CIVITAS POLL PUTS McCRORY ABOVE 50%: A Civitas poll puts Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's favorability rating at 54 percent, a touch higher than a poll earlier in the week showing it at 49 percent. His unfavorable rating is 30 percent, according to the political nonprofit that traditionally supports Republicans. Look for more numbers on Dome soon.
IMMIGRATION ADS PROVIDE GOP COVER: Americans for a Conservative Direction, a group backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, is airing an ad in North Carolina that defends the immigration legislation. The Hill reports that it is targeted at six red-leaning states and designed to support Republicans who favor the plan. From the story: "Anyone who thinks that what we have now on immigration is not a problem is fooling themselves," (Marco Rubio) says in a news clip featured in the ad. A narrator goes on to say that "conservative leaders have a plan," and cites news outlets like McClatchy, CNN and the Washington Post in describing it as "the toughest enforcement measure in the history of the United States," "bold" and "very conservative."
***Happy Friday! Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. A quiet day in N.C. politics. No legislative action and the governor lists no public events. Find more news and analysis below. ***
BROYHILL DECEIVED HAHNS: In the past year, Jonathan Broyhill told friends he was suffering both from pancreatic cancer and multiple sclerosis – a diagnosis that was at least partially untrue. His accounts of sickness add to questions about his state of mind in the days before his friend, political strategist Jamie Kirk Hahn, 29, was stabbed in her North Raleigh home. On Wednesday, after Jaime Hahn died of her injuries, Petty told about two dozen congregants gathered for a dinner that Broyhill did not have the disease, according to church members. Full story.
MEMORIAL SERVICES: A visitation for Jamie Hahn will take place 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday also at Pullen Memorial.
THE RED CARPET LINEUP FOR IRON MAN 3: Marvel is showing a special screening of Iron Man 3 on Sunday -- just as state lawmakers debate whether film incentives are a good thing. On the special invite list is Gov. Pat McCrory's Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker and former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, who is now chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, according to an announcement from the state commerce department.
SEN. HAGAN MAKING ANNOUNCEMENT IN RALEIGH: Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan will tout a her bill to promote financial literacy in schools during a visit Friday to Leesville Road High School. This is a cause Hagan championed as a state senator, too.
SENATE MOVES TO EASE AIRPORT DELAYS: Democrats and Republicans are hammers their opponents for the airport delays caused by the sequester. National Republicans are particularly trying to hang it around Hagan's neck, given her 2014 re-election battle. But now legislation to end furloughs of air traffic controllers and delays for millions of travelers is headed to a House vote after a dark-of-night vote in the Senate that took place after most lawmakers had left the Capitol for a weeklong vacation. Full story.
LaROQUE TAKES SHOT AT PROSECUTORS: In laying out his defense, former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque’s attorneys claim he was legally entitled to the federal funds he received as the middle man in a rural re-lending program, and so he could not have stolen the money. The defense also takes a swipe at the government’s investigation, saying it began after N.C. Policy Watch – underlining that it is a “Democratic-leaning” online outlet – published stories about the “outspoken Republican.” The defense complains that investigators “delved into every aspect of LaRoque’s life” for 10 months before obtaining an indictment. Full story.
DEMOCRACY NC COMPLAINT PROMPTS BOARD ACTION: A majority of members on the North Carolina Board of Elections say they support opening a campaign finance investigation into 2012 political donations from the operators of sweepstakes games. The five-member board is scheduled to meet by telephone Tuesday. It was prompted by a Democracy NC complaint about the contributions. Full story.
PAYDAY LENDING LITE: People who need fast cash could end up paying higher interest rates under a bill being pushed in the state Senate by the consumer finance industry – and ardently opposed by consumer advocates. The industry says the state’s 30-year-old consumer finance laws need to be updated to reflect the increased cost of doing business.
Consumer advocates say the industry is doing just fine and that such loans prey on people who can least afford it. Senate Bill 489, which is in the Senate Commerce Committee, is stridently opposed by consumer advocacy groups, while the industry is solidly behind it. The bill has attracted 23 sponsors and co-sponsors, 19 Republicans and four Democrats. Full story.
HERE THEY GO AGAIN: A dispute between House and Senate leaders reopened Thursday with two of Gov. Pat McCrory’s judicial appointees caught in the crossfire. Republican lawmakers want to purge many state boards and commissions to remove Democrats and existing appointees and replace them with their allies, but the two chambers can’t agree on how far-reaching to make the overhaul. Full story.
WHERE DID THIS COME FROM: In the Senate Bill 10 that emerged from House and Senate negotiations, Republican lawmakers added a provision that would prohibit any state agency from developing or implementing a plan to address climate change unless authorized by the legislature. The new language is tucked into the conference committee report that sweeps clean several key boards and commissions. It received no discussion as the House rejected the measure and the Senate approved it.
But Ryke Longest, director of the Duke University Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, said it has far-reaching implications and could affect research grants at public universities in the state.
“This bill is problematic because it goes beyond the budget power of the General Assembly to create a gag rule on executive branch agencies,” he said. “These terms are so broad as to include work of academic research or long-range infrastructure planning.”
DEMOCRAT ORDERED TO PAY BACK TAXES: A former chairman of the University of North Carolina's governing board and two-time Democratic congressional candidate has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for tax fraud. Sam Neill of Hendersonville was also ordered to pay almost $500,000 in back taxes at his sentencing hearing in Asheville on Wednesday. Full story.
MORE ON INNOVATION CENTER: Gov. Pat McCrory announced Thursday the creation of a state government computer technology education and testing center he said will ensure employees learn the latest technology and products meet the needs of workers and citizens before they're purchased. Full story.
CURSIVE'S MERITS DEBATED: The state Senate passed a bill Thursday requiring public schools to teach cursive writing despite questions over the need for a new mandate and the validity of arguments supporting the measure. Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, an Orange County Democrat, distributed to senators copies of a blog post from N.C. Policy Watch that challenged the validity of the claims touting the effects of writing in cursive on the brain.
Policy Watch linked the bill to Zaner-Bloser, a company that sells handwriting curricula.
The Ohio-based company said it was not the source of the North Carolina bill or bills filed in any other states. “We learned about the bill from the media,” said Brad Onken, senior vice president for strategic marketing and business development. “We do not employ lobbyists for any handwriting efforts at all.”
In the last few years, several states have required public schools to teach cursive. A bill is pending in Indiana, and the South Carolina legislature has a bill identical to North Carolina’s. While the state’s cursive bill has made international news, a handwriting instructor from New York, Kate Gladstone, said much of the arguments made in support of cursive writing were not accurate. Full story.