2013 N.C. General Assembly Issue Tracker
The General Assembly returns to work on Jan. 30 and will tackle a number of issues ranging from constructing the annual budget to tax reform and voter ID. This page will keep track of the most high profile issues, linking to stories and bills, and updating their status on a regular basis. Issues will be added as they come up throughout the session.
Lawmakers said they will push through a bill that will require voters to show photo ID at the polls. STATUS: Hours before adjourning in late July, the House and Senate pushed through a measure that will require voters show photo ID at the polls. The same bill has a number of other elections-related provisions attached to it. As of July 29, the bill is pending on Gov. Pat McCrory's desk.
While North Carolina has a small budget surplus, Republican lawmakers say they hope to trim more spending from state government. STATUS: Gov. Pat has signed the $20.6 billion state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2013.
A proposed rewrite of North Carolina's tax system could eliminate state income taxes but expand sales taxes. STATUS: The House and Senate have both passed a tax reform measure endorsed by Gov. Pat McCrory. McCrory has signed the measure so it is now law.
House and Senate lawmakers have filed bills that would break a lease signed between the state and the city of Raleigh for the 325-acre Dorothea Dix campus in Raleigh. City leaders argue the state is reneging on a properly executed deal. Lawmakers say they are getting a better deal for the state than the agreement hastily signed by Gov. Bev Perdue on her way out of office. STATUS: Lawmaker ended their legislative session without passing a bill to affect the Dorothea Dix deal. Instead, they will let Gov. Pat McCrory and the city work out a new deal.
Legislative leaders are uncertain what, if any, legislation related to firearms will move this year. STATUS: Before leaving session in 2013, the General Assembly approved a sweeping package of firearms related laws. The measure includes both harsher punishments for those who violate statutes as well as broadening the number of places where those with concealed handgun permits can bring their weapons.
Lawmakers will have the final say on whether "fracking," the common name for a group of practices that involves using horizontal drilling and explosives to drill for natural gas, becomes legal in North Carolina. STATUS: Negotiators for the state House and Senate have reached an agreement on a bill, SB 76, that tweaks the state's mining and energy law. The final bill does not "fast track" the fracking process as earlier bills did, but allow the Mining and Energy Commission to develop fracking rules before permits are issued. However, another bill, HB 74, would restrict public notice of the chemicals used in fracking procedures.
Constitutional amendments setting limits for top legislative leaders, making the state Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed position, curbing the use of eminent domain, and on other topics have been filed. If passed by the legislature, an amendment goes to a vote of the people. STATUS: As of 6/23/13, the state House has passed three proposed constitutional amendments and the Senate has passed one. However, neither chamber has taken steps to pass the proposals sent over from the other.
Despite a state Supreme Court ruling upholding a ban on the games, sweepstakes machines continue to operate across the state. Lawmakers must decide if and how to regulate them. STATUS: A bipartisan group of House members has filed a measure to legalize and tax the games. However, the Senate Rules Chairman says there is "no appetite" for legalization bill in his chamber.
House lawmakers have passed HB 156: The Honest Lottery Act. The bill that restricts where and how the lottery could advertise. The bill would also require more disclosures regarding the odds of winning. The measure is now pending in the Senate.
A plan to repay North Carolina's unemployment debt could mean fewer benefits for laid off workers. STATUS: This bill was signed into law on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
North Carolina will have to decide whether to run a health insurance exchange or expand Medicaid in response to the federal Affordable Care Act. STATUS: The Senate approved a bill prohibiting Medicaid expansion or state involvement in health exchanges on Tuesday, Feb. 5. The full House gave final approval to the measure on Feb. 14. Senate lawmakers rejected the House version of the bill. However, Sen. Tom Apodaca said that a conference committee has met and resolved the differences. That measure has been approved by the House and Senate and signed by the governor. It is now law.
Group homes for the mentally ill and special care units for Alzheimer's patients both face funding issues that have the potential to require many patients to move. Lawmakers have said they will fix both problems with a single bill. STATUS: The Alzheimer's issue may not be repaired by legislation. The state Senate has revised a House-passed measure to provide stopgap funding for group homes. The bill now includes funding for Alzheimer's special care units. The Senate passed that bill on Thursday, Feb. 21, and it was passed by the House on a concurrence vote Tuesday, Feb. 26. Gov. Pat McCrory has signed the bill and it has become law.