Mint Hill police chief: no independent lab needed for SBI

Mint Hill Police Chief Tim Ledford, who is President of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, was apart of a legislative panel that voted Tuesday on reforms to improve the state crime lab.

The lab came under scutiny last summer after a report showed that 200 cases during a 16 year period were improperly handled. Most of the cases were the result of misrepresented blood work.

The panel voted 9-7 to defeat a proposal by Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, to have the SBI lab director report directly to Attorney General Roy Cooper and not the new SBI Director, Greg McLeod.

The panel also voted to rename the SBI lab to the  “North Carolina State Crime Laboratory” so that it is not perceived as an arm of prosecutors and police.

Most of the recommendations will have to be approved by the state legislature.

“We don’t know what to expect from an independent lab,” said Ledford said to the Associated Press. “Director McLeod has assured us that oversight has been put in place for some of the problems that have occurred.”

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Civitas Poll: North Carolinians support tax cuts

The Civitas Institute released a poll today showing North Carolinians are in favor of tax cuts to spur job growth by a large number. According to the live caller poll of 600 likely voters, 77 percent said they would support cutting taxes to encourage job creation even if it may require additional cuts in government spending in the short run. Nineteen percent of voters said they do not support cutting taxes.

“North Carolina voters’ support spurring job creation by cutting state taxes even if this requires more cuts to government services and spending,” said Civitas Institute Francis De Luca.

A poll questions that we would like them to ask is where, specifically, people would like to reduce spending in order to pay for tax cuts. Education? Health and human services?

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Rep. Brawley accepting page applications for 2011 legislative session

Want to be apart of history? If you are between the ages of 15 and 19 and are in good standing at your school, you could be a page for Rep. Bill Brawley for the upcoming session of the state legislature. Republicans have control of both the Senate and House for the first time in more than a century, so this session will not be typical by any means.
Pages are hosted for one week in Raleigh as they serve on the House floor, attend committee meetings, and learn how state government operates. Continue reading

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Is Brawley anti-government?

Bill Brawley is already making waves in North Carolina politics despite  having been elected just a couple of weeks ago. On Sunday, he was quoted by a Charlotte Observer reporter in an article called “Lean Times: The New Normal.”

“We only have so much money,” he says. “We have to prioritize the spending. If that means some things that had been funded aren’t, it’s unfortunate. But it’s not something over which we have control.”

He’s then re-quoted by Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch, a left-leaning public policy organization. Fitzsimon argues that the Republican mission is inherently anti-government and that philosophy will lead to heavy cuts in services that will directly hurt people, especially those on the lower socioeconomic rung of the ladder. His solution to the $3 billion+ budget shortfall is to find additional revenue—in other words, raise certain taxes including cigarette, alcohol, and add a new tax on services. Continue reading

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Republicans take Raleigh; Now what?

It’s been a long time coming for Republicans in North Carolina. Tuesday marked the first time in a century that both the Senate and the House will have Republican majorities at the same time. (The Senate has been Democrat-controlled since the 1800s; the House had Republican majorities a few times in the 1990s.)
With the ball finally in Republicans court, where do they go from here?

Rep. Paul Stam, Republican Leader of the House, issued the following statement: “I am gratified by the confidence NC voters gave our candidates all across this great state. We pledge to bring much needed transparency to the legislative branch of state government as well as the necessary fiscal responsibility in managing our state’s impending budget crisis.”

Representatives Stam and Thom Tillis had previously provided the following list of Republican priorities for the legislative session to begin in January. Continue reading

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Matthews resident Jim Black released from prison

Former N.C. House Speaker Jim Black was released from prison today in Georgia. Black was scheduled to be released in March of 2011, but will spend the last six months of his time in a halfway house.
Black pleaded guilty in 2007 to bribery and obstruction of justice charges. The Matthews resident was once one of the most powerful politicians in the state.

“Being separated from my family, friends, and loved ones since 2007 has been difficult. My years in two different institutions have been a period of great personal growth and learning,” Jim Black said in a statement.

“While in office, I made speech after speech about the need for education as a means of reducing the prison population,” he said. “I now know firsthand that this is true. So much of what I have learned these last few years has re-energized my commitment to providing educational opportunities to our state’s young people, as well as adult learners.”

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