Thursday Wrap: Parks and wrecks

Posted April 2, 2015

— After a dizzyingly hectic week, state lawmakers wrapped up business early Thursday afternoon to begin a week of skeleton sessions as much of the General Assembly takes a break.

Before they left town, lawmakers questioned Gov. Pat McCrory's proposal to shift state parks, the North Carolina Zoo and other facilities from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the Department of Cultural Resources. They wanted to know how the plan would save any money and why other suggested operational changes in the parks couldn't be accomplished under DENR's purview.

Meanwhile, suggestions of operational changes in the House were quickly snuffed out in a House Rules Committee meeting. Some members of the Republican caucus bristled at the way the Senate has been slipping policy changes into state budgets and adding provisions to compromise bills that were never part of the original House or Senate bill. Attempts to address those issues were beaten back by a group loyal to House Speaker Tim Moore, and the rules for the House's operations during the rest of the 2015-16 session were adopted with little floor debate on Thursday afternoon.

In the Senate, a committee passed a bill that would allow county registers of deeds to stamp unofficial marriage records with an indication that they are not official. Such bogus documents are often filed by so-called "sovereign citizens," people who have a disregard for the system of courts and legal records. The Senate has already passed a similar bill dealing with unofficial birth certificates.


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