10 May 2016

What Matters for Tuesday, May 10, 2016

An end run of the democratic process. That’s what Roger Severino, Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation tells Mark the Obama administration is trying to do to force a transgender agenda on the American public. Mr. Severino says his former colleagues at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division know very well that when Congress banned sex discrimination in 1964 and 1972, it did not mean ‘gender identity.’  He says their standing, in fact, discriminates against men who identify as men because they are the only ones that aren’t allowed in women’s restrooms.

Next, House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Hager joins Mark. They discuss how the short session is going. Mark asks about the agreement on a spending limit. Rep. Hager says he is thrilled the two chambers came to an agreement so quickly so they can quickly get on with the business of agreeing on a budget. Rep. Hager tells Mark a bit about his background and thoughts on public education. Mark asks Rep. Hager to lay out what Republicans have been able to accomplish in moving education forward in North Carolina including teacher pay and STEM funding. He explains that prior to Republicans taking control of the GA, teachers had not gotten raises in several years. He says they’d worked hard to get base salaries increased as well as funding for key education programs that lead to jobs shortly after graduation no matter what part of the state you live in. They also discuss a key piece of legislation put forward today to help keep lawmakers and others safe while they work, visit or conduct business at the GA.

In the second hour, AFP Communications Director Joseph Kyzer joins Mark. They discuss what legislation the General Assembly is working on that coincide with issues AFP supports. Joseph delves into the necessity for changes to Certificate of Need (CON) laws. Mark asks him to explain what CON laws are and why they were put in place. Joseph tells him Certificate of Need are required for a healthcare facility to be built or expanded in the state. Joseph tells Mark he thinks the GA will have to address CON laws this session.

Finally, Civitas Communications Coordinator Demi Dowdy joins Mark to explain the public records request being made to find out if any illegal conversations took place between the Attorney General and companies opposed to HB2. She says there is no timeframe for the AG to comply with the request, but says if he wants to keep credibility in this issue and others, he should respond in a timely manner.

Carolina Plott Hound’s Paul Chesser joins us tomorrow.

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09 May 2016

What Matters for Monday, May 9, 2016

We’re talking politics right out of the gate on the show today. NCSU Political Science Professor Dr. Andrew Taylor joins Mark. They delve into what has now basically become a two candidate race. Mark asks about the discontent and anger being expressed by the American public. Dr. Taylor says both the left and right have shown they aren’t happy with current policy from Congress or from the President concerning the economy, national security, terrorist threats and fear of the future.

Then, Mark speaks with Town of Bath Mayor James Latham. He tells Mark about the upcoming 300th celebration of the port of Bath which is about ten years after the town’s official incorporation. Mark asks if the town has to worry about hurricanes. He says the further east a storm hits, the better off the town fairs. Mark asks about any legislation that may have affected the town. Mayor Latham says the most difficult time was dealing with red tape from the state when they had to replace some infrastructure. He says he became Mayor after the last Mayor passed away and no one else wanted to run. Mark asks if he gets a chance to take in the history of the town. Mayor Latham says he does, especially going out to Bonner Point where you can see all the way to the Pamlico River.

In the second hour, Civitas President Francis De Luca joins Mark. They discuss the latest happenings in the legislature including tax reform suggested by Senator Bob Rucho. Mark brings up legislation to raise pay for lawmakers put forward by Senator Fletcher Hartsell. Francis says he thinks lawmakers shouldn’t try to live on what they make as a legislator. Mark asks without a pay raise, doesn’t that limit the people that are able to run for office. Francis says many lawmakers have their own businesses and are able to conduct business while they are in session. Mark hesitates to ask about HB2, but does, saying he’s impressed by the Governor’s strong stance against the DOJ. Francis agrees and says Civitas will be holding a press conference at 5 p.m. to share the subtle issues that are not being talked about in the media concerning the legislation.

Finally, Mark talks to Weatherbell.com Chief Meteorologist Joe Bastardi about a New York Times article concerning manmade climate change “refugees.” Joe gets on a roll telling Mark the first weather “refugees” actually go back to the Dust Bowl, if you want to get down to it. Joe says when it comes to global warming and climate change, you have to know the other side’s argument. He explains the hype over carbon dioxide emissions is just that – hype. Weather is basically cyclical. He says nature is trying to balance itself out which it can never do. It’s always great when we talk to Joe.

House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Hager and Americans for Prosperity State Director Donald Bryson join us tomorrow.

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09 May 2016

What Matters for Friday, May 6, 2016

Mark speaks to International Business Times writer David Sirota about the ethics of Treasurer Janet Cowell accepting seats on boards at companies with which the state has invested pension funds. We also get a weekly update on all the news that’s relevant from Time Warner Cable News Anchor Tim Boyum and we’re delving into how law enforcement officers feel about the implementation of body cameras with Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone. Plus, Civitas CLF Lead Counsel Elliot Engstrom breaks down the constitutionality of retention elections for state Supreme Court nominees.

