Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Welcome back after a long holiday weekend!

I don't have much to report since I'm swamped working on a potentially big show this weekend (hopefully more on that tomorrow).

Last week Sen. Rand said he thought the House might unveil its budget this week. I'd say that is unlikely. I just got a number of notices from appropriation subcommittees that are working on Thursday, so I'd say it won't happen this week.

That would put House members at the earliest voting next week which would give the Senate and Conference roughly 3 weeks to come up with another version and compromise by the July 1 deadline. Can it happen? The answer is almost always, if they really want it to they can.

I'll hopefully have more to report tomorrow. In the meantime here's my story today on U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan's roundtable on 287 g with sheriffs today. One thing not in the story is the fact that none of the people on her roundtable were actually using the 287 g program yet and I believe at least most of them were Democrats just like her. Not sure what that may or may not mean but just throwing information out there for you to know.

P.S. I was in Arizona this weekend and saw the Red Rocks in Sedona. Holy smokes if you haven't seen them you should! And no, I didn't make it out to McCain's house to BBQ with the Veep candidates!

Anyway..here's the story

RALEIGH -- Immigration is quickly becoming a hot topic in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race.

Today, Democratic candidate Kay Hagan met with a half dozen sheriffs to talk about the 287 g program. Hagan's opponent, current Senator Elizabeth Dole has tried to convince sheriffs to join the program for more than a year.

Mecklenburg County started the 287 g program in 2006 and its sheriff says it works.

"In the stats we've looked at the DWI stats for Hispanics has gone down every year since 287 g came in," Sheriff Chip Bailey said. "And if you look at the DWLR, driving while license revoked, its gone down every year.

The 287 g program trains sheriff's deputies to identify illegal immigrants who commit crimes and start the deportation process.

Hagan supports the program but only if the federal government pays for 100-percent of it.

"My problem with it is that it's an unfunded federal mandate," Hagan said. "As I've stated last year the state of North Carolina spent $750,000 on this program and this is really something that is an ICE situation which is an immigration situation."

Dole has been a big supporter of the program. In fact she spent the past year touring the state trying to get sheriffs on board.

"We're looking at every possibility to stay focused on this issue of criminals who are illegal aliens who repeat and repeat and causing great angst among our citizens in North Carolina," Dole said at one of her own roundtables last August.

Dole's stance may be paying off in some ways.

In the most recent Public Policy Polling poll, she leads Hagan by five points with ten percent still undecided.

However voters who are most concerned with immigration overwhelmingly pick Dole by an 89% to 8% margin.

Hagan hopes her public stance on the issue will turn those numbers around.

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