20 Apr 2016

What Matters for Wednesday, April 20, 2016

One “nay” vote. That’s all it takes to stop one county in North Carolina from closing early voting sites two hours early. Guest host Mark Shiver kicks off the show talking with Civitas Election Policy Analyst Susan Myrick. She wrote an article explaining how one of two Democrats on the five-member State Board of Elections told the board’s Executive Director not to bother meeting about any requests for reduction of hours at early voting sites for the November election because he will deny it. Mark asks why one member has that much control. Susan says a compromise was made in 2013 to the Voter Identification Verification Act (or VIVA) shortening the number of days people have to vote from 17 to 10 days. The catch with the allowance was any requests from county boards had to be followed by a unanimous vote by the five State Board of Elections members.

Next, Carolina Plott Hound’s Paul Chesser joins Mark. He tells Mark about a social experiment being conducted by the host of a YouTube channel, Joey Salads, who dresses up as a woman and goes into women’s bathrooms to see what kind of reaction he gets which is a lot of discomfort from women. Paul explains this may be a way for the supporters of HB2 to make their point to those who oppose the law. Other stories they talk about are the wildfires springing up across the state because of the dry conditions and how the cost of Obamacare is making insurance companies find it too pricey to continue to offer to customers.

In the second hour, NCSU Political Science Professor Dr. Andrew Taylor joins Mark. He discusses the results of the primary in New York and what it means to the remaining presidential primary candidates. Dr. Taylor says the results weren’t really surprising, but they may be the death knell for Gov. John Kasich. He adds this will not give Trump the needed delegate count going into the convention, however, it will make it extremely difficult for establishment Republicans to deny him the nomination if he continues to pick up votes in the remaining primaries as he is expected to do. Mark asks why Sanders hasn’t been able to resonate with the African-American community but has with young people. Dr. Taylor says it reminds him of a Churchill quote, “If you’re not a socialist when you’re 20 then you don’t have a heart. If you’re still one when you’re 40, then you don’t have a brain.” He continues to say political scientists tend to overlook the conservative instincts of Hispanic and African-American voters and that’s a mistake. Mark asks whether Cruz supporters will back Trump if he becomes the nominee. Dr. Taylor says this leads to a broader question of whether Trump will be able to unify the Republican party as a whole. He says neither the Republican nor Democratic nominee can go into the general election without the support of his party. Mark segues into a question about the state election and what Dr. Taylor thinks about the Elon poll showing Attorney General Roy Cooper with a lead larger than the margin of error over Governor Pat McCrory. Dr. Taylor says we always knew this would be a very close race, but he feels some will interpret this poll as a direct correlation to HB2 legislation. Dr. Taylor adds if it is, it is in response to the economic fallout from the bill instead of the bill itself.

Finally, former Asst. Secretary of Commerce and candidate for Treasurer Dale Folwell joins Mark. He announces that he has gotten the endorsement of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. Mark explains this is a huge deal because this is one of the first times they have given their endorsement to a Republican candidate.

Civitas Center for Law and Freedom Chief Counsel Elliot Engstrom, House Speaker Tim Moore and Policy Director Brian Balfour join us tomorrow.

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19 Apr 2016

What Matters for Tuesday, April 20, 2016

Occupations that require licenses. What occupations should require a license and a board that oversees it and which do not need one? That’s a question a committee of state lawmakers started to address at a meeting in March. Francis kicks off the show by delving into the issue of occupational licensure and their oversight boards with Capitol Connection Reporter and NC Gun Dad host, Matt Caulder. He tells Francis the arguments on both sides of the issue were extremely interesting. One speaker who was against keeping the more than 15 boards in place was a ballerina who gets a special “dry injection” not approved by acupuncturist boards that she says helps her continue to perform. Francis asks if there was a discussion about whether any practitioners nationally or statewide were being bullied by those who hold sway over or are on licensing boards. Matt says there wasn’t any specific discussion, but he’d be surprised if there wasn’t someone without a license who hadn’t been bullied.

