Today @NCCapitol (April 24): Voter ID bill on the House floor today
Posted April 24, 2013
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: When the state House meets at 2 p.m. today, the bill that would require all voters to show photo ID at the polls will be the only substantive item on its calendar. House leaders are prepared for hours of debate on the measure.
Republicans and Democrats have battled over the measure for weeks, as the measure made its way through committee. Among the points of debate is how much it may cost to implement the measure. The House Appropriations Committee approved the bill 58-29 Tuesday, after adding Cherokee tribal ID to the list of photo identifications acceptable under the bill.
The day before the vote, advocates on the political left and right assailed the measure.
"Why is NC’s Republican-controlled Legislature ignoring credible evidence of voter fraud as they craft a law that will be incapable of stopping cases like those presented at their own hearings?" Jay DeLancy, director of the Voter Integrity Project, wrote in an email to reporters. VIP has been advocating for more stringent voter ID laws, but say the current bill is insufficient.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the NAACP has lobbied against the measure, calling it a modern-day version of the poll tax.
"All objective observers say their plans, which include reducing early voting, banning Sunday voting, ending same day registration, and requiring a photo ID, are a clear attack on students, minorities and the elderly," North Carolina NAACP President William Barber said in a written statement.
The Insider, a news service widely read by lobbyists and politicians, notes that two Democrats – Reps. William Brisson, D-Bladen, and Ken Goodman, D-Richmond County – voted for the measure in the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. A third Democrat, Rep. Paul Tine, D-Dare, also told publication he would vote for the bill.
Worth noting: "With little hope for a federal fix to widespread elections administration problems, nearly half the states are pressing ahead with measures to ease voting access and counteract more restrictive measures passed recently," reports Stateline.
WRAL.com will carry the House session live. Please check the Video Central box on our home page.
HAHN: Jamie Kirk Hahn, 29, an active and well respected Democratic fundraiser in Wake County, has died from wounds she received in a stabbing earlier this week. Her Husband, Nation Richard Hahn, 27, was treated and later released Monday night. Jonathan Wayne Broyhill, 31, a friend and coworker of the Hahns, has been charged in connection to the crime. A statement issued by the Hahn and Kirk families reads as follows:
Jamie lost her struggle to live this morning. We lost a beautiful and loving wife, daughter and friend. We all lost a pure and brave spirit.
Over the last two days we were inspired by how the community rallied around her. It is our fervent hope that an even larger community will be inspired now by the way she lived her life.
She dedicated her life and her work to the ideal that we were put on this earth to care for those who need an extra measure of care. She believed in justice, opportunity and fairness for all. She loved politics and she saw the Democratic Party as the path to realize her ideals.
She had a gift for bringing us together—black and white, young and old, gay and straight. She challenged us to work together for a better world.
Her light will shine on in all of us who knew and loved her.
LATINO GROUPS: Representatives of more than 70 grassroots immigrant organizations will be holding a lobby day at the General Assembly Wednesday. In a news release, the groups say they are interested in a bill that would extend driving privileges to some immigrants granted immunity from deportation under the federal DACA program.
The House Judiciary B Committee will discuss, but not vote on, this measure at 10 a.m. in room 421 of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), according to a committee schedule.
"We are troubled by other provisions of the bill as it has been introduced. It is important that Legislators hear from community members themselves about their worries and vision regarding this issue" said Mauricio Castro, an organizer with the NC Congress of Latino Organizations.
Worth noting: another bill, which would have made consular documents issued by the Mexican and other foreign governments illegal to use in North Carolina, was taken off the today's schedule for another Judiciary Committee.
SENATE FLOOR: The Senate meets at 2 p.m. Among the bills on its calendar is a measure that would limit cities' ability to control home appearance and design. The N.C. League of Municipalities opposes the measure, which is backed by the N.C. Home Builders Association.
MCCRROY: Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to speak to the National Federation of Independent Businesses Small Business Days event at the downtown Marriott at 11:30 a.m. At 4:30 p.m., McCrory will sign Kilah's Law at the Capitol Building.
COMMITTEES: For a full list of committees, please see the main @NCCapitol page. Among the highlights:
House Appropriations Education Subcommittee (8:30 a.m. | 421 LOB): The committee will take up a bipartisan education reform bill.
