23 May

What Matters for Monday, May 23, 2016

Sex versus gender identity. Simple as that. Right? Not so fast. Jeremy Tedesco, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom joins Mark right out of the gate to discuss the latest in the battle with the federal government over the legality of HB2. Mr. Tedesco says when it comes to Title IX and Title VII, the federal government has no right to redefine statutes or there is no rule of law in this country. Mark asks if Congress can help in resolving the issue. Jeremy tells Mark members of Congress are able to fight to keep privacy, dignity and safety in place in bathrooms, showers and locker rooms between the sexes if they choose to do so. Senators Burr and Tillis have decided to leave it to the courts or refer constituents to their State Representatives, respectively.

Next, Mark speaks to Zebulon Mayor Robert Matheny. He tells him about the growth of Zebulon, specifically how Five County Stadium has helped economically. He says he hears from people around the world about the Carolina Mudcats. Mark asks what he likes to tout about the town. He says it’s a close community with lots of parks, new housing developments and open spaces. Mark asks what legislation may have affected his town. Mayor Matheny says changes to forced annexations, sanctuary cities, local broadband, allowing guns in parks, and reducing powers of municipalities. Mark asks about water rate hikes because of the switchover from providing water locally to purchasing water from Raleigh. Mayor Matheny says while rates went up substantially, they’ll fall when the pro forma is paid off in 2023. He explains water is easy, but sewer is not.

In the second hour, Civitas President Francis De Luca joins Mark. Francis begins by explaining the differences in power between local, state and federal government and what can happen when each oversteps their boundaries. Mark asks Francis’ thoughts on the House budget. Francis says firstly, he was amazed by the passage of a budget by at least one chamber so quickly. He goes on to say he was pleased to see a raise for all state employees who have not received a salary increase in many years. However, he says creating a merit-based pay scale would be a better way to evaluate people moving forward. This also applies to teachers. He says a good way to attract instructors for positions that are hard to fill is by raising salaries. He stresses the importance of making sure teacher evaluations are also performed correctly.

Finally, Mecklenburg County Senator Bob Rucho joins Mark. Senator Rucho says firstly, he was pleased to get an agreement on a spending plan early. Next, Senator Rucho says he thinks the middle class should receive their tax relief immediately and not wait four years especially since the state got millions back in tax revenue. Mark asks his thoughts on state employee raises. Senator Rucho says they’ve been discussing this for four years and thought they were on a path toward merit-based pay. He says it used to take more than 40 years for a teacher to get her salary up to $50,000. They got that down to 20 years. He says the House took the easy road by giving everyone a raise. Mark asks if this might keep lawmakers in session longer. Senator Rucho says sometimes you fight for what is right. Mark asks what the mood is in Mecklenburg County among his constituents regarding HB2. Senator Rucho says they’ve told him to stand firm.

And, Mark speaks to Chairman of Moore County’s Commission, Nick Picerno. He explains to Mark how they are looking for alternate funding after a threat by the Obama administration to take federal funding because of the state’s stance over HB2.

Tomorrow, Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs First Sgt. James Prosser, Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal, AFP State Director Donald Bryson, and Generation Opportunity State Director Anna Beavon join us tomorrow.

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