Pat McCrory

Gov. Pat McCrory
www.governor.state.nc.us

Governor Pat McCrory is responding to charges that he misstated when he sold his stock in Duke Energy. McCrory worked for the company for almost 30 years. 

Speaking to reporters after an education conference held by the North Carolina Chamber, the Governor faced a series of questions about when he sold the Duke stock that was part of his 401k.

Lawmakers voted this summer to eventually eliminate teacher tenure, replacing it with temporary contracts. The State Board of Education will discuss a model contract this week.
cybrarian77 / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cybrarian77/6284181389

Governor Pat McCrory has signed a $21 billion dollar state budget that includes pay increases for teachers. He and other Republican leaders have been trying to send a loud and clear message that teachers will be getting a historic pay raise, the first major one in years.

They’ve been touting it as an average seven percent increase. But there’s been a lot of confusion over how that’ll actually pan out and whether all teachers will see a pay bump.

McCrory signs budget plan
Reema Khrais

Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law the state’s $21.1 billion budget bill that was approved by the legislature last week.

The signing comes five weeks after the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1st, a deadline lawmakers did not meet because of stalled negotiations and debate largely over teacher pay and Medicaid funding. 

McCrory signed the 260-page budget deal on Thursday at the executive mansion, proudly noting that the spending plan includes raises for teachers and state employees, while not increasing taxes or making reductions in Medicaid eligibility.

Gov. Pat McCrory
www.governor.state.nc.us

Governor Pat McCrory says he approves of the legislature's spending plan for state and will sign the bill.

The Senate already passed the $21 billion budget bill today and the House will likely approve it Saturday morning.

Governor Pat McCrory touted the budget proposal at a press conference on Friday.

“We've got a 2.2 percent increase in the general fund budget with no tax increase, with teacher pay raises, no elimination of teachers assistants and we've kept the integrity of our Medicaid, I'm proud of it,” he said.

Governor McCrory talks with reporters at legislative building
Jessica Jones

 Governor Pat McCrory says that he and Republican leaders are making headway on resolving differences over the state budget.

He made an unusual visit to the legislature Thursday where he says he touched base and continued dialogue with lawmakers. McCrory says he spent more than an hour and a half talking with Senate leaders this week.

“I did present both the Senate and House caucuses, I think, breakthrough plans on how to work out our differences,” he said.

Students at McDougle Elementary.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

  Governor Pat McCrory has signed a bill designed to review and potentially replace the Common Core academic standards.

McCrory referred to the bill as a “Common Core review bill,” despite lawmakers who say that the legislation will work to replace the standards.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

House and Senate leaders are back in Raleigh today to try to resolve large differences in their spending plans for the year. 

They're now two weeks past their deadline, as they've been at odds over how much to pay teachers and at what cost. Senators want to give large raises of about 11 percent, but they would pay for them in part by cutting more than 6,000 teacher assistants. 

House leaders have been adamant about providing more modest raises without laying off any educators or impacting the state's Medicaid health insurance program.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

House and Senate leaders are not showing signs of meeting their July 1 deadline to make adjustments to the state's two-year budget. They're still deadlocked over differences in their spending plans.

Senate leaders call the House's budget plans unbalanced and unsustainable. They say a five percent pay raise for teachers is not enough. Senators are offering 11 percent by cutting back on teacher assistants.

Promotional trailers: Homeland, Ironman 3, Hunger Games
Showtime, Marvel Studios, Lionsgate

North Carolina could see fewer hits like Iron Man 3 or Homeland filmed in the state. That’s because tax incentives that encourage the film industry to make movies here are set to expire in January. Some lawmakers are trying to pass a measure that would give grants to the film industry to keep production companies here. But while budget negotiations are underway, time is running out to pass legislation.

Duke Health's Raleigh Hospital
Duke Medicine

  State lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow the use of a marijuana oil to help treat childhood seizures.

Researchers say the hemp oil extract, known as cannabidiol (CBD), is not psychoactive and would be used to treat only debilitating seizure disorders.

Several lawmakers, like Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford), showed their support for the bill by relating their experiences of having family members with epilepsy.

