Today @NCCapitol (6/23): Eyeing the exits

Posted June 23, 2014

These flags are displayed inside the state Senate chambers.

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, June 23.

FINAL WEEK?:  Earlier this month, Senate leaders filed an adjournment resolution listing June 27 as "sine die," the official end of the two-year legislative session. That may have been overly optimistic. House and Senate leaders still haven't come to agreement on key points of their 2014-15 budget adjustments, including teacher pay raises and whether and how to restructure Medicaid.

The deadline for the budget is June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. That's one week from Monday. If legislators can't find a compromise by then, they can pass a temporary spending measure known as a continuing resolution to give themselves an extension.

***UPDATE: Speaker Tillis's chief of staff Chris Hayes points out that actually, no CR would be needed, because July 1 is the second year of the two-year budget cycle.  We regret the error! 

With the deadline looming, the House and Senate handled a flurry of bills last week, pushing to make sure their priorities aren't left on the table when the session wraps up. This week is likely to bring more of the same.

NC GEAR: The Program Evaluation Oversight Committee meets at 3 p.m. Monday to hear a status report on NC GEAR, the North Carolina Government Efficiency and Reform initiative. The project was included in Gov. Pat McCrory's 2013 budget, and lawmakers included $4 million in funding for the initiative in the current budget.  

The committee will hear a progress report and recommendations from NC GEAR deputy director Joe Coletti, the former budget policy chief at the John Locke Foundation. WRAL.com plans to carry this meeting live. Please check the Video Central box on the homepage.

MORAL MONDAY: The weekly protest by the state NAACP and other left-leaning groups returns Monday night with a "Sit-In, Stand-In, Teach-In, Plan-In, Pray-In" event. Organizers say they'll use the event to "kick off an aggressive statewide campaign of voter registration, mobilization and education in a new Moral March to the Polls Campaign." 

The group plans a short rally on Halifax Mall at 5 p.m. After that, according to a press release, protesters will enter the legislative building and "divide up into breakout groups" to plan their voter mobilization campaign. 

Last week's high-volume protest was the first held under a temporary restraining order issued by Superior Court Judge Carl Fox against some legislative building rules enacted in May. That TRO is still in place through June 27.  Both the House and Senate will be in session at 7 p.m., but neither is likely to take long to finish its business.

CALENDAR: The General Assembly publishes full legislative calendar daily. Here's what @NCCapitol will be keeping an eye on:

  • Joint Program Evaluation Oversight (3:00 p.m. | 544 LOB): NC GEAR update (see above). 
  • House Finance (5:00 p.m. | 544 LOB): The House Finance Committee looks at two bills, one of which is likely to be a "gut and amend" vehicle. 
  • House Government (5:00 p.m. | 643 LOB): The House Government Committee takes up seven local bills, including one that would ban the town of Boone from exercising powers of extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ. 
  • House Floor (7:00 p.m.):  House lawmakers will handle a handful of non-controversial bills. It should be a brief session.
  • Senate Floor (7:00 p.m.): Senate lawmakers will debate a handful of non-controversial bills. This should also be a brief meeting. 

MCCRORY SETTLES IN: Seventeen months into his administration, McCrory is more comfortable in the job and with challenging state lawmakers. McCrory sat down with WRAL's David Crabtree on Friday to talk about his positions on legislative efforts this session, including a Senate push to move Medicaid out of the Department of Health and Human Services.

"We're looking at this, but I don't think two or three legislators should be making decisions for the executive branch of government. That's the job of the governor," he said.

MEDICAID: The embattled Medicaid program was the focus of two @NCCapitol stories Friday, as well as Saturday's On The Record, which featured state Medicaid director Dr. Robin Cummings

TOXIC WATER SUITS: It looks like retired Marine Jerry Ensminger will have his day in court over contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. On Friday, McCrory signed a bill that will revive that case and another high-profile water contamination lawsuit in federal courts.

PERDUE PLEADS FOR SPEED: Former Gov. Bev Perdue pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser charge to dispose of a speeding ticket she received last month in Wayne County, according to court records.


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