Today @NCCapitol (6/2): House poised to begin budget work; lawmakers take Monday off
Posted June 2, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning, and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, June 2. Here's what you need to know about the legislature and state government.
NCGA AFTER DARK: Shortly after midnight on Saturday morning, the state Senate voted to send a $21.1 billion budget to the state House.
Senate approves $21.1B spending plan Votes were held Friday night and shortly after midnight Saturday. The first vote was 32-15; the second was 32-10. Sen. Gene McLaurin, D-Richmond, who backed the budget both times, was the only senator to cross party lines in the two votes.
Republicans offered 18 amendments, one of which eliminated a provision that could have led to the closure of Elizabeth City State University.
The Senate budget ends Medicaid coverage or eligibility for more than 15,000 blind, disabled or elderly people, cutting the state's support for the program by about $32 million. It also funds raises for teachers by eliminating positions for teaching assistants in second and third grades.
House budget writers expect to meet in subcommittees this week to begin hashing out their own version of the budget.
Hundreds of teachers turn out for Houston schools job fair TEACHERS: "North Carolina legislators want to scrap a law that prevents ineffective teachers from being removed from the classroom. But teachers have been fighting the move, saying they need protection from malicious schoolhouse politics," reports the Associated Press. The proposed budget written by the Senate would give 11 percent average raises in exchange for the state's 57,000 tenured teachers giving up their due process protections. RELATED: Responding to a newspaper classified adthat cited starting salaries of $46,805, hundreds of teachers packed into Raleigh's Doubletree Brownstone Hotel Saturday morning to attend a job fair sponsored by the Houston Independent School District.
JUDGES: "North Carolina Republican legislators unhappy that trial judges keep striking down laws they passed now want the rules of the game changed for future similar litigation. Democrats say their GOP colleagues are just sore losers after passing unconstitutional legislation," reports the Associated Press.
THE GOVERNOR: Gov. Pat McCrory will be in Union County for the Summer Scholastic Reading Challenge Recognition at Sun Valley Elementary School in Monroe at 9 a.m.
Lawmakers OK fast-track 'fracking' bill MONDAY'S LEGISLATIVE SCHEDULE: Senators are not scheduled to return to work until Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, House lawmakers are scheduled to hold a skeleton session Monday at 4 p.m., meaning they won't take up any votes.
Even so, leaders of the Moral Monday movement say they will be back on Jones Street Monday afternoon to protest policies of the Republican-led General Assembly. This week's protests will focus on health and the environment, according to a news release.
"They put corporate interests ahead of real people when they proposed a budget that takes vital Medicaid support from the elderly and the disabled," said the Rev William Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP.
PROGRAM NOTE: With the General Assembly largely out of action Monday, The Wrap @NCCapitol will not tape. Catch us again on Tuesday evening.
DON'T WORRY, PROTEST HAPPY: The conservative group Carolina Rising plans to ask the Moral Monday protesters to put on a happy face.
“Clearly, Rev. Barber and his group of protesters need a little sunshine in their lives,” said Dallas Woodhouse, President of Carolina Rising. “With North Carolina showing strong job creation due to tax and unemployment reform passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. McCrory, there is much to by sunny about. Since the protesters can’t find in their hearts to be sunny and optimistic, we thought we would bring them a little sunshine and provide them with the good economic news they somehow are missing.”
According to a news release, "Carolina Rising will offer sun-shaped stress balls to protesters that read, 'Jobs up unemployment down.' Carolina Rising will also offer protesters free Sunny Delight and Sunkist drinks with information about North Carolina's plummeting unemployment rate due."
Fact Check: Is the economic news really that good? FACT CHECK: Carolina Rising isn't the only group making claims about North Carolina's recovering economy. Americans for Prosperity, a group Woodhouse used to help lead in North Carolina, claims in a new commercial that "Over 200,000 jobs (have been) created under the leadership of our new legislature and Gov. McCrory."
Our fact check finds the ad has government statistics to back up its claims. But there's more to the story, including other statistics that suggest the news isn't quite as good.
ON THE RECORD: Lawmakers have sent a bill to McCrory that would clear the way for natural gas drilling, or "fracking," in the state beginning next year. Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Democrat, and Woodhouse went On the Record this weekend to debate this policy shift.
FRACKING: "State environmental officials plan to test for the presence of significant natural gas deposits in seven western North Carolina counties, a development that alarms environmentalists over the possibility of fracking in the mountains," reports the Asheville Citizen-Times.
DIX: City and state leaders have agreed to extend for 30 days the negotiations over the fate of the Dorothea Dix property, a 306-acre stretch of land just outside of downtown that Raleigh leaders would like to turn into a destination park. Negotiations had been scheduled to conclude by Sunday. The new deadline is June 30.
WILL: "Intellectual whiplash is an occupational hazard of crimson liberals in purple states," writes columnist George Will about the nascent U.S. Senate campaign between House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, and incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat.