Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Thursday, July 10. Here's what's going on at the legislature and around state government.
Lottery deal struck, but budget progress remains elusive JINGLE BELLS: Wednesday's House-Senate budget negotiations did not get off to the most promising start as members of the Senate team walked out as House members began to take testimony from superintendents and teachers about the importance of teaching assistants. Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, the chamber's lead budget writer, said House members were violating the rules of the conference committee by bringing in the outside testimony without notice.
Senators came back into the room an hour later, after which both sides told the other they weren't making real concessions, and each side postured about being in Raleigh until it was time for eggnog and carols.
"I don't know whether we should draw names for Christmas ... but it looks like we're heading that way," Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, said.
During a break in their negotiations, Gov. Pat McCrory said he was disappointed with the Senate for walking out, taking up for the House's position on education funding.
By the time lawmakers had returned for the afternoon negotiating session, a few clever souls had hung Christmas decorations, but the House offered a key concession on lottery funding. House members said they would no longer insist on counting on a boost in lottery revenue in the budget. The previous day, senators had offered to drop their insistence on a proposal that would tie teacher raises to abandoning career status, or tenure, rights.
Negotiations were expected to continue Thursday, although no open conference committees had been noticed as of 6:30 a.m.
SCHEDULE: The state House is scheduled to meet for a no-vote skeleton session at 11 a.m. The state Senate is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Two major bills are on the Senate calendar, including a conference agreement on rewriting the state's academic standards to replace Common Core and whether to agree with the House version of a bill to regulate coal ash throughout the state.
At 9 a.m., McCrory is scheduled to hold a signing ceremony at the North Carolina National Guard's headquarters for legislation that clarifies how military service and training should count toward civilian licensing.
In Winston-Salem, final arguments were expected at a hearing over whether extensive changes to North Carolina's voting laws will be put on hold until after the November election.
MEANWHILE, IN THE SENATE RACE: Despite a challenge from Republican Thom Tillis to meet in a series of at least 10 debates across the state this fall, Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's campaign said Wednesday that she would debate Tillis no more than three times before the November election.
TWEETS: Twitter forces users to pare down their thoughts into 140 or fewer characters, but state lawmakers say social media helps them open up the legislative process, parsing complex policy and legislation into accessible posts that inform voters and start conversations.
RETIRING: The chief judge of North Carolina's Court of Appeals for more than a decade is stepping down in a few weeks. Judge John Martin told court staff by email of his decision to retire Aug. 1. Martin sent a retirement letter Tuesday to McCrory. The retirement means there will be a November election for his seat.