NC Civitas | The state budget for FY 2018-19 contains nearly 170 line items totaling $30 million that are highly inappropriate or outright pork. Appropriations directing funding to local pet projects include items such as walking trails, playgrounds, county fairs and highway signs. Moreover, dozens of nonprofit organizations receive direct appropriations in the budget. Make no mistake, these nonprofits perform admirable work. However, it is highly inappropriate – and unfair favoritism – to single out nonprofits for specific appropriations of state tax dollars, instead of having them go through the appropriate grant process. There is little doubt that a large percentage, if not all, of theseRead More →

Republican’s school safety plan makes some temporary changes, while giving lawmakers time to assess what else might be needed. Education NC |  Republican lawmakers announced at a press conference last month $35 million in school safety grants that made their way into the revised 2018-19 budget. The one-time money is meant to temporarily address school safety needs while the state gathers more information on what districts and schools require to protect students. “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” said Rep. David Lewis (R-Dunn). “I think this is an ongoing process.” Image courtesy: NCGA Republicans The school safety plan stems fromRead More →

Longleaf Politics |  The latest major court ruling stemming from the General Assembly’s infamous 2016 “power grab”1came on Friday, as the N.C. Supreme Court settled a battle between the state Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education over direct control of the public school system. Both the state superintendent and the Board of Education declared victory after the decision. But the ruling is very clearly in favor of the General Assembly and the elected superintendent. As it turns out, sometimes even a power grab results in clearer public policy. What was the lawsuit about? Let’s start all the way at the beginning: the state constitution. It sets up twoRead More →

Longleaf Politics | A recent memo sent by the N.C. Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association to its members this week provides us a revealing glimpse of how politics works in real life. The new deal with state lawmakers that the memo discloses is a little in the weeds. The bill in question is House Bill 500, currently under consideration. It’s an omnibus ABC bill, meaning that it makes a lot of little adjustments to the state’s alcohol laws. It passed the House last April and is now in Senate committees. The bill got a few new amendments in a Senate committee. One enables wholesale business owners to transferRead More →

Longleaf Politics | Hurricane Matthew struck eastern North Carolina on October 9, 2016. A full 18 months later, some of the first federally funded repairs are slated to begin this June. Hurricane Matthew has re-emerged as a political issue in Raleigh as thousands of people in eastern North Carolina await public money to rebuild. The storm was one of the most devastating in North Carolina’s history, killing 31 people and caused more than $4.8 billion in damage. Matthew set rainfall records in 17 counties, and 2,300 people were rescued from floodwaters. Why is recovery taking so long? It mostly has to do with the processes setRead More →

Note: Corrects N.C. State Senate District 2 results   Scott Dacey seriously underestimated Walter Jones and seriously misread the mood of the congressional district. More Ginger Garner will go against Norman Sanderson for N.C. State Senate District 2. Barbara Lee will go against Mike Speciale in N.C. House of Representatives District 3. Speciale held off a spirited challenge in the Republican primary from Eric Queen, winning 57.24 percent of the vote, an underwhelming showing for an incumbent going against a newcomer. He’s going to have to have a better showing in November if he’s going to beat Lee, a well-known former New Bern alderman. InRead More →

Editor’s note: This article in its original form contained erroneous information about N.C. Rep. Michael Speciale. That information has been removed. In notifying the Post about the error, Speciale said, “I raised $28,339.33 for the 2018 elections. I have no idea where you got that number, but I do not find it on your link. The information is incorrect, your comments call my integrity into question, and I ask that you remove this article and your comments … .” Craven County Republican Scott Dacey’s gamble didn’t pay off. Dacey gave up his seat on the Craven County Board of Commissioners in a quest to unseatRead More →

N.C. Rep. Mike Speciale of New Bern, who is running for reelection in the Republican primary, posted a long response on Sunday night to opposition from a fellow conservative who is not even on the ballot. Speciale tore into Tyker Gonzales, a Cove City resident who advocates on behalf of independent farmers and humane treatment of animals. As Speciale tells it on his Facebook wall, “A lady by the name of Tyker Gonzales is having a hard time grasping the facts about a puppy mill bill from six years ago. “She has chosen to make my debate on the House floor against this bill an issueRead More →