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Legislators ask Easley to halt executions

Via Sen. Kinnaird:

A group of legislators delivered a letter to Gov. Easley this afternoon asking for a suspension of executions.

Here's the text of the letter:

Dear Governor Easley:

As legislators, we write to respectfully request that you suspend immediately all executions until we can be assured that North Carolina’s method of execution clearly meets the U.S. constitutional requirement that the punishment is not cruel and unusual.

Governor Jeb Bush imposed a moratorium on executions in Florida following a December 13, 2006, botched execution during which the condemned inmate clearly suffered a protracted, painful death. In addition, eight additional states -- Arkansas, California, Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, and Maryland have recently halted executions to review their lethal injection process. It is troubling that North Carolina uses the identical drug combination as Florida.

General Assembly A/V Club

OK, there's no V yet, but there is A as in audio. Let me know if the linkage works for y'all. You may have to play around with your players to get everything to work. Via Ex:

Couple of interesting hearings on the list for today:

The Revenue Laws Study Committee tops the list. This is truly ox-goring territory for lobbyists and interested parties.
The 9:30 am meeting is in Rm 544 of the Legislative Office Building. Here's the audio link.

The North Carolina Study Commission on Aging has been studying health care, guardianship and nursing home requirements. The 10 a.m. meeting is in Rm 643 LOB. Audio link.

PAC donations soar

Via Ex

We all knew when the new numbers on PAC donations came out, it would be pretty stunning. Well, here they are—fresh from DemocracyNC:

pacsncd.jpg

PAC DONATIONS TO N.C. LEGISLATORS SOAR

Realtors, UNC-CH Boosters, Doctors Top List

As the General Assembly prepares to convene, a new study shows that 25 special-interest groups - each with their own wish list for lawmakers - donated a record $5.1 million directly to state legislative candidates in the 2006 election. The groups include Realtors and beer wholesalers, bankers and dentists, lawyers and utility executives, dentists and auto dealers.

Land for Tomorrow hearings

Via Ex

The Land & Water Conservation Commission wrapped up its work with the adoption of a report that asks the legislature to provide for $1 billion in additional funding for conservation needs.
The commission's recommendations include additional incentives and funding for conservation, including farmland and working waterfront preservation. Some of the ideas, which the commission will forward to the General Assembly, have made the real estate and homebuilders lobby uncomfortable. Ag-related issues have also drawn the interest of the state's farm bureau.
The preferred method for raising money is through state bonds, which means anyone interested in the idea of Land for Tomorrow should pay particular attention to an upcoming report from State Treasurer Richard Moore about the state debt and what we might be able to afford. As reported earlier, a lot of folks are cueing up for bonds.

Morning Ex: Some General Assembly required

Via Ex:

Lots of looks at the Legislature on opening week:

The Char-O notes the shift of power and ponders Charlotte's clout
The N&O has a preview package including a Q&A with legislators, lobbyists and other important people.
The Cit-Times looks at the impact of the budget shortfall on WNC
The Wilmington Star News talks to Julia Boseman and RC Soles

Power play

Headed off to a conference on Science Blogging, so this is a shortee.
It's interesting to see Duke Execs talking about their new coal plant proposal for NC while the company is one of a group that's going to pressure the White House to start doing something about greenhouse gasses.
Today's N&O has a rundown on the plant and the effort:

With momentum building statewide for alternative energy, the debate represents the biggest opportunity in a quarter-century for critics to force electric utilities in North Carolina to develop alternatives to building nuclear and coal-fired plants.

The state has received about 600 letters from the public, and heard from hundreds of citizens during public hearings, in opposition to the proposed coal-fired plant. Duke Energy has the backing of the Public Staff, the consumer protection arm of the utilities commission, but is opposed by a coalition of environmental groups and by the state attorney general.

Jones, Mobley picked by Dems for House and Senate vacancies

From the NC Democratic Party:

District Committees Fill House and Senate Vacancies in Northeastern NC
Raleigh --Democratic First Congressional District Chair Don Davis announced today that 7th District Rep. Ed Jones has been appointed by the 4th Senate District Committee of the First District to fill the vacancy in the State Senate created by the death of Sen. Robert Holloman.

The Committee also nominated Annie Mobley of Ahoskie to fill the vacancy created by the death of 5th District Rep. Howard Hunter.

Chairman Davis announced that an executive committee meeting has been set to fill the vacancy in North Carolina House District 7 vacated with the resignation of Rep. Ed Jones. The executive committee will meet Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 7:00 a.m. to decide his replacement.

This week's column

This week's Exile on Jones Street print column looks at the first, uh, 42.5 hours of the new congress, that and some thoughts on Joe Hackney and school construction. In print Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007.

Here's the text:

It has been difficult to sort out the new Congress without a scorecard, but if anything was noticeable in the first week or so, it was the splitting of what had been a solid GOP bloc.

The best evidence of that in the state GOP delegation came on a vote to raise the federal minimum wage. Eighth District Rep. Robin Hayes of Concord and Sixth District Rep. Howard Coble of Greensboro joined 80 other Republicans in voting for the hike. Coble and Third District Rep. Walter Jones also announced they would oppose the president's call for 21,000 more troops in Iraq.

Exile on Jones Street

Some site notes of interest on EJS

Had an interesting month in the new media world and thought I'd share a couple of highlights with you.

First off, I got word from the Indy that as of the end of January for reasons of space and budget, they're dropping the Exile on Jones Street print column. They're not dropping state politics coverage, though, and promised to pick up some pieces from me as well as increase staff coverage.
Now that's a bit of a hit to the wallet and I'm not sure what to do about it. The print column will still run in Greensboro's Yes! Weekly and, sometimes, in Asheville's Mountain Xpress, for the time being. And the EJS site will continue to roll, of course.

The second bit of news takes a little explanation. For a few months now, Mark Binker and I have been trying to catch up to get me credentialed for the upcoming session.

Uh, gentlemen

You might want to say something a little more specific than "Raleigh-based" when refering to the Civitas Institute.
From today's Under the Dome:

State Treasurer Richard Moore has pulled even with Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2008, according to a poll released Wednesday.

Moore had the support of 26 percent of Democrats surveyed, compared with 25 percent for Perdue, according to a statewide survey conducted for the Raleigh-based Civitas Institute. Half the voters said they had yet to choose a candidate.

From the John William Pope Civitas Institute site:

The goal of the Civitas Institute is to formulate and encourage the implementation of conservative public policies based upon sound research and careful analysis.

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