--A cadre of veteran state lawmakers will retire at the end of the year - and special perks in state law allow them to land with a financial parachute. Take former House Speaker Joe Hackney: the 66-year-old attorney with 32 years in the legislature can expect to receive a $41,000 annual pension for the rest of his life.
A North Carolina law that allows the state's part-time lawmakers to add an expense stipend to their base salary when calculating retirement benefits boosts their pensions by more than 30 percent, according to a News & Observer analysis. The percentage of salary lawmakers receive as an annual payout also is more than double the rate afforded most state workers. Read more and see the $10K Club here.
--A group that plans to mount a novel third-party presidential campaign is poised to get on the North Carolina ballot, a move that could change the electoral dynamics in a key battleground state. A state elections official says Americans Elect appears to have the required signatures to get on the November ballot alongside President Barack Obama and the Republican and Libertarian nominees. The state could certify them in early March. Read more here.
--In Sunday's column, Rob Christensen says the "dumbest governor" comment about Bev Perdue is the latest example of sexism in Tar Heel politics, which is still very much a club of good ol' boys. Read more here.
--If you missed it, Richard Moore said Friday he wouldn't run for governor. Get the details here.
--And in a column, N&O Executive Editor John Drescher discusses how Newt Gingrich uses the media as a foil, and draws connections to former N.C. Sen. Jesse Helms. Read it here.