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UPDATED REPORT: NC Legislature Races to Watch 2018

With Democrats in 170 legislative seats, Republicans in 169, and even Libertarians filing in 35 legislative districts, 2018 is shaping up to be one of the most pivotal legislative elections in North Carolina history. And with no race on the ballot above Supreme Court, these elections will get more attention than ever before.

This report combines an analysis of district voting data, national and state polling plus qualitative factors like local issues and relative candidate strength. In total, we think that 35 House races and 13 Senate races are shaping up to have competitive campaigns run by both of the major parties in districts that could conceivably go to either. We have also identified a handful of other races worth keeping an eye on for other reasons.

We’ll look at the 35 House races and 13 Senate races we think will be the most competitive in the fall and a handfull of other races we think will be interesting to watch for other reasons. Read the House report here and the Senate report here

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Larry Yarborough (R-Person/Granville)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Representative Larry Yarborough, the Republican from House District 2. Before joining the General Assembly in 2014, Yarborough was a County Commissioner in Person County.

Yarborough has a degree in chemical engineering and was the primary sponsor of H56, a bill that provided GenX funding and was tied to the repeal of the plastic bag ban in the Outer Banks.

Yarborough has consistently voted for more tax cuts over public education. He voted for the 2017 Republican budget that continue the trend of cutting taxes rather than raising per pupil spending and the 2016 and 2015 budgets that let education spending in NC fall even further behind.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford)

In this installment of the Real Facts NC legislator profile series, we focus on Rep. Jon Hardister, a third-term Republican representing House District 59 in Guilford County. Hardister first ran for office in 2010, but lost to incumbent Rep. Pricey Harrison. He tried again in the newly created House District 59 in 2012 and was successful. Despite being elected thanks to 2011 districts later ruled unconstitutional gerrymanders, Hardister is a vocal proponent of independent redistricting. However, his voting record says otherwise with support of all Republican redistricting plans since his election.

Hardister rose quickly to power in the NC House and became Majority Whip in 2016. He is an Appropriations vice-chair and serves as chair of the Capital Appropriations committee, giving him significant influence over the state’s budget and the internal dealings that create it. Hardister’s priorities are clear. He helped write budgets that shortchange education and pushed for charter school expansion proven to take money away from NC school districts. Hardister favors deregulation for big business over protecting clean air and water for future North Carolinians. Read more on Hardister here.

This was the right thing to do when Democrats were in power, and it is still the right thing to do today.” – Rep. Jon Hardister on nonpartisan redistricting (Greensboro News & Record, 3/1/15)

 

(Source: Facebook, 8/28/17)
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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Pitt)

In this legislator profile, we focus on Rep. Gregory Murphy, the Republican representative from District 9. Murphy was appointed in 2015 to fill the vacancy created when Brian Brown left to work for Sen. Thom Tillis.

Since his appointment in 2015, Murphy has fallen in line with his Republican colleagues to enact policies that weaken environmental protections, shortchange education, and prioritize tax cuts for the wealthy over policies that help hardworking North Carolinians, including rural communities, teachers and families. Read more on Murphy here.

“I hope to be able to contribute to the health, education and welfare of the people of eastern North Carolina and our entire state.” - Greg Murphy (02/16/17)

(Source: NC Medical Society)
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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Mike Clampitt (R-Haywood, Jackson, Swain)

Real Facts NC’s legislator profile series continues to examine key North Carolina legislators. Here we look at Republican Representative Mike Clampitt, a Republican representative from House District 119 in Haywood, Jackson, and Swain Counties. Clampitt, a freshman legislator, had run twice before against incumbent Joe Sam Queen for H119 before finally beating Queen by around 300 votes in November 2016. Before being a perennial candidate Clampitt worked at the legislature.

In his first term in the NC House, Clampitt has quickly forgotten his district, supporting economic policies that benefit the weathly over working families in his district. Read more on Clampitt here.

(Source: WYFF)
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New GenX bill paves the way for public utility to avoid civil liability

The House Select Committee on River Water Quality met today to discuss a bill in response to the GenX crisis. During the public comment portion of the meeting, a lobbyist stood up to speak in support of the bill on behalf of the North Carolina Rural Water Association and Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. 

Jon Carr is an attorney and registered lobbyist in Raleigh. He is a member of the Jordan Price Law Offices and lobbies many organizations including the North Carolina Rural Water Association (NCRWA). The NCRWA includes the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and Lower Cape Fear Water & Sewer Authority. The committee's draft bill Short Term Response to Emerging Contaminants paves the way for water utility services such as the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority to get out of water crises without liability. 

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Representative Holly Grange, the first-term Republican from District 20. She was elected in 2016 after a contentious Republican primary decided the seat as there was no Democratic challenger. Grange currently chairs the House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality, a committee created in the aftermath of the GenX crisis in her district. She also sits on the Appropriations on Education Committee. 

Source: Holly Grange For NC HouseSource: Holly Grange For NC House

"The idea of shutting down Chemours might make some folks feel better, but we hope the DuPont spinoff stays open as long as it's no longer taining the water." - Rep. Holly Grange (Wilmington Star News, 7/29/17)

Grange’s priority as a lawmaker are clear, instead of looking out for middle class families in her district she’s protecting the wealthy and well connected. Grange’s district is suffering from the aftermath of the GenX spill, and her solution is to get rid of environmental protections for big business. She altered the language of the budget to fund a state aquarium to be built on a prominent Wilmington developer’s “mega-development.” She ran on teacher pay, but voted for a budget that failed to raise their salaries to the national average while per pupil spending has actually gone down over the last school year. 

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56 NC politicians voted to protect Chinese billionaires over North Carolina families

Everyday, many rural North Carolina families wake up to the stench and residue of hog waste. It clings on their clothes, sticks to the walls of their houses, covers their yards, and for years it has prevented neighboring kids from experiencing the fun of an outside birthday party.

Chinese-owned pork producers like Smithfield Foods are responsible for ruining the property values of nearby homeowners and small farmers. But their pay-to-play contributions to state politicians paved the way for House Bill 467, which gives special protections to the giant pork producers, effectively weakening nuisance laws and protecting them from a variety of legal claims.

Recognizing their blatant attempt to stop pending litigation related to 26 lawsuits filed against Smithfield Foods subsidiary Murphy-Brown, lawmakers narrowly voted to amend the bill so that it would only apply to future litigation. Yet 56 House members still voted to protect Smithfield Foods from current litigation by opposing the amendment.

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UPDATED: Could Duke Energy be planning to spray coal ash waste?

August 14, 2017: A coal ash dump in Chatham County run by Duke Energy contractor Charah now has a 90-day permit to collect the liquid it leaks and spray it into the air, but Courtney Wood at UNC-Chapel Hill's school of public health says the process "negates any basic chemistry from high school."

So yes, a Duke Energy contractor plans to use this process for coal ash.

Charah CEO Charles Price contributed at least $22,000 in 2016 and 2017 to NC Republicans, including Berger and Moore. Additionally, Charah has a history of violating permits. The company was previously cited at least twice by NC for starting construction at sites without required permits, but received no fine under Gov. McCrory’s DEQ.

June 1, 2017: The fluid that collects beneath landfills, referred to as leachate, could soon be sprayed into the air, thanks to House Bill 576 sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Dixon.

The aerosolization of leachate, or “garbage juice in a snow blower”, is an unproven and untested technology.

Via NC Policy Watch
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