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Morning Memo:Petition calls on McCrory to veto voter ID law

More than 10,000 NC residents have signed a petition asking Gov. Pat McCrory to veto the voter ID bill that passed the legislature last week. At a press conference Friday, McCrory indicated he would sign the bill although he also admitted he was unfamiliar with a part of it. The bill morphed from one focused on having voters show a photo ID at the polls to one that includes changes to early voting, campaign finance and the state's presidential primary. It also lets any registered voter challenge another's vote on election day and repeals Stand By Your Ad and other provisions. See the list here.
Welcome to Dome's Morning Memo on this Wednesday.

Where's Gov. Pat: There's no word from the Governor's Mansion on what the governor is up to today. Perhaps he's home reading bills and baking. He still has quite a few bills left to go over, including the aforementioned voter ID.

ANOTHER WOMAN DOWN: Renee Ellmers has decided to run for re-election to the U.S. House rather than join other GOP candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Kay Hagan. That makes her the second woman to drop out of consideration. Earlier this year, the state's Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said she'd pass on the opportunity. That leaves Heather Grant, a nurse in Wilkesboro County, as the only woman so far ready to take on the GOP primary. Grant, a former Army nurse, will kick off her campaign Aug. 9.

The field so far is small: Grant, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary. Hagan has been seen as vulnerable and the National Republican Party has targeted her seat but so far they have not appeared to be happy with the slate of candidates offered by the state party.

In her statement saying she would not run, Ellmers noted that the GOP needed to reach out to women, saying: "For the sake of our party's future, it's absolutely necessary to make a conscientious effort on our part to do many things, in particular, we need to do a much better job listening, connecting, and reaching out to women."

Ellmers does not mention Tillis in her note but says: "There is still plenty of time to look at future positions like the Senate and I will do my best to support the Republican candidate for this seat."

THE TRICKLE DOWN EFFECT: WakeMed and other state hospitals are preparing for cutbacks, including job losses, as a result of state and federal policy changes. Among those the decision by state lawmakers to not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The NC Hospital Association says that decision will lead to $400 million in loss revenue. Full story.

SSSSH IT'S A SECRET: The NC Department of Insurance has approved the health plans that will be available with federal subsidies und the Affordable Care Act but that's all we can tell you. The DOI says the state's trade secret law keeps them from saying what the rates will be or even how many plans they have approved. We'll have to wait until Oct. 1 when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services post the ones they've approved online. That's the date the healthcare marketplace opens for enrollment. Full story.

POSSUM PAY BACK: The state's losing battle over the right to drop possums will now cost it $74,446 as a judge has ruled it must pay PETA's legal fees. Going forward, of course, the state can drop as many possums as it wants since the governor has signed a bill that lets the possum drop — the New Year's Eve ritual in Brasstown — go forward. Full story.


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