BILL WOULD LEGALIZE SPORTS GAMBLING VIA NC EDUCATION LOTTERY: On Wednesday morning, Sens. Jim Perry, a Kinston Republican, and Paul Lowe, a Winston-Salem Democrat, filed Senate Bill 688. If passed, it would authorize sports gambling on professional, college, electronic and amateur sports or any other events approved by the NC Education Lottery Commission. Perry said instead of ignoring illegal gambling legislators should open up conversations about how the state can benefit from legal gambling. He said this bill allows adults to freely choose to gamble, and collects money for schools without forcing taxes on other people. Gambling on youth sports would continue to be illegal, as would gambling on injuries, penalties, the outcome of sports disciplinary proceedings or the outcome of replay reviews.
BILL RABON SIGNS ONTO MEDICAL MARIJUANA LEGISLATION: This year's North Carolina bill has a powerful sponsor: Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick. As chairman of the Senate Rules committee, Rabon has a lot of say over what bills move forward in the North Carolina Senate and which ones don't. An attempt to reach him Wednesday evening for comment was not successful. The measure has bipartisan sponsorship, with two Republicans and two Democrats signed on, including Sen. Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth. "We've got to use something other than opiates to deal with the pain issue," Lowe said in a brief telephone interview. "That’s the bottom line.” The bill says it's not intended to change other civil or criminal laws on marijuana, just rules on medical use. It would set up a licensing structure for growers, suppliers and ultimately stores that would sell to patients with registration cards issued by the state. "A registry identification cardholder shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner for the possession or purchase of cannabis for medical use by the qualified patient if the quantity of usable cannabis possessed or purchased does not exceed an adequate supply, as determined by the qualified patient's physician," the bill states.
NC GOP ATTACK ON PUBLIC SCHOOL CURRICULUM CONTINUES WITH "BALANCED POLITICAL DISCUSSION" BILL: Some North Carolina Republican lawmakers want to require school districts — but not charter schools — to provide “balanced political discussions in classrooms” and to list their instructional materials online. Proposed legislation filed Wednesday in the General Assembly requires that if the viewpoint of one of the two major political parties is presented, then equal time must be given to the other party’s viewpoint. The legislation comes amid complaints from conservatives that public schools are promoting a liberal social justice agenda. The primary sponsors of Senate Bill 700 are all Republicans: Sens. Chuck Edwards of Henderson County, Joyce Krawiec of Forsyth County and Ralph Hise of Mitchell County. The News & Observer couldn’t reach them for comment Wednesday. “If they can’t feel like they can trust us to do our jobs, then let’s trade jobs,” Rodney D. Pierce, an 8th-grade social studies teachers in Nash County Public Schools, said in an interview Wednesday. “Let us be the legislators and you come to teach.”
JOE MANCHIN DIGS IN HIS HEELS ON DEFENDING THE FILIBUSTER: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III said Wednesday that under no circumstances would he vote to eliminate or weaken the legislative filibuster in his most definitive statement yet on the topic, dealing a blow to Democrats’ hopes of pushing major aspects of President Biden’s agenda through Congress. The West Virginia senator also suggested in an op-ed published in The Washington Post that he would be opposed to using the budget reconciliation process, under which certain legislation requires only a majority vote, again to circumvent the filibuster, an avenue Senate Democrats have considered for passing Biden’s ambitious infrastructure package. There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin wrote. “The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.” Democrats used the budget reconciliation process to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid relief bill, which Manchin supported, and are viewing it as a vehicle for additional spending and tax proposals on a range of issues. But Manchin threw cold water on this idea in his op-ed although the was not definitive about whether he would support its use again this year. “We should all be alarmed at how the budget reconciliation process is being used by both parties to stifle debate around the major issues facing our country today. Legislating was never supposed to be easy,” he wrote, adding: “I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate.”
BIDEN'S TAX PLAN WOULD GO AFTER CORPORATIONS WHO DODGE TAXES WITH OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS: Large companies like Apple and Bristol Myers Squibb have long employed complicated maneuvers to reduce or eliminate their tax bills by shifting income on paper between countries. The strategy has enriched accountants and shareholders, while driving down corporate tax receipts for the federal government. President Biden sees ending that practice as central to his $2 trillion infrastructure package, pushing changes to the tax code that his administration says will ensure American companies are contributing tax dollars to help invest in the country’s roads, bridges, water pipes and in other parts of his economic agenda. On Wednesday, the Treasury Department released the details of Mr. Biden’s tax plan, which aims to raise as much as $2.5 trillion over 15 years to help finance the infrastructure proposal. That includes bumping the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, imposing a strict new minimum tax on global profits and cracking down on companies that try to move profits offshore. The plan also aims to stop big companies that are profitable but have no federal income tax liability from paying no taxes to the Treasury Department by imposing a 15 percent tax on the profits they report to investors. Such a change would affect about 45 corporations, according to the Biden administration’s estimates, because it would be limited to companies earning $2 billion or more per year. Mr. Biden’s proposals are a repudiation of Washington’s last big tax overhaul — President Donald J. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. Biden administration officials say that law increased the incentives for companies to shift profits to lower-tax countries, while reducing corporate tax receipts in the United States to match their lowest levels as a share of the economy since World War II. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, in rolling out the plan, said it would end a global “race to the bottom” of corporate taxation that has been destructive for the American economy and its workers. “Our tax revenues are already at their lowest level in generations,” Ms. Yellen said. “If they continue to drop lower, we will have less money to invest in roads, bridges, broadband and R&D.”