HOUSE BUDGET GIVES $1.2 MILLION TO ANTI-ABORTION ORGANIZATION: Under Health and Human Services’ budget, an anti-abortion nonprofit called the Human Coalition would receive $1.2 million to expand a pilot program statewide. Money would be used to “encourage healthy childbirth, support childbirth as an alternative to abortion, promote family formation, assist in establishing successful parenting techniques, and increase the economic self-sufficiency of families.” When the budget came through committee, Rep. Gale Adcock and Rep. Julie Von Haefen, both Wake County Democrats, raised questions. Von Haefen wanted to know who would oversee spending for the group, which would provide “crisis pregnancy” services.
BERGER & MOORE CRAM BILLS THROUGH SO THEY CAN ATTEND RLCC SHINDIG: A national group focused on electing Republican legislators will gather next week in Asheville. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger is the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee's chairman, and House Speaker Tim Moore is on the group's executive committee. Both are expected to attend. The House has accelerated its typical schedule, pushing up votes that might otherwise keep the chamber occupied well into Thursday evening. That's crossover day at the General Assembly, the deadline for most bills to pass at least one chamber to stay alive for the legislative session. The House hopes to have its bills that are subject to the crossover deadline done by Tuesday.
NCGA MOVES FORWARD WITH SPOOFING BAN ON TELEMARKETERS: House lawmakers voted unanimously Friday to ban telemarketers from using fake numbers to get people to answer the phone or respond to a text. The practice is known as "spoofing" or "cloning," and it's commonly used by scammers posing as tax collectors or kidnappers. But even some legitimate telemarketers often use what's called "neighbor spoofing" to make their calls or texts appear to be coming from local numbers. Under House Bill 724, telemarketers who use misleading information to hide the origin of their calls could be sued by a citizen or fined from $500 to $5,000 by the state attorney general. Asked how the bill would work, House Speaker Tim Moore, the bill's sponsor, said consumers could write down the number, date and time of the call and send it to the Attorney General's Office, which could then force telecom carriers to trace the call's actual origin.
DONALD TRUMP WILL BELIEVE ANYTHING VLADIMIR PUTIN TELLS HIM: Trump also contradicted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other advisers who have said this week that Russia propped up embattled Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro and blocked what might have been a peaceful transfer of power to the U.S.-backed opposition. “He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela,” Trump said after the conversation with Putin, which had been arranged in large part to air differences over Venezuela and de-escalate a brewing proxy fight. Instead, Trump appeared to take Putin at his word that Russia wants to help ease a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. “And I feel the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
NORTH KOREA IS FIRING MISSILES AGAIN. TRYING TO GET TRUMP TO PAY ATTENTION? North Korea fired several short-range projectiles off its east coast on Saturday, in a move likely to raise tensions as denuclearization talks with the United States remain stalled. The North fired the projectiles between 9:06 a.m. and 9:27 a.m. from near Wonsan, a coastal town east of Pyongyang, the capital, the South Korean military said in a statement. They flew 70 to 200 kilometers before landing in the sea between North Korea and Japan, the statement said. “We are aware of North Korea’s actions tonight,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said on Friday night in Washington. “We will continue to monitor as necessary.” A Pentagon spokesman, Chris Sherwood, said officials there were looking into the launch and were not yet able to confirm anything. “Clearly, Pyongyang is frustrated with the conclusion of the recent summit with Washington in Vietnam that did not produce any breakthrough,” said Harry J. Kazianis, the director of the Washington-based Center for the National Interest. “It also seems clear that North Korea is angry over what appears to be a lack of flexibility in the Trump administration’s position on relieving sanctions, sticking to a policy of ‘maximum pressure.’”