Francis also shares his thoughts on Earth Day. He says he remembers the first Earth Day and what it meant – cleaning up litter along roadways and making waterways less polluted. He explains how it has devolved and that he’d like to see someone use Earth Day to examine how much it would cost to generate and deliver enough energy using alternative methods to supply enough power to meet the world’s demand. He adds that consumer’s would see a dramatic increase in their power bill if the President’s current clean energy legislation moved forward.

In the second hour, AFP State Director Donald Bryson joins Francis. Francis asks AFP’s goals for the short session. Donald explains there are several: eliminating film incentives, reforming the tax code which includes expanding the sales tax base, eliminating solar and wind subsidies, and the renewable energy portfolio mandate. Francis asks what other issues AFP will be looking at this session. Donald says being issue-based, AFP will not get into the HB2 debate, but will use it to their advantage to recommend other ways to use incentive money that would’ve gone to those businesses boycotting our state over the law. He adds North Carolina’s job creation numbers are strong without incentives and we don’t need to catch those “whales” to add significant numbers of small and middle-sized businesses to the state. Francis points out another attractor for companies to move to SOUTH Carolina is their lower energy rates and deep port at Charleston. Donald tells Francis he thinks the state took out bonds to get VOLVO extremely low energy costs for the first two years that incentivized them to locate the plant there.

Finally, have you looked at the cost of healthcare lately? Francis and Donald share that rates have risen over 25% on average for consumers and companies.

NC State Political Science Professor Dr. Andrew Taylor, Civitas Election Policy Analyst Susan Myrick and Carolina Plott Hound’s Paul Chesser join us tomorrow. And, former Rhino Times reporter and columnist Mark Shiver will be guest hosting for the remainder of the week.

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18 Apr 2016

What Matters for Monday, April 18, 2016

Changing your child’s bad behavior. Can you do so without pharmaceuticals? Francis begins the show speaking with Dr. Rosemary Stein, physician and author of the book, “Who Needs a Village? It’s a Mom Thing.” She explains to Francis how she is working to convince parents the importance of taking a more active part in their child’s life that can keep them off of medications many physicians too quickly prescribe. She explains the Mother has the responsibility of showing a child by example by standing strong and being firm with stated consequences to actions. She says if a child feels they are in control, they will take advantage, but they prefer structure. Parents, especially Moms, who provide this structure give their children a better basis on which to build their lives moving forward. She says we need to build sturdy children – not based on weight, but character.

Francis asks Dr. Stein about running for School Superintendent. Dr. Stein says while the outcome wasn’t what she had hoped, running gave her the opportunity to meet so many more parents and spread her message about the best way to teach a child to be confident. She says she spoke to both large and small groups because she didn’t turn down any offers to speak. She says every opportunity created an additional path or opportunity either for her practice, campaign or book.

In the second hour, Mecklenburg County Senator Bob Rucho joins us. He tells Francis that during the last three decades, North Carolina has gone from the 43rd worst state to better than 16th in the nation by lowering the rates we charge not only the lowest wage earners, but even those who make higher wages. Francis asks how standard deductions are calculated. Senator Rucho explains by putting a zero bracket in place and lowering the highest rate from 5.75 to 5.49%, you effectively raise wages across the board for most all North Carolinians. He goes on to say lawmakers want to reduce the corporate tax rate which  should continue to increase the number of jobs that are available in the state and keep the state attractive to new businesses. He points out there is only one way we can run into a problem – if we do not reduce spending levels. Senator Rucho uses Kansas as an example. Francis points out that lawmakers have not actually reduced spending, they just spend at realistic levels. Senator Rucho agrees and says lawmakers have tried to keep spending on an “as needed” basis. He says lawmakers will work to eliminate those groups that have gotten special tax breaks that place them into low tax brackets because of heavy-handed pushes by lobbyists. Senator Rucho says moving forward, lawmakers need to pass legislation that puts everyone on the same level.

Finally, what’s the real story behind Perquimans County, Iberdrola and wind turbines? Civitas Center for Law and Freedom Counsel and Closing Arguments host Elliot Engstrom breaks down what is really happening in the case that the News and Observer didn’t tell you in their article.

AFP State Director Donald Bryson joins us tomorrow.

