Friday News: Mixed messages


PENTAGON WORRIED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, EVEN IF TRUMP IS NOT: President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement puts him at odds with the Pentagon, which has been warning for years that climate change poses a critical national security threat. At his confirmation hearing, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis called climate change a “driver of instability” that “requires a broader, whole-of-government response.” For more than a decade, military leaders have said that extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels are aggravating social tensions, destabilizing regions and feeding the rise of extremist groups like al Qaida and the Islamic State.

NC SENATE PASSES "MIMOSA" BILL TO LEGALIZE ALCOHOL SALES ON SUNDAY MORNINGS: After much committee discussion in both chambers this session, a proposal to allow alcohol sales before noon on Sunday won approval in the Senate Thursday. Senate Bill 155 would allow cities and counties to decide whether to allow local restaurants and bars to serve alcohol beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays. "This is a pure local option," sponsor Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, told the Senate Rules Committee. "We will join 47 other states in allowing some form of alcohol sales before noon." Calling the Sunday sales provision "sensitive to business interests but insensitive to churches," Creech argued, "Surely, we can wait to start serving drinks until after the preacher has said the benediction."

NC HOUSE BUDGET PASSES, NEGOTIATIONS TO BEGIN WITH SENATE OVER FINISHED PRODUCT: The N.C. House voted 80-31 to approve its budget proposal shortly after midnight Friday morning. The votes set up a negotiating process with the Senate, which already passed its own $22.9 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins in July. Starting next week, Republican leaders from both chambers will work out their differences in private, with the goal of passing a compromise budget by the end of June and sending it to Gov. Roy Cooper. Both chambers have already agreed on how much to spend, which represents a 2.5 percent increase from the current fiscal year.

TRUMP ANTI-MUSLIM TRAVEL BAN HEADED TO SUPREME COURT: The Justice Department filing to the high court late Thursday argued that lower courts that blocked the Trump policy made several mistakes, including relying on statements President Donald Trump made during the 2016 campaign. Rights groups that have been fighting the policy in the courts said the justices should not allow the travel and refugee bans to take effect. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called the national security concerns an after-the-fact justification for a policy that was “rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country.” The appeals court ruled against reinstating the travel policy by a 10-3 vote last week.

WHAT A CRAPPY THING TO DO: A cattle farmer in western North Carolina has been sentenced for dumping cow poop in a river. Local media report that 65-year-old Michael Crowell was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Asheville on Thursday to six months of house arrest and fined $10,000. Crowell also will be on probation for three years. Crowell had pleaded guilty in November to violating the federal Clean Water Act. In that plea, Crowell admitted he installed bypasses on his farm which discharged animal waste into a tributary of the French Broad River. Court documents say the dumping occurred in November and December of 2015.