Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Thursday, April 11. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
HOUSE TODAY: The state House has a long calendar today after putting off work Wednesday so members could attend a hearing on Voter ID proposals. Bills on today's calendar include a twice-delayed measure to restrict lottery advertising, a bill that could lead to Asheville's water system being turned over to a regional authority, a measure to allow restaurants to set up outdoor dining areas in state rights of way, and declaring "prayer week" in North Carolina.
House session begins at 1 p.m. WRAL.com will carry the session live. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
SENATE TODAY: The Senate will take up a proposal that would allow for 75 mph speed limits on some roads.
The chamber is also due to pass legislation to require newborns be screened for certain birth defects. The House has already passed this measure, but the Senate has taken the unusual step of sending through its own version of the measure. It's unclear why the House measure did not move through the Senate process.
Senators will meet at 10 a.m. this morning. WRAL.com will carry the session live. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
MCCRORY: Gov. Pat McCrory will be in Pembroke today for a UNC Board of Governor's meeting and an economic development announcement.
COMMITTEES: For a full list of committee meetings, see the main @NCCapitol page. Among the highlights:
House Environment (10 a.m. | LOB 544): Lawmakers will review a plan to force wind farms to get a permit.
House Government (10 a.m. | LOB 643): Lawmakers have more than a dozen bills on the calendar, including one that would allow the state to buy refurbished, rather than new, computer equipment.
Senate Judiciary 2 (Noon | LB 1124): The committee will look at bill to require heftier sentences for certain gun-related crimes.
EDUCATION: The House and Senate are taking different paths on education reform. As a bill by Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, cleared the Senate Education Committee Wednesday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced their own education reform measure.
The House bill does not take as hard of a line on eliminating career status for teachers as Berger's bill does, and it considers more factors in a school grading scheme.
The differing measures could be setting up a showdown between the two chambers, with Berger signaling that he is not ready to compromise on his measures, which he first floated as part of an education reform package in 2012.
"I think what we've put in the Senate bill are things that need to be addressed in K-12 education. I think dragging our feet on some of these issues is something that's not productive in terms of improving our public schools," Berger said.
WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker talk over the Voter ID hearings and other news from Wednesday at the legislature in The Wrap @NCCapitol.
FROM WEDNESDAY: Among the stories we were following Wednesday were:
MARTINEZ: McCrory spokeswoman Kim Genardo confirms Rick Martinez will join the governor's press office. Martinez is Curtis Media Group's longtime news director for WPTF and NC News Network. He's also a conservative columnist for the News and Observer.
UNC: The state Senate will not propose closing any of the 16 University of North Carolina system campuses, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Wednesday. "I don't see that's something that in this year's budget that we're going to do," Berger said. "That doesn't mean folks aren't going to talk about those things." Berger was following up on remarks by Sen. Peter Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, a senior budget chairman, who said last month that it may be time to look at reducing the number of UNC campuses.
PRESNELL: The nation's largest Muslim advocacy group is calling on the Republican Party to repudiate state Rep. Michele Presnell, who equated the religion of Islam with "terrorism" in a recent email to a constituent. Presnell, R-Yancey, is a co-sponsor of the now-notorious House Joint Resolution 494. She refused to speak with WRAL Wednesday.
BILLS: Among the more than 150 bills filed Wednesday were measures to legalize the sale of raw milk and name five new official state symbols. Lawmakers also drafted a measure allow the state to issue drivers licenses to those who are in the country without documentation.