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Morning Memo: GOP 'stupid party,' lawmakers may restrict access to gun records

JINDAL TO GOP: STOP BEING THE STUPID PARTY: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Thursday night challenged fellow Republicans to “go after every voter” and cautioned them to “stop being the stupid party.”

“It’s no secret we had a number of Republicans who damaged the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments,” he told around 200 members and guests of the Republican National Committee at the Westin hotel. Jindal, considered a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said Republicans can beat Democrats on their ideas while appealing to all Americans – beyond Washington.

***Welcome to the Dome Morning Memo -- the source for N.C. politics. Click "Read More" below for more news.***

MORE FROM THE NATIONAL GOP MEETING IN CHARLOTTE: For a party that lost the White House and congressional seats in November, the meeting has brought an unusual amount of soul-searching. … Some Republicans say the party’s a victim of a bad image, caused in part by a hostile media. “I’m concerned that … the perception of the party is that it’s racist and all kinds of foolishness,” said Ada Fisher, a Salisbury physician and one of the RNC’s three African-Americans. “That’s just not who we are.”
But Kerry Haynie, a Duke University political scientist, said Republicans have helped foster perceptions that make it difficult for them to win minority support. “The party has an image problem with minorities, and a deserved image problem,” Haynie said. “To overcome that will take time. But it will take more than words.”

LOCAL OFFICIALS ASK STATE TO SEAL GUN RECORDS FROM PUBLIC: The Gaston County Commissioner asked state leaders Thursday to remove information on gun permits from the public’s eyes, reports the Gaston Gazette. (Front page, 2-col headline) "Commissioner Tom Keigher said he did so out of fear that more media outlets might take that information and broadcast it to the public en masse, possibly to promote an anti-gun political agenda. “I don’t know why the government has to have a list in the first place,” he said.

"N.C. Rep. Justin Burr, R-Montgomery, has drafted a new bill to achieve the same goal, and he plans to introduce it in the upcoming session, Commissioner Tracy Philbeck said. “This is not just a knee-jerk reaction at some opportune time,” he said. “It’s already had a lot of attention and I believe it will have a positive effect.”

A1 STAR-NEWS: Gun control push not supported by congressional delegation. From the story: "The debate over gun control promises to dominate President Obama's second term, but he'll find few allies in Southeastern North Carolina's congressional delegation. Both members of the House representing the region oppose any changes to gun laws, and Republican Sen. Richard Burr issued a strongly worded statement earlier this month pledging to fight any gun control regulations."

FIRST PROSECUTION FOR MURDER OF UNBORN CHILD:Danielle Watson’s murder changed the way Charlotte police dispatch calls, and marked the first time prosecutors in North Carolina sought an indictment for the murder of an unborn baby. On Thursday, the man accused of the killings, Mark Anthony Cox, agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison rather than risk being sentenced to death for the January 2012 murders of the Flying Biscuit Café manager and her unborn child.

THE TAX DEBATE

CON: N.C. FOLLOWING OTHERS STATES FLAWED MODEL, a Duke public policy professor writes. "In 2011, a conservative think tank in Oklahoma paid an out-of-state consulting firm led by Reagan economist Arthur Laffer to write a report that suggested that Oklahoma would benefit by lowering taxes on businesses and the wealthy and scrapping credits for lower- and middle-income residents. That November, Laffer visited Oklahoma to promote the report. The following January, the governor introduced a bill. Economists in Oklahoma panned the proposal, however, and it failed.

"In 2012, the same kinds of groups used the same strategy in Kansas. Wealthy conservatives paid Laffer’s firm to write a report making the same claims and to visit the state to promote it. Unlike their neighbors to the south, Kansas lawmakers enacted the plan. This year, the same groups are using the same playbook in our state."

THE KICKER: "A proposal tailored to our needs is the only way to ensure that we can continue to support the quality of life that makes me so proud to call North Carolina my home."

PRO: A BLUEPRINT FOR PROGRESS, conservative Bob Luddy writes, starts "with a new governor and pro-growth leadership in the General Assembly."

His outline: "We now have the opportunity to reinvigorate North Carolina’s economy by making bold but sensible policy changes. Entrepreneurial small businesses are the state’s primary job creators, but we must develop the best possible environment to encourage new business investment." His ideas: eliminate income taxes, public-paid scholarships to send kids to school, privatizing functions of the UNC system, reduce spending and eliminate economic incentives.

COOPER ASKS LAWMAKERS TO GIVE PROSECUTORS MORE POWER:Prosecutors will make another run at persuading the state legislature to give them more power to go after corrupt public officials and complex financial crimes. Attorney General Roy Cooper and Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby announced in a news conference Thursday that they will ask the General Assembly to give state prosecutors the authority to convene investigative grand juries, and to make it a crime to lie to State Bureau of Investigation agents.


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