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15 Apr 2016

What Matters for Friday, April 15, 2016

It’s a special edition of Closing Arguments with Elliot Engstrom on What Matters in North Carolina. Elliot discusses the latest developments on lawsuits underway at the Center for Law and Freedom with guest co-host Greg Pulscher. Greg also hosts the weekend show Free to Brew. We also have an interview from earlier in the week Francis De Luca recorded with Dr. David Schnare, General Counsel at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute.

Pediatrician and author Dr. Rosemary Stein and Mecklenburg County Senator Bob Rucho join us Monday. Have a great weekend everyone!

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14 Apr 2016

What Matters for Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stimulating the economy. Francis kicks off the show speaking with House Majority Whip Rep. John Bell who discusses his efforts to try and bring the first Reserve-led KC-46A Pegasus main operating base to Seymour Johnson. He details the benefits the base would have for Goldsboro, surrounding municipalities, and all of eastern North Carolina. Rep. Bell also details his goals for the short session.

Next, Time Warner Cable News’ Tim Boyum joins Francis. Francis compliments Tim about the exclusive interview he did with the Governor after his Executive Proclamation on HB2 telling him he must’ve trusted him to be fair in his questions and to air the entire interview to have only spoken with him. Tim thanks him for that. Tim says he asked the Governor point blank if this order would halt businesses and entertainers from leaving the state. The Governor says he didn’t know. Francis asks how long he thinks the HB2 story would last. Tim says he doesn’t think it will go past Labor Day unless something else comes up between now and then. Francis moves on to New York’s primary saying he believes Clinton could knock Sanders out of the race with a big win and Trump may not be able to get the delegate count while Cruz is gathering super delegates. Tim says he thinks Trump may take the primary, but agrees the convention could be really interesting. When it comes to the state parties, Tim thinks few people other than those who either work in or follow these inside political shenanigans don’t know any of the leaders.

In the second hour, Civitas Senior Education Policy Analyst Dr. Bob Luebke joins Francis. Francis asks the latest on background checks for teachers. Bob explains how the story came to light in USA Today and was reinforced locally by the Asheville Citizen-Times when a teacher who was charged with sexting a student was hired in Buncombe County. He explains the reporter had simply searched Google and discovered the information about the teacher. They also discuss teacher pay raises and what Bob thinks lawmakers will agree to in the short session. The Governor has recommended a 5% increase, but Bob thinks it will be between 2-5%. He also thinks charter school funding will be addressed. Francis questions whether lawmakers will allocate funds from local school systems for charters. Bob thinks they will. They also go into the expanded grading scales and rankings of schools. Francis says if he’d been graded on a 15 point scale, his GPA would’ve been a lot higher. Bob says that’s the problem, a lot of students GPA’s are up because of the broader scale.

Finally, former Rhino Times Reporter and Legislative Aide Mark Shiver joins Francis. He gives Francis the lowdown on what it’s like to not only work at but cover the General Assembly. This is a fascinating and informative casual discussion on what happens behinds the scenes on Jones Street.

Dr. David Schnare General Counsel at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute joins us tomorrow.

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13 Apr 2016

What Matters for Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Governor wants minor tweaks to HB2. Tennessee is getting into a similar debate over a transgender bill. Francis kicks off the show with guest Tami Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the NC Values Coalition. She gives us an update on what the Governor’s Executive Order did to HB2 and what those who are in support of the bill as it stands thought of those changes. Tami explains the bill sets an even slate for companies across the state regarding the rights of men and women when it comes to privacy when using the restroom. She says once many corporate leaders learn the actual details of the bill, they’re surprised because it’s not what they’ve heard from the opposition. Francis asks Tami the response from businesses in the state. She says many businesses support HB2 though the media has not shown a lot that support in the same manner they’ve covered the opposition. One of the other components of the bill eliminated a city’s ability to raise the minimum wage without the approval of lawmakers.