Governor Pat McCrory gathered with school leaders and legislators on Wednesday to show their support for a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay.
Reema Khrais

State House Republicans are teaming up with Governor Pat McCrory to help speed up slow budget talks. Legislators are supposed to make adjustments to the two-year state budget by July 1, but progress has been sluggish.

Representatives say they want to at least pass a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay. It would give teachers an average five-percent raise without relying on funds from the lottery. 

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Senate and House leaders are expected to begin meeting in conference committees this week to make adjustments to the two-year budget plan. 

They have until June 30th to resolve differences and send their spending plan to Governor Pat McCrory.

Medicaid funding and teacher pay raises are expected to be the key sticking points in negotiations. But many Republicans, like Representative Craig Horn (R-Union), say they’re optimistic about the process.

Gov. Pat McCrory stands at a podium and speaks to the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday.
Dave DeWitt

Gov. Pat McCrory says he and budget negotiators in the state House and Senate have serious differences over Medicaid budget forecasts and education spending. He spoke with reporters on Monday, saying he was taking precautions in case lawmakers aren't able to put together a budget before July 1st. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory is relatively new to Raleigh but is an old hand at politics.

He was first elected to the Charlotte City Council in 1989. He went on to serve for fourteen years as the mayor of North Carolina’s largest city.  McCrory first ran for governor against Beverly Perdue, but lost in 2008. 

Four years later, he ran again, and won. It was the first time since Reconstruction that North Carolina had both a Republican governor and GOP majorities in both houses. 

McCrory spoke about his decision to sign HB 589 in a video.
NC Governor's Office

Thursday afternoon, Capitol Bureau Chief Jessica Jones sat down with Governor Pat McCrory for a one-on-one interview.

The governor continued to advocate for teacher raises, but says he has some differences with the General Assembly on how to get that done.

Those differences will have to get worked out soon if lawmakers hope to meet the July 1st deadline for the next fiscal year.

But as the governor discussed with Jessica Jones, the budget is not the only issue facing his administration.

NC House
house.gov

State House Republicans released a proposed budget on Tuesday that is significantly different than the Senate's spending plan in terms of education. House leaders say they want to give all public school teachers raises without making them give up their job protections.

They're also looking to pull from lottery money to pay for those raises, instead of making cuts to public education. 

Host Frank Stasio and NC Budget Director Art Pope
Anita Rao / WUNC

In 2012, Governor Pat McCrory selected Art Pope to serve as the state’s budget director.

Pope has a long history in North Carolina politics and government. The attorney and businessman served in the legislature before launching several charitable organizations and think tanks centered on libertarian principles.

Elrod
Dave DeWitt

In the back corner of Stephen Elrod’s third-grade classroom, a man is lurking who wants to take the children’s money. He’s not a real man, and it’s not real money. It’s a large cartoon drawing of a maniacal character clutching fistfuls of dollars. A plastic bin is attached to the wall below the picture, filled with play money.

“Every time we take a test like Case 21 or EOG we either give him money or we keep our money,” explains Joanne, one of the students. “And, if we don’t make our goal, we have to give him some money, and if we do make our goal, we get to keep our money.”

Governor Pat McCrory
Jessica Jones

Governor Pat McCrory released his budget proposal yesterday, on the first day of the General Assembly’s short session. The $21 billion proposal includes raises for teachers and state employees as well new positions and equipment designed to oversee coal ash disposal. But it cuts about $49 million that would go to the University of North Carolina system.

As legislators walked into the General Assembly for the first day of this year’s short session, protesters- including a group of women called the Raging Grannies- were ready to greet them.

teacher at blackboard
Wikimedia commons

Governor Pat McCrory released his $21 billion budget on Wednesday, setting aside $262.9 million for teacher raises and state employees. 

The governor and lawmakers have made it clear that teacher pay will be a major priority for this year’s short session, which is a time meant for lawmakers to adjust the budget approved last year. 

