@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Thursday Wrap: Tomato sandwiches ease tensions

Posted July 24, 2014

— The House and the Senate were both in session Thursday for the first time in more than a week, and Gov. Pat McCrory even made a cameo appearance, accidentally stepping in on a House Rules Committee meeting as he cut through the Legislative Building.

McCrory said was meeting with House and Senate leaders, trying to broker a budget deal. He also was in the Senate gallery when senators were scheduled to debate their proposal to overhaul the state's Medicaid program.

The Medicaid debate was put off until the afternoon, however, giving lawmakers a chance to chow down on tomato sandwiches.

The sandwiches helped ease some of the intramural sniping heard on the Senate floor during a sales tax debate Thursday morning. Senators approved a package of economic development initiatives and a cap on local sales tax rates only after beating back proposals from Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus, to raise the cap and to vote separately on the tax provision.

The Senate gave preliminary approval to the Medicaid reform plan, which calls for shifting the health insurance program for the poor and disabled to a new state agency and putting insurers in charge of controlling costs. McCrory, House members and health care providers have expressed opposition to the plan.

The House voted not to concur with the Senate's decision to add an insurance provision back into a bill requiring moped owners to register their vehicles, and the Rules Committee that McCrory walked in on passed a 58-page technical corrections bill that would eliminate the Child Fatality Task Force and change rules for who can sit on the board of a charter school, among a slew of other provisions.

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