Pete's Prep: Thursday, June 14, 2018

posted by Pete Kaliner - 

Happy IG-mas!

The Inspector General's report comes out today. 

First report from Bloomberg:

Former FBI Director James Comey “deviated” from FBI and Justice Department procedures in handling the probe into Hillary Clinton, damaging the law enforcement agencies’ image of impartiality even though he wasn’t motivated by political bias, the department’s watchdog found in a highly anticipated report.

“While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the report’s conclusions, which were obtained Thursday by Bloomberg News.




NC cops to get access to your prescriptions

State lawmakers gave tentative approval last night to the Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Enforcement (HOPE) Act, saying it will combat the opioid crisis.

From the Carolina Journal:

If the HOPE Act passes the House in its current form and gets signed into law, local police officers will be able to view the medical records of anyone who’s been prescribed a controlled substance.  

Seen as the “second chapter” of legislation aimed at cracking down on prescription opioids, Senate Bill 616 beefs up law enforcement’s access to patient medical records in the Controlled Substance Recording System. The bill would expand police access to patient records, letting local officials join federal and state investigators in viewing patient records on the CSRS.

NC Health News reports it would be a felony for any law enforcement agent who misuses this information.

However, it raises serious constitutional questions.

Rep. David Rogers (R- Rutherfordton) said the issue can’t be left up to a law enforcement officer to determine what is a reasonable cause for a search, the standard created in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

“You’re talking about digging into people’s personal medical records based on reasonable, good faith belief. But what to one officer may be reasonable, to a judge is completely unreasonable,” Rogers said.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein supports the measure.

It goes to the Governor for approval now.



Tax break for the Carolina Panthers

From the Charlotte Observer:

A new bill in the North Carolina legislature would give the Carolina Panthers a big tax break on land the team leases from the city of Charlotte.

The measure comes about a month after hedge fund billionaire David Tepper agreed to buy the team for $2.275 billion. Tepper has not said what he plans to do with Bank of America Stadium — among the NFL’s oldest. But officials, including N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper and Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, have said they will work to keep the Panthers in Charlotte.

The Panthers lease 34 acres from the city for $1 a year. But the team still pays several hundred thousand dollars a year in property taxes on some of the value of that land, which includes the stadium and practice field. The land has a tax value of $27.6 million.

Matthews Republican Rep. Bill Brawley told fellow lawmakers the team is “paying significant property tax on property they do not own,” NC Insider reported this week.

It means the property is tax-exempt.

And according to the paper, the Panthers paid more than $350,000 in property taxes last year. Plus another $1.8 million on the value of the stadium.



Freedom Caucus reacts to Trump's attack on one of their own

An interesting piece in the Washington Examiner yesterday about the fallout after Congressman Mark Sanford lost his South Carolina primary. His opponent attacked Sanford for not being sufficiently loyal to President Trump, and for his extramarital affair.

Hours before the polls closed, Trump tweeted attacks on Sanford.

"I'm disappointed. Mark Sanford's a good man," said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who said he did a call for Sanford on Monday. "I didn't expect [the tweet] and I wish he hadn't have done it. I disagree with it. I think Mark is a good member and a good friend, and I disagree with the fact that the president did a tweet, particularly at that last minute."

To many, including Jordan, the tweet came out of left field. One Freedom Caucus source said that members were "pissed" about the last-minute weigh-in from the president.

****

The situation has made things uncomfortable for HFC members, many of whom were hesitant to weigh in on the result despite usually being press friendly. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the Freedom Caucus chairman and a close ally of the president, declined when asked multiple times to weigh in on the president's tweet, offering only that he was "disappointed that [Sanford] lost." Reps. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, an outgoing member, Ted Yoho, R-Fla., and Justin Amash, R-Mich., all echoed Meadows and declined to comment.

Sanford was first elected to Congress in 1994 as part of the "Republican Revolution." He was a Tea Party hero who fought both Democratic and Republican efforts to grow spending.

But as James Antle notes, "He became a RINO when he persisted under Trump. Sanford picked a fight with one Republican too many. Like Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., he waxed philosophical about the president's flaws. And as Flake found, Trump didn't appreciate it."

Or maybe it was the candidates...



And another thing...

Asheville City Council will NOT get special permission to look at police body cam footage.

Buncombe County Commissioners did NOT name an interim manager after its 2-hour closed door meeting yesterday.

North Carolina Republican lawmakers do NOT want the state income tax rate to ever go above 5.5%. They've proposed a constitutional amendment capping the rate.

Also... this:

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