Under the Dome

Morning Memo: Goodwin promises access for campaign cash

GOODWIN ADVERTISES ACCESS FOR CAMPAIGN CASH: Democratic Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin is soliciting campaign donors to join his "Commissioner's Club," promising private dinners to high-level contributors and emailed "personal updates" on his agency's work. "Be ahead of your friends and colleagues with exclusive updates -- join the Commissioner's Club TODAY," a campaign email states. (Click below for more.)

TODAY IN POLITICS:The Council of State meets this morning at 9 a.m. to handle a number of property matters. Gov. Pat McCrory's office said he won't take questions, as is customary, after the meeting. House and Senate committees are full of action now that the deadline for the majority of bills has passed and the machinations begin. (See more below). The Legislative Black Caucus will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. to criticize "tea party Republicans" who want to change election laws. McCrory will meet privately with Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer later this morning.

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FOR THE LOW LOW PRICE OF $10 A MONTH: Goodwin's fundraising effort asks donors from his 2012 re-election campaign to join his club with varying levels of privileges built into the system. At $10 a month, a "regular member" will get regular emailed updates highlighting "key issues and decisions by the commissioner." At $50 a month, "trustee" donors receive an exclusive invitation to an annual dinner with Goodwin and a personalized photo. At the highest level, $200 a month, donors will serve as a co-host "of all receptions honoring Commissioner Goodwin between 2013 and 2016." (He faces re-election in 2016.)

The campaign solicitation is interseting for a number of reasons. For one, Goodwin isn't alone is promising donors access -- this is essentially what campaign donations get contributors, particularly the special interests. It's just rare to see it so blatantly apparent. Also, the idea of access and insights into policy decisionss is one reason why Democrats have blasted a nonprofit tied to Gov. Pat McCrory, the Foundation for North Carolina. The "club" appears aimed at industry stakeholders and lobbyists -- becauuse who else wants to get an regular email from the insurance commissioner.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House Education committee will hear legislation that tweaks a measure approved the year before assigning letter grades to schools. At the same time (10 a.m.), another House panel will consider a bill to require those on public assistance, such as food stamps, to get criminal background checks -- a measure that has proved controversial in other states. At 1 p.m., the Senate Finance Committee hears a bill to hike boat registration costs to pay for coastal dredging. The House and Senate convene at 2 p.m.

CEOs MAD AT McCRORY: From the News & Record -- The furniture industry isn’t taking proposed funding cuts to the High Point Market Authority sitting down. The presidents and CEOs of more than 40 of the industry’s most powerful companies sent a letter to state leaders in Raleigh on Monday, hoping to head off cuts to funding they call essential to the twice-yearly High Point Market. At issue: Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget, which recommends cutting state funding for the High Point Market Authority. Full story.

METLIFE PAYDAY GROWS: Wake County commissioners approved nearly $1.9 million in incentive grants Monday for MetLife Inc. after amending board policy on how much companies are required to invest to account for the much-higher-than-average wages MetLife has promised to pay. The deal won unanimous approval among the six commissioners who voted; insurance broker Paul Coble recused himself, saying he knew people involved in the negotiations. Full story.

DATA SHOWS GUN PERMIT ISSUED ILLEGALLY: Less than a year after he was convicted of assaulting a neighbor, Anthony Charles Hardy received a concealed carry permit from the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, an approval that N.C. law prohibits. Hardy – who authorities said fatally shot two of his neighbors before killing himself on Friday – received a concealed carry permit in September 2005, shortly after a prayer for judgment conviction for misdemeanor assault and battery, state records show. According to N.C. law, a sheriff must deny a permit to an applicant who has been found guilty, received a prayer for judgment continued, or had a sentence suspended for a violent misdemeanor. Full story.

COASTAL LAWMAKERS PUSH FOR FREE FERRIES: Norman Sanderson survived his freshman year in the state House of Representatives somehow, even after he voted to impose tolls on his fellow ferry commuters in Craven and Pamlico counties. Now a first-term senator, Sanderson has updated his position on the state’s plan to jack up the rates for three coastal ferries whose riders already pay tolls, and to start charging riders on two river ferries that have always been fare-free: He is against it, now.

So are two more legislators who, like Sanderson, voted in 2011 to approve the toll increases. The three coastal Republicans are among nine sponsors of bipartisan House and Senate billsfiled last week to cancel the new tolls, scheduled to take effect July 1.Full story.

GROUPS FIGHT ELECTION BILLS: From AP -- More liberal-learning groups are urging North Carolina's Republican legislature to back off legislation that would reduce early voting and end same-day registration during the early voting period. Progress North Carolina led a news conference Monday at the Legislative Building to oppose bills last week to reduce 2 1/2 weeks of in-person early voting by one week. One of the bills would bar Sunday voting. Full story.

UNDER TATA, DOT BECOMING WAKE SCHOOL SYSTEM: Transportation Secretary Tony Tata announced Monday that Susan Pullium, a student assignment administrator for the Wake County schools, will join him and at least six other former Wake school employees at NCDOT. Full story.

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