RALEIGH – We’re hearing a few interesting things on Jones and Blount streets. Here’s a round-up:
Glazier out, Richardson in…
Friday was the last day in the General Assembly for Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Fayetteville), and over the weekend the local Democratic Party selected trial lawyer Billy Richardson to replace Glazier, according to the Fayetteville Observer. Glazier announced in June that he would resign his seat in order to become executive director of the N.C. Justice Center, a left-leaning Raleigh think tank. By law, the governor must approve the local party’s choice to replace a member who has resigned.
Good week for jobs in N.C…
The governor and Commerce Secretary John Skvarla were busy last week announcing jobs across the state. We count just over 1,200 promised jobs with promised investments of more than $1.9 billion. When sorted by jobs, the three largest projects involve incentives from the Job Development Investment Grant reimbursement program, an incentives program whose funding level is still in limbo on Jones Street.
- Monday: Associated Materials (residential building products), 72 jobs, $4.5 million expansion, Lenoir County.
- Tuesday: Albemarle Corporation (specialty chemicals), 120 jobs, $12.9 million new corporate headquarters, Mecklenburg County.
- Tuesday: TTI Floor Care (floor vacuum cleaners), 200 jobs, $5 million new corporate training center, Mecklenburg County.
- Wednesday: Novo Nordisk (pharmaceutical manufacturing) 700 jobs, new/expanded bio-manufacturing facility, $1.85 billion, Johnston County.
- Thursday: Mayne Pharma (pharmaceutical development and manufacturing), 110 jobs, $65 million expanded manufacturing facility, Pitt County.
An article published Sunday included data from the N.C. Secretary of State’s office showing that environmental groups topped the list for most money spent on lobbying efforts in 2014. The Southern Environmental Law Center spent almost $1.3 million, followed by the N.C. League of Conservation Voters at more than $950,000.
That means that the SELC spent almost three times as much to lobby Jones Street as Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, the largest nonprofit organization in the state, and spent more than 40 percent more than Duke Energy, the largest for-profit corporation headquartered in the state. Most of the money the SELC spent was to produce and air TV commercials urging North Carolinians to contact their legislators about an issue.
N.C. voting law case making national news again…
The conservative outlet National Review Online has published a piece looking at the court case challenging North Carolina’s election laws. Written by two legal scholars, the piece claims that a key election strategy of the Obama administration and liberal groups is “using the courts to change election rules.” The authors say that while some changes made in the 2013 law were more restrictive than the previous law, they still fall well within the norm for the country as a whole.