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05 May 2016

What Matters for Thursday, May 5, 2016

It seems like the issue that’s clogging our airwaves and our toilets will not go away. Mark kicks off the show talking to Civitas Center for Law and Freedom Chief Counsel Elliot Engstrom about letters from the Department of Justice to the Governor, UNC System President and others stating the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (or HB2) violates federal Civil Rights Act protections. Elliot breaks down Title VII and how it relates to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He says the DOJ’s letter can be thought of as a demand letter which holds no power. The Department of Justice would have to go to court to make this a real legal issue. What Elliot points out is that the letter leaves out specifics on which federal cases they are referencing and says there are also cases concerning transgenders that would be in agreement with HB2. This issue gets more complicated every day.

Then, Jonathan Franks, Political Director for nationally syndicated talk show host Montel Williams comes on the show to explain why he was sent to deliver a cake to House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Hager. He explains why Mr. Williams has gotten involved in the HB2 debate.

Next, Senior News Producer at The Heritage Foundation’s publication, “The Daily Signal,” Kelsey Harkness, joins Mark to discuss her article ‘51 Families Sue Over Illinois Transgender Bathroom Policy.’ Kelsey tells Mark how the Department of Education is trying to deny federal funds to an Illinois school that attempted to accommodate a transgender male, but because they didn’t allow him full access to the girl’s locker room because his classmates weren’t comfortable with the idea even though he identified as female, his family sued.

In the second hour, Civitas Policy Director Brian Balfour is in studio. Mark and Brian discuss the optics and ethics of State Treasurer Janet Cowell and the implications of her sitting on the boards of publically traded companies while still an active, elected public official. Brian mentions issues that came up with donations to former Treasurer Richard Moore’s campaign and how there were hopes the same mistakes wouldn’t be repeated under Treasurer Cowell’s administration. Mark says that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Finally, why is eastern North Carolina seeing an increase in grocery stores? Mark speaks to the Chair of Marketing at the Cameron School of Business at UNC-Wilmington, Dr. Tracy Meyer. She describes why specialty stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods have seen such an influx of business and growth over the last decade. If you’ve ever wondered why you like going to a certain store or lean toward buying one product over another, you’ll enjoy this conversation.

Time Warner Cable News Anchor Tim Boyum joins us tomorrow.

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05 May 2016
02 May 2016

What Matters for Monday, May 2, 2016

Business competitiveness. Seems North Carolina still ranks high on the list when it comes to being a good place to start and conduct business. Mark kicks off the show sharing the results of this most recent study and how it contradicts what we’re hearing in the media about the reaction of companies to HB2. Then, Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger joins Mark. Mark asks his thoughts on the Governor’s budget proposal. Senator Berger says the two budgets aren’t that far apart. Mark asks about Medicaid reform. Senator Berger says he’s not sure they’ll get to address Medicaid reform in the short session. He says he’s not the best prognosticator, but he doesn’t think they’ll spend as much time this session as they did last discussing Medicaid. Mark goes back to proposed raises for teachers in the Governor’s budget, and asks about salary increases for other state employees and retirees. Senator Berger says he thinks the whole pay structure needs to be re-examined. He explains there are many positions in state government with salaries that do not compare to private companies even with benefits and this needs to be addressed. Mark asks Senator Berger his thoughts on comments by the Secretary of Education on HB2. Senator Berger says this is typical of folks on the left who have not read the text of the bill or of Charlotte’s original ordinance. He says he’s committed to doing what is right for the people of North Carolina concerning HB2 and that was passage of the bill. Senator Berger says he has no plans to propose any changes to or repeal of the bill.

Next, Mark speaks to Montreat Mayor Tim Helms. He tells Mark he got into politics after the current Mayor decided not to run again. He explains he’d been the Mayor of Bessemer City and took a break when he and his wife moved, but it seemed God had a different plan for him. Mark asks what makes Montreat special. Mayor Helms describes every time he visited the town, he felt a sense of peace when he drove through the gates and he feels the same way today as he listens to the birds signing and watches water flow over the rocks in the streams around his home. He adds that the town has a unique feature – there’s only one way in and one way out. Mark asks if there was any legislation that had impacted his town. Mayor Helms says initially Commissioners thought the sales tax redistribution bill was going to hurt them, but he says in the end, the final version of the bill turned out not to hurt them at all.

In the second hour, Civitas President Francis De Luca joins Mark. They discuss the results of the latest poll which was released last week. Mark also asks about claims by Raleigh’s Chamber of Commerce that HB2 is causing a loss of business. Francis explains the city of Raleigh’s ordinances were actually stricter than those enacted in HB2.

Finally, Dr. Derek Scissors, Resident Scholar with the American Enterprise Institute. He and Mark discuss NAFTA, the presidential race and myths asserted about the trade agreement that should really be put on China – especially the theft of intellectual property.

Lt. Governor Dan Forest and AFP State Director Donald Bryson join us tomorrow.

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