Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, April 23. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
VOTER ID: The House Appropriations Committee meets at 8:30 a.m. to take up the bill that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls. This is the last stop for the measure in committee. House leaders expect it to be debated on the floor Wednesday.
FLOOR SESSIONS: The House and Senate are scheduled to hold their floor sessions at 2 p.m. today. The Senate will continue debating a bill that would exempt several local governments from the requirement that they advertise public meetings in the newspaper. The measure received tentative approval Monday night.
FISCAL OUTLOOK: The House and Senate Finance Committees will meet at 8:30 a.m. to hear from Barry Boardman, an economist who works for the legislature's Fiscal Research Division. According to slides from his presentation, which is already online, the state's economy is slowly gaining strength. From the presentation:
• General Fund revenue through three quarters of the fiscal year is $110 million above a $14.3 billion revenue target.
• The State’s economy has steadily been gaining strength. We anticipate the pace of economic growth to stay on a steady, upward trend.
• Federal sequestration policies may put the pace of growth at risk and as the effects begin to take hold this summer.
• Unlike the last several years, an “April surprise” is more likely especially given the added volatility from the new $50k business exemption and taxpayers’ reactions to federal tax changes.
COMMITTEES: Check the main @NCCapitol page for a full list of committee meetings. Among the highlights:
Senate Program Evaluation (Noon | 1124 LB): The committee will discuss but not vote on a bill that requires more stringent legal reviews of state contracts. Such a measure has been recommended by both the legislature's Program Evaluation Division and Office of the State Auditor.
House Education (10 a.m. | 643 LOB): Among the six bills on the committee's calendar is on that would require schools to stock epinephrine pens to treat allergic reactions.
House Transportation (noon | 643 LB): The committee will look at a bill allowing those with very poor vision who use bioptic lenses to obtain driver's licenses. The requirement, which would allow people with vision a poor as 20/200 to drive, would be similar to requirement already in place in Virginia.
Senate OKs Wake school board redistricting WAKE REDISTRICTING: Wake County's school board districts will be reshuffled into a new system starting in 2016 under a bill the state Senate approved Monday night. The measure, which passed 33-17, would change school board elections from odd-numbered years when city councils are elected to the primaries of even-numbered years, when partisan candidates for the General Assembly and Congress are chosen.
MORE STORIES: Other stories we were following Monday included:
DRUG TESTING: Applicants the welfare program known as WorkFirst would need to pass a drug test before enrolling in the program under a bill that passed the state Senate Monday night. The measure, which passed 35-15, now goes to the House.
MOVIES: A bill backed by Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, would change a tax credit North Carolina provides to film and television production companies by insisting that they make money in the state before getting any credits. Films, television shows and commercials that spend more than $250,000 in North Carolina are eligible for a tax credit worth 25 percent of what they spend in the state, up to a maximum of $20 million.
TECHNOLOGY: A report out Monday from the State Auditor's Office says North Carolina information technology projects are costing the state more than budgeted and coming in later than scheduled.
UNPOPULAR BILLS: Two recent polls by Public Policy Polling and Elon University offer very similar findings: Gov. Pat McCrory is still relatively popular with North Carolinians, but his fellow Republicans at the General Assembly, and some of their more attention-grabbing legislative proposals, are not. Pollsters say a spate of high-profile unpopular bills is affecting the legislature's approval.
NAACP: One of North Carolina's top civil rights leaders urged residents on Monday to organize non-violent protests to bring attention to what he considers a Republican crusade against poor and minority residents.
PANTHERS: "After seven months of negotiating, the Charlotte City Council voted 10-0 Monday to approve giving the Carolina Panthers $87.5 million to help renovate Bank of America Stadium in exchange for a six-year “hard tether” to keep the team in Charlotte," reports the Charlotte Observer.