Lawmakers recommend spending for Medicaid, eugenics victims

Posted May 15, 2012
Updated May 16, 2012

— In their first day back at work for the "short session," North Carolina lawmakers filed bills to pay for reparations to victims of the state's eugenics program and to patch a hole in Medicaid funding.

The General Assembly's main job for the roughly six-week "short session" is to change parts of the second year of the two-year budget approved last year, and legislative leaders have said that is where they will focus their energies.

They have the option of taking up other topics such as gambling, hydraulic fracturing and a proposed public education overhaul.

Senate leaders moved immediately on a Medicaid bill, authorizing the budget director to move money from the General Fund, the Department of Health and Human Services and elsewhere to fill a $205 million gap in funding.

In the House, members agreed to a recommendation that eugenics victims be paid $50,000 each for their pain and suffering.

Budget is the big agenda item

Republicans, who took control of the Legislature after the 2010 elections, insist they will pass a budget that does not include the higher temporary sales tax called for by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue. If the two sides reach a stalemate, Republicans could go home without adjusting the budget.

Sen. Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, the lead budget writer in the Senate, called that option "a very viable strategy" for Republican leaders, who hold the upper hand over the lame duck governor. 

"We've heard the people of North Carolina tell us that we want a leaner, meaner state government ... and that's what we're going to look at in this budget," said Rep. Harold Brubaker, R-Randolph, senior co-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He said the House version of the budget could be on the floor next week.

Parties have some points of agreement  


Republicans in both chambers and Perdue both are interested in lowering the state gas tax and placing a temporary cap on the rate. The current tax of 38.9 cents per gallon was already expected to fall automatically July 1 by more than a penny.

House Majority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, said he expects more money to be spent on public education this year because there's a little more money — the state has a revenue surplus of more than $230 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Sen. Phil Berger, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and his lieutenants also want to pass a package of education initiatives that would eliminate tenure for public school teachers, offer performance bonuses and merit pay for teachers and expand early reading skills for students. Stam said he likes most of the components but said they may be too much to complete in the "short" session.

The General Assembly has other issues that legislators want to resolve before going home, probably in early July.

Lawmakers are expected to consider changing state gambling laws needed for an updated gambling compact reached in November between Perdue and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to be carried out.

The tribe would be permitted to offer live dealer gambling at its western North Carolina casino. The state's school districts would get a share of revenue from the new games, which Perdue said could also create hundreds of new jobs. A coalition of social conservatives and liberal Democrats opposed to gambling could refuse to pass the gambling law changes.

Lawmakers will also consider whether to change new involuntary annexation laws to respond to a court decision that rejected a new method the Legislature approved in 2011.


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  • MakoII May 16, 2012


    Typically you gotta pick one and go with it.

    I say the POTUS is the one in charge since they have a VETO that is tough to override.

    Bev's VETO has been overridden a few times. She owns what she signs, the GOP owns what they override.

    Whoever signs it and wins the legislation is the owner. Otherwise Democrats get ALL the praise for whatever you possibly liked under Reagan...

  • lovelarvae May 16, 2012

    "Can you really say what the Republicans can/will do based on only a short term stint without also having a Republican Gov?"

    It's probably safe to assume most or all of the legislation that the republicans put forward and Perdue vetoed would have been signed by a republican governor. Their legislative proposals say a lot about their priorities and agenda, even if the current gov didn't sign them.

  • computer trainer May 16, 2012

    dabink - AMEN!

  • computer trainer May 16, 2012

    rlsmith5- yeah, they have been in office for 2 years, with Bev "red stamp VETO" Perdue, going stamp happy over everything. Tell us what a wonderful job that the DEMS did for 150 years. Yeah, tell it all.

  • dabink May 16, 2012

    NC was totally run by Democrats for 100 years and only recently did the Republicans get voted into power, but still under a Democrat Governor. Yet the Democrats are blaming the Republicans for all NC problems. It's the same as on the national level, still blaming Bush for all problems even though both the House and Senate were run by Dems at that time and even under Obama both were run by the Dems until recently.

    As voters, we shoot ourselves in the foot and then blame someone else. If we want to see what the Democrats OR Republicans can/will do for NC the let's put one party or the other in power in the House, the Senate, and the Govs office. Can you really say what the Republicans can/will do based on only a short term stint without also having a Republican Gov? We know what the Democrats can/have done based on NC history. We, the voters, are the ones decide who takes office. But this mess we've created so that neither party can do anything is not serving any of us well.

  • MakoII May 16, 2012

    I got a great GOP idea: Let's close schools for a year and have 10 years of Budget surpluses!!

    We'll send home the curricula and current books for Parents to make the kids do at home. Temporarily suspend the laws making it illegal to have a kid under 12 home alone and, walah, you are done!

    Nothing but budget happiness for the next decade!!

  • BubbaDuke May 16, 2012

    After wasting their time and effort on the Marriage Amendment, the GOP had better get something done to generate jobs and lower taxes. Otherwise you're going to see a lot of Democrats taking those seats this November. Stupid move on their part during an election year, even if the amendment passed.

    I'm a conservative who tends to vote Republican, but no one who's in office now should assume I'll vote for them again.

  • jjordan231179 May 16, 2012

    ECU-do you really think a tax and spend liberal like Bevvie cares if the ir is waste

    If DEMS are "tax and spend" its fair to say the GOP is "cut tax and spend" correct? You two party sheep are not that bright.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road May 16, 2012

    The first legislation they plan to pass is a bill declaring the world to be flat, not round. Its a republican thing.

  • ckblackm May 16, 2012

    Where are the jobs the legislature promised they would bring?