Today @NCCapitol (6/24): Game of budget chicken

Posted June 24, 2014

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, June 24. Here's a look at what's going on in state government.

WORST-CASE BUDGET SCENARIO: As the June 30 budget deadline looms with no legislative deal in the works, Gov. Pat McCrory is instructing state agencies to prepare for what, for many, would be the worst-case scenario. According to a budget guidance memo sent out Monday from the Office of State Budget and Management, agencies should plan to budget for July as if the lesser amount of funding in either the House or the Senate plans has been put in place.

McCrory makes one exception to that rule: The 7,400 teaching assistants that would be cut under the Senate plan are not being cut.

REG REFORM: The House Regulatory Reform Committee takes up two lengthy reform measures at 9 a.m. One, Senate Bill 493, sped through two committees last week only to be pulled off the House calendar and sent back to committee because of concerns voiced by some members of the Republican caucus. Senate Bill 734 is an even bigger collection of reform proposals passed by the Senate.

House leaders plan to use the two bills to split their omnibus in two. Their original bill, Senate Bill 493, will be cut down to only health and safety issues, including autism coverage and the teen tanning bed ban. Senate Bill 734 has been gutted and will become a vehicle for the House's business- and government-related proposals, including a ban on protest petitions and a study of whether mug shots should be public records.  

WRAL.com plans live coverage of this meeting. Check the Video Central section of the homepage.

COMMON CORE: House members stiffed the Senate last week, substituting their own language to replace the national Common Core academic standards in North Carolina public schools for a Senate bill on the same subject. Now, the full House gets a second crack at voting on a plan that would prevent a state commission from even considering any Common Core elements as it writes up new standards. The Senate bill would have left Common Core on the table as an option. WRAL.com plans live coverage of this meeting. Check the Video Central section of the homepage.

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

  • Senate Agriculture (11 a.m. | 544 LOB): The committee is expected to take up an omnibus bill, but a committee substitute hasn't been publicly filed yet. Some advocates are worried a provision making it a crime to pose as a worker to collect undercover information on food processing plants could come back to life in it.
  • House Transportation (12 p.m. | 643 LOB): The committee will consider a bill that would allow people to renew their driver's licenses for four years by mail, phone or online, rather than going in person to a Division of Motor Vehicles office.
  • Budget press conference (12 p.m. | Press Room): House Democrats discuss the state budget.
  • House session (2 p.m.): In addition to Common Core, House members will debate legislation that would allow absentee ballots cast by people who die before Election Day to be counted and will consider a resolution to study whether to join an effort to call for a constitutional convention.
  • Senate session (2 p.m.): The Senate will take up its proposal to clean up coal ash ponds statewide within 15 years. It also will consider a bill allowing ramp meters on some highway entrance ramps.

PROTEST ARRESTS: Fifteen people were arrested Monday night during the latest "Moral Monday" protest at the legislature. As the number of arrests since last summer approaches 1,000, some are questioning the effectiveness of the weekly protests, noting they have failed to stem the tide of legislation coming out of the Republican-led General Assembly.

GOVERNMENT REFORM: Lawmakers had some tough questions Monday for the McCrory administration's new government reform initiative.

TAKING AIM AT MUGSHOTS: Competing provisions in the state legislature are taking aim at websites that charge to remove mugshots posted online, even if a person is cleared. But experts say the rules might not help.

BOONE SPLITS GOP: A Senate bid to strip Boone of its powers of extraterritorial jurisdiction failed the House Government Committee on Monday, highlighting a rift within the Republican caucus.

SIGN OF END TIMES: Even with the House and Senate at a budget impasse, Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said Monday that no Senate committee meetings would be held after Thursday, signaling the chamber is close to wrapping up its business for the year.


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