Friday News: Penny-Pinching Phil


NC SENATE STRIPS FUNDING FROM HOUSE DISASTER BILL: The nearly $280 million package included $30 million for the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resilience to aid local governments in recovery from the hurricanes, $32 million to enhance laser-made topographical maps of North Carolina and $15 million for Golden L.E.A.F. to provide disaster grants to governments and nonprofits, among others. That bill was not the one voted on in the Senate on Thursday, with the body instead considering and ultimately approving a different Storm Recovery Act of 2019. The Senate effort included $70.8 million to provide matching dollars for Hurricane Florence recovery projects funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance program, as well as $31.7 million for similar projects that are part of the recovery from Hurricanes Matthew, Michael and Dorian. The House voted 106-0 not to concur with the Senate and appointed a conference committee led by McGrady.

FLOYD MCKISSICK APPOINTED TO UTILITY COMMISSION AS LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS UNTIL MID-NOVEMBER: The General Assembly easily confirmed a trio of appointments to the North Carolina Utilities Commission on Thursday, addressing a lingering issue as the House and the Senate prepared to take a break from the legislative session. Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, Kimberly Duffley, a senior staff attorney for the commission, and Jeff Hughes, a University of North Carolina School of Government professor who had a hand in developing Poland's utility regulations, all cleared the House and the Senate. Gov. Roy Cooper had complained earlier this month that his appointments, which require confirmation, had been delayed. The commission approves utility rate increases and has a number of requests pending or set to come before the body early next year.

WITH OUTSIDE SUPPORT, NC REPUBLICANS FILE SUIT TO BLOCK REDRAW OF NC CONGRESSIONAL MAP: A North Carolina congressional candidate and two other voters are asking a federal court to prevent a new U.S. House map from being used in the 2020 elections. State judges issued a preliminary injunction this week blocking the use of the current districts, saying evidence shows it's likely the map is an illegal partisan gerrymander favoring Republicans. General Assembly leaders plan to meet in mid-November to consider a replacement map. Thursday's lawsuit in eastern North Carolina federal court says a new map so close to the 2020 electoral season would create confusion and violate the rights of voters and candidates. The Fair Lines America Foundation says it's supporting the lawsuit. The foundation has ties to the National Republican Redistricting Trust, for which former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is raising money.

TRUMP IS NOW FLORIDA MAN, NEW YORKERS REJOICE: In paperwork filed with the Palm Beach County clerk and comptroller in late September, Trump declared, “I am, at the time of making this declaration, a bona fide resident of the State of Florida.” Melania Trump, the first lady, filed an identical document. As news of the change spread, some of those city and state leaders, all Democrats, endorsed Trump’s decision. “Good riddance,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo tweeted. “It’s not like @realDonaldTrump paid taxes here anyway … He’s all yours, Florida.” Corey Johnson, New York’s city council speaker, agreed: “GOOD RIDDANCE!!,” he bade Trump in a tweet. “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out or whatever,” quipped Mayor Bill de Blasio. In his Twitter posts, the president alluded to his local unpopularity — nearly 80 percent of New York City voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 — but a person close to the president said his decision was based mainly on taxes. That would make Trump one of many wealthy individuals to seek refuge in the southern state.

ELIZABETH WARREN IS NOW LEADING IN LATEST IOWA POLL: The top Democratic presidential candidates are locked in a close race in the 2020 Iowa caucuses, with Senator Elizabeth Warren slightly ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a New York Times/Siena College poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers. Ms. Warren appears to have solidified her gains in the first voting state while Mr. Buttigieg has climbed quickly to catch up with Mr. Sanders and overtake Mr. Biden, the onetime front-runner. Ms. Warren is drawing support from 22 percent of likely caucusgoers, while Mr. Sanders is at 19 percent, followed by Mr. Buttigieg at 18 percent and Mr. Biden at 17 percent. While no single candidate has a decisive advantage, the strongest currents in the party appear to be swirling around candidates promising in different ways to challenge the existing political and economic order.