by Rick Henderson
Editor-in-Chief, Carolina Journal
• In breaking news, Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-9th District, has confirmed an FBI inquiry is under way regarding the real estate firm he left in 2013 when taking office. Members of Congress are not allowed to maintain outside business interests.
• Will it or won’t it make the ballot? The Senate just barely got enough support to pass Senate Bill 607, a constitutional amendment limiting tax rates and spending increases and requiring a robust state rainy-day fund. Senate leaders got exactly the 30 votes needed to send the measure to the House, but it’s far from certain that body will take up the provision.
• Former state Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, who did not seek re-election to the General Assembly in 2012, says she has been approached by state and national Democrats to challenge GOP U.S. Sen. Richard Burr next year. Ross, who’s now general counsel for Triangle Transit, has not at press time confirmed her plans.
• Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper, who’s all-but-certain to oppose Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016, says it would be a mistake to oppose the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recently announced rules on power plants. The General Assembly has passed legislation calling for a lawsuit against the EPA, and McCrory opposes the rules, saying they will lead to higher energy bills and not improve the environment. The state Republican Party has criticized Cooper for refusing to join 16 other state AGs who have asked for the rules to be delayed.
• Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th District, the chief deputy majority whip in the House, is leading efforts in Congress to drum up support for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign.