Today @NCCapitol (April 15): DHHS officials discuss Medicaid's future, voting group says it made errors
Posted April 15, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, April 15. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today. Today the the filing deadline for state and federal taxes.
LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR: There are no legislative committee meetings on today's calendar. The one event on Gov. Pat McCrory's public schedule is a closed press visit to the GlaxoSmithKline Campus in Research Triangle Park.
Both the House and Senate are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. tonight.
The House is scheduled to take a final vote on the measure to turn Asheville's water system over to a regional authority, which would send the bill to the Senate. Lawmakers are also poised to send a bill that would require human traffickers whose victims are minors to register as sex offenders, whether or not the trafficking was for sexual purposes. The House made no changes to the Senate sex trafficking bill, which means the measure would go to the governor if lawmakers give it final approval Monday night. WRAL.com will carry the House session live. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
The Senate has a handful of bills on its calendar, including a measure that would order the Division of Motor Vehicles to develop a process for issuing photo ID cards to homebound individuals. The measure would be a step in ensuring nobody is excluded from voting under photo ID proposals.
VOTING INFO: A group advocating for requiring a photo ID to vote says it may have presented some bad information during a House Elections Committee last week.
Organizers of the Voter Integrity Project handed out scripts to volunteers during last week's public hearing. Those scripts cited specific instances and individuals the group said could have been involved in fraudulent votes. Specifically, the group claimed to have found non-citizens voters.
But late on Friday, group director Jay DeLancy posted to the group's website saying that some of that information "may be inaccurate" and promising to publish a "a full report after completing the audit. While we regret this human error and apologize for any embarrassment it may have caused to the presenters and to election officials, we caution the public against losing sight of the undeniable fact that North Carolina’s voter rolls are so corrupted that, without an effective voter ID law, it will be impossible to know who is really voting."
Such cases are hard, if not difficult to find, although advocates on the other side of the issue say it has little to do with corrupt voter roles than it does with in-person voter fraud being rare. Last year, VIP identified some voters they said were dead but who were really still alive.
Web only: DHHS officials discuss Medicaid overhaul MEDICAID: Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos and Carol Steckel, director of the state Medicaid program, plan to head across North Carolina in the coming weeks to hear people's concerns about the program and suggestions for change, the duo tells WRAL's Bruce Mildwurf. Wos and Gov. Pat McCrory last week unveiled plans to privatize much of the program, creating a handful of entities that would handle physical, mental and addiction help for the low-income and disabled people who use the health care system.
In an interview last week with North Carolina Health News, the pair acknowledged that some of a much ballyhooed Medicaid shortfall may have been created by the legislature. The online news site noted, that Wos "conceded that some of the problem might have been a function of a Republican-controlled legislature pushing back against a Democratic governor, Bev Perdue. But Wos also talked about a long-standing lack of trust between the General Assembly and her department." Click here for more on Medicaid from N.C. Health News.
100 DAYS: As @NCCapitol noted last week, today marks Gov. Pat McCrory's 100th day in office. The marker was first established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a milestone in a chief executive's tenure. Another take on the governor's tenure comes from the Associated Press, which quotes McCrory as saying, "I think you've got a lot of established interest groups that want to keep the way things are ... I wasn't elected to keep the status quo."
On the Record: McCrory's first 100 days The Charlotte Observer also marked the day, noting that McCrory has often sounded the refrain that government is broken. “What he is in effect doing is blaming his predecessors for everything that has gone wrong,” Chris Fitzsimon, director of the liberal N.C. Policy Watch, told the paper. “At some point he has to take responsibility for leading the state.”
POLL: Voters still seem to like McCrory as his first 100 days come to a close. His approval rating has bumped up as fewer people say they "don't know" about his job performance, according to Elon University Poll results released Friday.
FROM THE WEEKEND: In case you missed this stories Friday or over the weekend:
DUKE: The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday struck down a 7.2 percent increase on electric rates that the state Utilities Commission awarded to Duke Energy Corp. last year. The court ordered the Utilities Commission to reopen the rate case and evaluate the impact on consumers to determine an appropriate rate.
UNC: Carol Folt, provost and interim president at Dartmouth College, was named Friday as the 11th chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – and its first female leader. The UNC Board of Governors voted unanimously after UNC President Tom Ross recommended Folt as someone who could ensure continued academic success at the nation's oldest public university.
FRACKING: The state Mining and Energy Commission will look at how the state's open record laws apply to chemical mixtures that oil and gas companies consider trade secrets, the head of the commission said Friday, reports the Fayetteville Observer.
TOWN OF 420: Political opponents of the mayor of Ronda wired his 18-year-old houseguest with a camera and secretly videotaped the mayor’s wife smoking marijuana in their home while the mayor was there, reports the Winston-Salem Journal.
SPEAKING OF POT: Democrats in the state House want to downgrade the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a civil infraction similar to a traffic ticket, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times.
RJA: A bill sailing through the General Assembly aims to annul claims filed under a landmark 2009 law known as the Racial Justice Act, a politically partisan measure that essentially put a halt to executions. But scholars say passage would lead to even longer delays by opening the door for defendants to challenge the constitutionality of eliminating a right retroactively, reports the Wilmington Star-News.