Teachers held their own “day of action” on Wednesday, the first day of the session. They outlined their demands and concerns in a morning press conference held by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Governor McCrory has unveiled a $21 billion budget proposal that includes raises for teachers and state employees, promotes more oversight of coal ash ponds, and adds $50 million to the state's rainy day fund. But it also includes a $49 million cut to the University of North Carolina system.

"We’ve had to make some very very difficult decisions. Which we think will have a positive impact on the future. This budget proposal has already been shared with top budget legislators in the House and the Senate, and therefore nothing should come as a surprise," says McCrory.

Pat McCrory
Reema Khrais

Governor Pat McCrory announced Wednesday that he intends to give all teachers a two percent raise this year. He also set out a long-term plan to overhaul the way North Carolina's teachers are paid. 

His proposal would reward teachers based on their experience, performance and credentials. Teachers in hard-to-staff schools or subjects would also receive extra pay. Governor McCrory gave details about the plan at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro earlier today. 

The helicopter is a 12-passenger, 1998 Sikorsky S-76
Office of Governor McCrory

It seats 12. It costs $5200 an hour to operate. It can be yours if the price is right.

Governor Pat McCrory tweeted Friday that he plans to sell the state's helicopter.

Governor Pat McCrory, Thom Tillis
Jessica Jones

Governor Pat McCrory has endorsed state House speaker Thom Tillis in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. He spoke earlier today in an appearance with Tillis at a sheet metal company in Raleigh.

"The more you get to know Thom Tillis, the more you realize he is a natural leader and he is a natural problem solver. That's nothing to say bad about the other candidates because they've shown some tremendous skills and attributes also. But Thom Tillis has more than passed the audition- he's the best person with the qualifications needed in Washington, D.C.," said the governor.

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

Duke Energy’s North Carolina CEO told lawmakers this week that addressing the disposal of coal ash at the 33 ponds across this state could take years. He said the proposal to move the waste to lined sites could cost up to 10 billion dollars. Environmentalists say the issue must be addressed immediately. Host Frank Stasio talks with a journalist roundtable about the latest on coal ash, other environmental issues and Moogfest. 

Married couple Tracy and Britt Morton, both teachers at Apex High School, explain why they are leaving their current teaching positions. They spoke at a Wake County Schools news conference Thursday.
Reema Khrais

 An alarming number of Wake County teachers have resigned midway through this school year,  according to school officials. More than 600 teachers have left their jobs since July 2013, an increase of 41 percent from last year. Many critics say the current legislative policies and flat pay scale are discouraging teachers from staying the classroom. Listen to the full report below: 

    

A Marcellus Shale drill rig in Pennsylvania used in the fracking process.
Ken Skipper, USGS

    

    

The North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission has finalized their recommendations on fracking in the state to the General Assembly. Critics argue the commission needs more time as the health effects of fracking are unknown. In addition, the state commission tasked with deciding the methods of Jordan Lake clean-up remains undecided on next steps. And Governor McCrory proposes legislation to close or convert the state’s 33 coal ash ponds. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory held a press conference today to celebrate a new report suggesting the state's economy is benefiting from tax cuts enacted last year.

The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council's "Rich States, Poor States" report ranks North Carolina sixth in the nation for its economic outlook.

McCrory says lowering corporate income taxes in particular has encouraged companies to move to the state.

Teacher of the Year sign
Dave DeWitt

This is an issue with way more than just two sides. To illustrate how convoluted and complicated paying teachers has become, consider this fairly simple argument from Terry Stoops, the Director of Education Studies at the conservative John Locke Foundation:

“Frankly it’s unfair to our highest-performing teachers,” Stoops says. “There’s no reason why the Teacher of the Year in North Carolina should make as much as any other teacher.”

Now here’s an actual, real life North Carolina Teacher of the Year, who, in a free market, would get paid more:

Tom Augspurger, USFWS, taking core sample as EPA's Alan Humphrey documents the ash bar during February 8th reconnaissance of Dan River coal ash spill. Photo by Sara Ward, USFWS..
Sara Ward / USFWS

The CEO of Duke Energy sent a letter this week to Governor Pat McCrory and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) outlining the company's plans for coal ash clean-up in the state.

Duke says the letter is a big deal.

DENR described it as inadequate.

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