Today @NCCapitol (7/25): It may be technical, but is it a correction?
Posted July 25, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Friday, July 25. Here's what's going on at the legislature and around state government.
THE HOUSE: The state House is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. and take up 10 bills. Among the measures on the calendar is a the conference report on a charter school measure that House Democrats say is too favorable to for-profit charter companies. As well, the House is due to take up a technical corrections bill that eliminates the Child Fatality Task Force, tweaks state gun laws and limits what restrictions the State Board of Education can put on charter school board memberships.
Fifteen minutes after session, the House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to review the conference committee report on the state's 2014 Farm Act.
THE SENATE: The Senate is scheduled to hold a no-vote skeleton session after working most of the week.
THE BUDGET: There was no official word Thursday that the budget that was, in theory, due on July 1 would be completed soon. But lawmakers and staff from the Governor's Office were spotted around the Legislative Building after the normal close of business.
McCrory 'touches base' at legislature THE GOVERNOR: Gov. Pat McCrory did not release a public schedule for Friday, but he did pop through the Legislative Building on Thursday. "I come here often just to have interaction. I cut through here on the way to the house, back and forth to the house often," he insisted, referring to the Executive Mansion."I usually don’t cut through the hallway of the Rules Committee, though," he added with a laugh. "That is the first time."
TAXES: Two efforts to resolve the concerns of urban counties over a proposed cap on local sales tax rates were narrowly defeated Thursday before the Senate approved the cap as part of a package of economic development changes.
Technical corrections bill eliminates Child Fatality Task Force CORRECTIONS: The General Assembly would eliminate its commission that studies ways to reduce childhood deaths as part of a sprawling, 58-page bill that the House Rules Committee approved Thursday afternoon. Known as a "technical corrections" bill, House Bill 1133 makes changes to dozens of different statutes. Many of those changes are technical in nature, changing statutory citations, correcting spelling and punctuation or resolving conflicts between separate state laws.
Such bills are among the last measures to be rolled out during a legislative session, often cleaning up the language in bills passed only weeks earlier. But such technical bills are notorious among lawmakers and legislative observers for harboring substantial changes to state law that powerful lawmakers want to see done before the end of the legislative session. This particular bill, according to Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, was originally crafted by a group of senior House and Senate lawmakers in order to expedite its passage.
MEDICAID: The state Senate gave tentative approval Thursday to a proposal to overhaul the state's Medicaid system. The proposal, House Bill 1181, would remove Medicaid from the Department of Health and Human Services, setting it up as an independent agency called the Department of Medical Services governed by an independent, although politically appointed, board.
MOPEDS: The state House on Thursday rejected a bill that would have required moped riders to carry insurance, with many members saying anecdotes about scooters causing accidents do not provide enough reason to make such a major policy change. Backers of the bill said the measure ensures that people who are riding on public roads can pay for any damage they cause. "We conservatives are all for being accountable and personal responsibility except when we discuss this – we want to give somebody a free ride," said Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow.
RED LIGHTS: Red-light cameras will likely reappear at some Fayetteville intersections soon. On Thursday, lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that will allow the program to be paid for through a joint agreement between the city and the Cumberland County Board of Education.
BUILDINGS: When a bill designed to help new owners settle into unused industrial buildings left the state House, it was a half-page long and dealt with a single quirk of the state's building codes. It returned form the Senate as a complex, five-page measure that drew objections Thursday from House lawmakers who said it should be given a once-over by the chamber's Environment Committee.
SAVINGS BONDS: The state Treasurer would be able to search for the owners of long-matured U.S. savings bonds under a measure that has cleared the Senate and gotten a nod from the House Finance Committee.
LAROQUE: The new trial for former North Carolina Rep. Stephen LaRoque has been delayed again. Attorney Elliot Abrams, a member of LaRoque's defense team, said Thursday that the retrial has been moved from October to Feb. 2, 2015. Abrams said the new date stems from delays in getting transcripts from the previous trial.
MEAN MOLLY: As reported by The News & Observer: "A longtime supervisor at the N.C. Commissioner of Banks office says a deputy commissioner is retaliating against him because he resisted her attempts to drive a “substantial” number of employees out of their jobs. Rodney Oldham, a 24-year employee of the agency, filed a petition in the state Office of Administrative Hearings on Tuesday seeking to stop Deputy Commissioner Molly Sheehan – whom he alleges said employees could call her “Mean Molly” – from retaliating against him."
TEACHERS: "Buoyed by the success of an earlier job fair, the Houston school district came back to North Carolina looking for more teachers," reports the News & Record. "Recruiters from the nation’s seventh-largest school district interviewed prospective teachers at the DoubleTree hotel in Greensboro on Thursday."