Whose fault is it? Depends on which side you’re on of course, but it started with the City Council in Charlotte pushing an agenda that may not have been needed. What about public safety, jobs, education? This hadn’t been on anyone’s radar. Francis points out the people he’s spoken to don’t think this issue is extremely important – it’s common sense. Inside our news bubble, this may seem like the only issue anyone is talking about, but it’s not. Francis points out this is a perfect example of popular culture trying to effect religious freedom. Tami says our country was founded by those who wanted to be free to practice their beliefs without fear of recrimination and this is a perfect example of groups trying to push their own agenda which runs afoul of other people’s religious beliefs and simple safety.

In the second hour, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and extension Economist Dr. Michael Walden joins us. Francis asks about a recent article on why many workers are unhappy with their jobs. Dr. Walden explains that since the Great Recession, salaries have not risen in relation to the cost of living. Dr. Walden says there are also technological advances that are and will continue to change the face of the job market. Francis asks one of Civitas poll questions about the recession and points out that people’s perception is it’s not over yet. Dr. Walden says when he gets the chance to speak across the state, he sees the same kind of response. Dr. Walden gives Francis a sneak peek at some research he’s currently doing on occupations. He says it’s likely we’ll have another recession before the end of the decade and during it, we will see businesses changing their mix of employees to better fit the new requirements of the market. Francis says that fits the dynamic nature of the economy. Dr. Walden agrees that’s a good point to make. Francis asks about the unemployment rate and whether the rise we’re seeing is a bad thing. Dr. Walden says around the beginning of 2015, the unemployment rate began to stall. It started to rise again because more people who had stopped looking for work have started to seek work again. He also says people moving to the state to get work has also increased. Dr. Walden adds that we may have seen an end to the drop in gas prices. He says look for $2.50 a gallon gas to return once again. Francis asks about interest rates and rising prices. Dr. Walden says the Federal Reserve has acted smartly. He does believe interest rates will start rising and predicts two more corrections this year. He advises home seekers may want to buy a home soon.

Finally, Francis reminds listeners about the upcoming poll lunches on April 28th. There are two the same day. The first is in Raleigh and the second in Wilmington. You can get more information and buy tickets by going to nccivitas.org/events.

Time Warner Cable News’ Tim Boyum, Dr. David Schnare General Counsel at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute and Civitas Senior Education Policy Analyst Dr. Bob Luebke join us tomorrow.

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12 Apr 2016

What Matters for Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The best candidate or the one who is most likely to defeat the Democratic contender for President. That’s who Francis says needs to the next GOP candidate for President. He explains the Republican process of selecting a candidate and how the Super delegate was created.

Then, former Attorney General and Secretary of State Rufus Edmisten joins Francis. Rufus tells Francis he was complimented when he was in the GA the other day, he was thanked for how they both were stressing patience and understanding on the HB2 issue when he was on the show last time. They move on to the issue of corporate giving and free speech. Rufus says he ran 11 times statewide and it would’ve driven him crazy if someone had told him what to say because they contributed a lot of money to his campaign and expected something in return. Francis asks what he thinks about Donald Trump’s children not being registered to vote. He says it angered him like it did when John Edwards said he hadn’t voted in many years. Francis says it’s too easy to register to vote now for anyone to make an excuse. He asks Rufus if he sees any difference in the current Governor’s administration compared to past Governor’s. Rufus says he sees no difference.

In the second hour, AFP Communications Director Joe Kyzer joins Francis. Francis asks what he thinks lawmakers will do when they return to Raleigh in a week and a half. Joe says AFP will be pushing for a reduction in taxes, the elimination of subsidies and incentives to lure businesses. Joe tells Francis he’s a little frustrated today because he’s spent the day setting the story straight for an agenda that Democrats are pushing. Joe says they will be doing an awareness campaign about the clean power plan and what it means to the individual consumer. Francis agrees this is a difficult concept for many to understand. Joe says the real beneficiaries are the energy companies and not the public like the ads touting clean energy would have you believe.

Finally, Civitas Election Policy Analyst Susan Myrick joins Francis. They delve into the primary results, how many provisional ballots were cast and what we should be looking for in June and November regarding disenfranchised voters. Susan has the answers when it comes to elections law in North Carolina.

William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and extension Economist Dr. Michael Walden and Carolina Plott Hound’s Paul Chesser join us tomorrow.

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