Today @NCCapitol (April 22): Wake County school board districts up for debate tonight
Posted April 22, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, April 22. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
SENATE: The State Senate will take up a bill redrawing Wake County's school board districts when it meets at 7 p.m. tonight. The plan, which passed committee last week, creates seven individual districts and two regional districts – one serving rural areas of the county and the other drawn predominately in urban areas. Every voter would choose one member from an individual district and one from one of the two regional regional districts.
The new plan would not go into effect until 2016.
The measure is expected to be the subject of intense debate. Democrats point to this as the latest in a series of bills that meddles with local governments.
"I think it's important for parents to be able to vote for the school board member that represents their child's school," Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, said during this weekend's edition of On the Record. However, others have pointed out since there is no true at-large district, it is still possible that children will be going to schools represented by members whom their parents do not vote for.
On The Record: Redistricting debate heats up Another bill on the Senate calendar would require applicants of certain public benefits, including food stamps, to submit to drug testing before receiving public aid. However, Senate leaders said Thursday they were not certain that bill would be heard Monday night, given the likely long debate over the Wake County measure.
WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
HOUSE: The state House will meet at 7 p.m. Among the bills on its calendar would be one that would give greater right of way privileges to funeral processions and give funeral directors immunity for accidents that happen during such processions. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, who is a funeral director.
COMMITTEE: The Program Evaluation Committee will meet at 4 p.m. today. They will be reviewing a report by legislative auditors that examines whether centralizing fleet operations for the Department of Public Safety would save money.
MCCRORY: Gov. Pat McCrory has no public events on his schedule today.
THIS WEEK: Voter ID and firearms legislation will be on the legislative agenda this week.
VOTER ID: The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up a measure that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls on Tuesday morning. House Speaker Thom Tillis said he expected to measure to dominate debate on the House floor Wednesday and possibly Thursday.
GUNS: The House Judiciary A Committee is scheduled to take up a bill that will amend various firearm laws on Wednesday. As currently drafted, the measure would increase penalties for some gun crimes but expand rights for those who hold concealed handgun permits. Among on other changes, it would allow permit holders to carry firearms in to establishments that serve alcohol.
FURNITURE: Gov. Pat McCrory met with furniture industry executives over the weekend, telling them he would protect funding for the High Point Furniture Market. McCrory is quoted by the Lexington Dispatch as saying he never intended for a cut to the Furniture Market Authority's budget to make it into the draft budget he release last month. “I fell on my sword here today,” McCrory said Saturday afternoon at a press conference, the Dispatch reported.
WORTH THE READ: Other state government stories of note from this weekend include:
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Abortion-rights advocates and political observers say a series of measures in the North Carolina General Assembly adding new restrictions for the procedure could set up the first test of wills between the GOP majority in the legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
News & Observer: For years we heard conservatives say that the government closest to the people governs best. But they were talking about Washington. When it comes to Raleigh, the new Republican majority has not hesitated to use state power to advance their own agenda – even if it means disregarding local sentiment.
New York Times: Now that their lobbying blitz is behind them and the legislative debate is over in the Senate, the victims’ advocates are forging ahead with new tactics and plotting their next moves. They hope to revive the bill, while pushing for new state laws and campaigning against politicians opposed to gun control.
Asheville Citizen Times: Other bills that still have a long way to go include a voucher system to provide state money for a private school education and another measure that would drop class size limits for kindergarten-third grade. A bill banning annexations by all municipalities seems to have good prospects. “These bills that are coming out are even more more conservative than what I thought they’d be,” said Chris Cooper, a political scientist at Western Carolina University. “I think the legislature is taking things pretty far to the right, and Gov. McCrory is taking things pretty far to the right.”
Stateline: Yes, after a timeout for the recession, the National Football League is back in the game of getting public money to pay for better stadiums. In many cases, teams want to replace or renovate stadiums finished during a 1990s sports construction boom. “We had a real lull from the beginning of the Great Recession,” said Victor Matheson, an economics professor at Holy Cross who studies sports. “Just in the last year, however, we’ve seen the tide turn… We have a little bit of a backlog, so you’re seeing a bunch of stadiums on the table now.”
N.C. Health News: A bill requiring recipients of welfare benefits to submit to drug testing passed through committee last week and is scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor Monday night. The bill, Senate Bill 594, would mandate that recipients of Work First, North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, pay for a comprehensive drug-screening test at a cost of between $50 and $150. The county would reimburse the cost of the test if it comes back negative. Testing for alcohol would not be included in the screening.