Politics & Government

NC Supreme Court asked to rule on its funding source

Craig Collins
Craig Collins

High court asked to rule on its funding source

Will North Carolina’s Supreme Court find itself between a rock and a hard place?

Last week, attorneys for the General Assembly filed an appeal with the court of a three-judge panel’s unanimous ruling in favor of Gov. Pat McCrory.

The panel said lawmakers overstepped their constitutional bounds in appointing boards and commissions with executive functions.

It was earlier this month that Chief Justice Mark Martin addressed a joint legislative session and made the case for millions of dollars in improvements to a state court system whose $464 million budget is less than a third of the Wake County public schools.

A day later McCrory presented his own budget that called for less than half of what the courts want.

“(Martin) and the other six justices are being asked to resolve a really important constitutional question about the separation of powers, but the judicial system has to get its budget from the legislative branch,” says Ferrel Guillory, a political analyst at UNC-Chapel Hill “It just adds another dimension to it.” Jim Morrill

Moore joins Main Street Dems

Another Mecklenburg County lawmaker has joined the new Main Street Democrats.

Democratic Rep. Rodney Moore of Charlotte joined along with Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, a Democrat from Northampton County.

The group now has 15 lawmakers including Sen. Joel Ford of Charlotte.

Main Street’s chairman, Rep. Ken Goodman of Rockingham, calls the group “a new voice for common sense government.”

It’s not about politics it’s about making a real difference in the lives of regular everyday people.” Jim Morrill

Gaston lawyer has inside track for N.C. GOP chair

A Gastonia lawyer is the favorite candidate to succeed state Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope.

Craig Collins, 43, is backed by a Who’s Who of state Republicans including U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis as well as Gov. Pat McCrory, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore.

“He’s been in the trenches,” GOP consultant Dee Stewart said of Collins.

Collins, a former Gaston County GOP chair, heads the party’s 10th District organization.

He’s opposed by Hasan Harnett of Concord. In 2014, he managed the 12th District congressional campaign of Vince Coakley.

The party will elect a new chair at its convention in early June. Jim Morrill

Polling on women

Raleigh’s Meredith College is getting into the polling business.

The college, whose undergraduates are women, plans to come out Monday with the results of its first poll, on voters’ opinions about women in politics, including Hillary Clinton. The poll will accompany a report on the status of women in North Carolina politics.

Women, the school says, make up more than 54 percent of the state’s registered voters but hold less than 25 percent of its elected or appointed offices.

Meredith political scientist David McLennan says the report will show that women from metro areas are more likely to gain public office than their rural counterparts.

“It’s not surprising to find that we have two North Carolinas,” he says, “that women are doing considerably better in the urban areas and worse in the rural areas.” Jim Morrill

Retired military officers support Common Core

An organization of retired military officers wants the state to keep the Common Core standards for math and English/language arts, saying weaker education goals could put the state in jeopardy in future rounds of base closure decisions.

Members of Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit organization of retired military officers, sent a letter to state Academic Standards Review Commission last week asking them to consider the impact on children in military families.

The state commission is charged with suggesting changes to Common Core, K-12 national education goals in math and English. The state adopted Common Core standards in 2010. The English and math goals became controversial a few years later, with a few states dropping the standards and others, including North Carolina, considering scrapping or rewriting them.

One of the selling points for national standards was that they would make school transitions easier for children who move from state to state.

Retired Rear Admiral Walter Cantrell emphasized this point at a news conference Thursday.

Children in military families move about eight to nine times, on average, between kindergarten and 12th grade, said Cantrell, a Brevard native who lives in Asheville. As his own family moved, his children would be behind or ahead of their new class.

A 2013 study found generally low academic performance at high schools around Fort Bragg. Lynn Bonner, (Raleigh) News & Observer