House Judiciary A (10 a.m. | 1228 LB): The committee will take up what its chairman has described as an "omnibus" firearms bill.
Senate Insurance (10 a.m. | 1027 LB): The committee takes up a bill to deny Blue Cross "most favored nation" contracts, and will discuss a proposal to rewrite property insurance rate-setting laws.
House Rules (11 a.m. | 643 LOB): The committee takes up a measure to name an official state amphibian, marsupial and folk artist. WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Please check the Video Central box on our home page.
House Public Utilities (Noon | 643 LOB): The House Utilities Committee takes up a bill that would freeze and repeal the state's renewable energy standards. The measure would roll back requirements that energy companies obtain a certain percent of their power from renewable resources. The measure has encountered skepticism from top GOP leaders, but appears to be back on track after stalling in the House.
Three weeks ago, the measure barely cleared at House Commerce Subcommittee, but was due to be taken up next in House Environment Committee. However, earlier this week, the measure was reassigned to the Public Utilities Committee. The measure's sponsor, Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, is chairman of the committee.
“The problem with the bill is that it is simply wrong on the merits,” said Betsy McCorkle, Director of Government Affairs for the NC Sustainable Energy Association. “Late game procedural maneuvers can’t cure that fundamental flaw.” WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Please check the Video Central box on our home page.
Senate Finance (1 p.m. | 544 LOB): The committee takes up a bill shifting control of the Asheville's water system from the city to a regional authority.
MORE STORIES: Other stories we were following Tuesday include:
DRUG TESTING: Even though a bill calling for some welfare applicants to pass a drug test before receiving benefits still has to go through the House, advocates for the poor are already gearing up to challenge the idea in court. The measure, which passed the Senate Monday night, would require those seeking Work First benefits to pay for the drug tests. If the tests are negative, applicants would be reimbursed for the tests; if they test positive, they would be ineligible for benefits.
NOTICE: Local governments in 10 counties will be able to bypass requirements that they advertise public meetings in a local newspaper under a bill the state Senate approved Tuesday. "If you're going to believe everything that's in the newspaper, you're going to be ill-informed," said Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon.
INDICTMENT: A Wake County grand jury has charged a supporter of former Gov. Beverly Perdue in a scheme to pay a campaign staffer during her 2008 gubernatorial run. The grand jury recently asked District Attorney Colon Willoughby to investigate whether Charles Michael Fulenwider violated state campaign finance laws. Meeting again Monday, they determined there was enough evidence to issue an indictment.
SWEEPSTAKES: State elections officials are calling for an investigation of $235,000 in political donations to dozens of North Carolina candidates from an Oklahoma sweepstakes operator, contributions that they say may have violated state campaign finance laws. Gov. Pat McCrory, state House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger are among those who received the checks, many of them mailed from a Charlotte lobbying firm where McCrory worked until just before he took office.
ECONOMY: North Carolina's economy is improving slowly and steadily, the legislature's chief economist said Tuesday, but April revenue figures that are needed to prepare the two-year state budget are more uncertain than in past years due to federal and state tax changes. State government revenues through March, or three-quarters of the fiscal year, are $110 million above the targeted amount needed to carry out the current year's $20.2 billion budget, according to a presentation for House and Senate finance committee members. Income tax collections are 1.5 percent ahead of expectations, while tax collections are below the target by a nearly identical percentage, the report from economist Barry Boardman said.
NIPPLES: The Asheville Citizen Times reports "The nipple bill still has life, according to its primary sponsor." Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, told the paper that he planned to push the measure clarifying the state's indecent exposure law through the House before a key legislative deadline in May.
VOUCHERS: The News & Record reports: "State lawmakers have turned to a key demographic in the state — black families — to build support for legislation that would help more students attend private schools. Several state representatives, including House Speaker Thom Tillis, spoke to a crowd of more than 2,400 people Tuesday at an advocacy event at the Greensboro Coliseum. The parents, educators and community leaders came from as far away as Asheville and the Outer Banks to hear from school choice supporters, including Grammy-nominated gospel artist Marvin Sapp."