The legislature is moving quickly with session expected to finish by the end of the month -- if not sooner. Get the full stories here:
A fracking bill is on the fast-track even though new federal estimates reveal a far smaller amount of natural gas than previously thought in North Carolina. Gov. Bev Perdue signed the Cherokee gaming bill minutes after Senate approval, as the tribe aims for July 4th gaming at its casino. A House committee approved a restricted Racial Justice Act and the controversial bill is likely to emerge on the full House floor next week. And a divided House panel approved a measure to prohibit death row inmates from watching TVs, despite concerns that it would lead to increased violence and bad behavior.
More political headlines below.
--Vice President Joe Biden stumped for the Democratic administration’s programs Wednesday, blaming the Republican Congress for blocking a raft of initiatives designed to help the middle class. Biden ticked off a list of programs stymied by the Republican House, such as providing money to keep teachers and police from being laid off, tax credits for companies that bring businesses from overseas back home, new efforts for veterans, and efforts to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. “We can’t wait,” Biden told about 600 people at the Wake Forest Biotech Place.
--For proof that support of same-sex marriage is regional – not partisan – look no further than Wake County. The constitutional amendment election results reveal a divide between urban and rural communities rather than traditionally Republican and Democratic regions.
--A majority of North Carolina school systems, including Wake County, are joining the State Board of Education’s effort to prevent the opening of an online charter school that could divert more than $34 million a year in taxpayer dollars away from traditional public schools.