past 10 p.m. again. The House and Senate plan to convene a skeletal session just before 10 a.m. to read in committee reports, then recess until 2 p.m. House Speaker Thom Tillis said the session will go until 5:15 p.m. or so before a dinner recess for committee meetings. The chamber will reconvene at 7 p.m. and go late. The Senate isn't expected to stay as long but its calendar is getting crowded. Gov. Pat McCrory lists no public events.

McCRORY'S OFFICE WON'T RELEASE DAILY SCHEDULE ANYMORE: The governor's Communications Director Kim Genardo is changing the office's policy of releasing a daily calendar. Genardo said if there is no event scheduled, she won't send out a notice stating as much, meaning some days will have no notice to the governor's schedule. McCrory pledged to release a daily schedule during the gubernatorial campaign as he bashed his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, for taking a "secret" trip to Pennsylvania to study fracking rigs. Republicans jumped on McCrory's Democratic opponent for not pledging to do the same. “Everyone knew where I was as mayor,” McCrory said a year ago. “My records were open."

***A busy week means lots of news below in the Dome Morning Memo. Send more news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. ****

Genardo's reasoning: "Change is my call," she said. "Typically there is always something — even on weekends." The value of the current schedule -- which includes a very limited rundown of the governor's activities, barely meeting his original pledge -- is debatable. But it speaks to concerns about the governor's transparency after pledging regular news conferences during his campaign.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The sausage-making will fly fast. Here's a few bills we are watching: a Senate is expected to consider a bill to impede animal rights whistle-blowers, the House will return to a bill requiring outside groups to file more campaign finance disclosures and another to mandate electronic filing for state lawmakers; and the Senate will continue the trend of usurping local governments by considering a bill to limit where they put restrictions on smoking.

REDISTRICTING TRIAL SET FOR JUNE: Attorneys in North Carolina's redistricting lawsuits will return to court early next month because a three-judge panel wants to hear more evidence before deciding on the legality of boundaries drawn by Republican legislators. The Superior Court judges announced Monday they'll hold a trial June 4 and 5 to hear from witnesses and review documents. The judges - Paul Ridgeway of Wake County, Joseph Crosswhite of Iredell County and Alma Hinton of Halifax County - said they want to focus solely on two issues in the hearing related to race. Full story.

AFP OPPOSES MEL WATT'S SENATE CONFIRMATION: From an AFP release -- "This makes Rep. Watt’s nomination troubling because he actively supports the idea that government should subsidize home ownership. For example, Watt worked closely with Rep. Barney Frank to keep Fannie and Freddie over-exposed in the subprime mortgage market. He also helped pilot a program called “Pathways to Homeownership” that targeted low-income individuals with subprime loans.

However, Rep. Watt has less care for sound policy prescriptions. He is a politician who views housing policy from a decidedly partisan position. He has little regard for the concerns of taxpayers and their already exorbitant tax bill. This is not the attitude that Americans should desire from any potential nominee for any political position. AFP will remain opposed to the policy of principal reduction as Rep. Watt’s nomination moves forward. Full opposition statement here.

PERSONNEL FILE: Crystal Feldman, the governor's press secretary, is moving to the N.C. Department of Public Safety. Feldman was one of the last original members of McCrory's communications team and the second to leave for a state agency. Former deputy communications director Ricky Diaz recently left to join the state Department of Health and Human Services. The governor's office did not provide further details.

ARE THE PROTESTS EFFECTIVE?: Dallas Woodhouse, North Carolina director for Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy organization inspired by the tea party movement, said Monday night that he did not think continued protests would be effective. “They have to make their case in conservative legislative districts that abhor this kind of thing,” Woodhouse said. “I don’t think this wins you many friends in the soccer-mom suburbs that you have to get on your side here, and I don’t see anybody changing any bills because of this.”

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, a Democrat from Orange County, said she thought the demonstrations were having an effect, though. She said people who do not keep up with the day-to-day business of the legislature see the publicity about the arrests and want to know more. “People will start asking why are they here, what are they protesting,” Kinnaird said. “Then they learn more about what’s going on.” Full story. See a photo gallery here.

ELECTION BILLS IN FOCUS: North Carolina lawmakers want to ask voters one more time to remove what they call a stain from the state constitution. House lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment Monday to repeal the state’s literacy test for voting, a provision aimed at restricting black voters that has remained in the state’s guiding document long after it was voided. The measure is one of two elections-related bills that won approval at the start of a crucial week at the N.C. General Assembly called “crossover.” Full story.

MORE FROM CROSSOVER: Click here to get a legislative wrap on Monday's coverage.

'BASTARDY' on the House floor: The clock passed 10 pm. Monday when the word "bastardy" was dropped by Rep. Skip Stam. He sponsored a bill to remove the word from the N.C. General Statutes along with "illegitimate children." State laws now say "born out of wedlock."

GROUP TO GIVE McCRORY VOTER ID PETITION: Two organizations aligned against the voter ID measure approved by the House says it collected 10,000 signatures in opposition to the bill, which it will present to McCrory on Tuesday. Working America and Guilford Stays Organized will ask McCrory to veto the legislation. It will hold a press conference in Greensboro at noon and then travel to Raleigh.

BIGGEST STORY OF THE DAY -- ANDREW WIGGINS: Forget crossover, Andrew Wiggins, the 6-foot-7 forward at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, will announce Tuesday whether he will play at UNC, or at one of the three other schools he’s considering. Florida State, Kansas and Kentucky are Wiggins’ other three finalists. he is considered the top 2013 prospect. His decision will come at approximately 12:15 during a private ceremony at his school. The set-up piece.

TILLIS RAISING MONEY FOR MECK DA: House Speaker Thom Tillis, a prolific fundraiser, is helping Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray raise his own campaign cash. Murray is hosting an event May 23 at the Peninsula Club in Cornelius with Tillis as the special guest. A $2,500 donation per couple gets contributors into a private reception and photo op with Murray and Tillis. The cheapest ticket is $100.

CIVITAS DEBUTS SITE TO FIGHT EDUCATION STANDARDS: The Civitas Institute, a conservative organization, is ramping up its fight against Common Core Standards with a new website that it hopes will elevate the issue. Civitas labels the Common Core as "a national effort, powered by private interests and the federal government, to impose untested academic content standards for English language arts and mathematics on all K-12 public schools across the nation." North Carolina is one of 45 states with the standards, approved in June 2010 by the Democratic-led legislature.

HERALD-SUN TO GO BEHIND PAYWALL: The Durham newspaper is the latest to go toward a pay-for-content model. It's also selling it's building. Full story.

SO MUCH FOR THOSE FILM CREDITS: The producers of the NBC drama “Revolution” have informed their crew that the show, which filmed its first season in and around Wilmington, will not return to the Port City for its second season. Aaron Syrett, director of the N.C. Film Office, said the show’s departure is related to location needs."Revolution’ is moving to Texas for creative reasons,” he said. “They need a look that is not available in North Carolina.” Full story.

R.G. Puckett dies: R.G. “Gene” Puckett, a minister who found he could have a greater influence through the press than from the pulpit and who presided over the North Carolina Baptists’ newspaper when the denomination was undergoing one of its greatest periods of upheaval, has died. Full story.

C-SPAN ROLLS INTO RALEIGH: If you spot a red, white and blue C-SPAN truck parked around Raleigh this week, that means you’re in the vicinity of some significant bit of city history or culture. The nonprofit cable TV network, known for its coverage of Congress and other public affairs programs, is spending the week in Raleigh interviewing historians, authors and VIPs for a “Raleigh Weekend” of programming to air in June. Full story.


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