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Today @NCCapitol (April 8): McCrory to announce economic development policy

Posted April 8, 2013

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, April 8. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.

COMMERCE: Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to announce a major shift in how the state will recruit new employers and retain existing businesses at an event in Burlington today. The Republican governor has been hinting at public appearances over the past month that a major reorganization of the department and its philosophy is coming. 

“We cannot live off of a brand that needs updating and major revamping to not only compete with our neighbors but compete with the rest of the world," McCrory said during his State of the State speech.

In a recent interview, Commerce Sec. Sharon Decker told WRAL that plans for the Commerce Department include public-private partnerships. With the exception of the Division of Employment Security, which handles payments for federal workers, every function under Commerce's supervision in being reviewed for some private component she said.

"I would tell you that our primary focus right now is on the sales and marketing aspect of Commerce, but not exclusively on that," Decker said. That would include the parts of the Commerce Department that control how state incentives are given out to companies. 

Roughly a dozen divisions and programs make up the Commerce Department. Some are tiny in government terms, such as the effort to promote North Carolina's wine industry, while others are sprawling programs, such as the state's job recruitment efforts.

McCrory is scheduled to make his "Major Commerce/Economic Development Policy Announcement" at 2 p.m. at Copland Fabrics in Burlington. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: There are no legislative committee meetings scheduled for today.

Wake Delegation: Wake County lawmakers will hold their second of two public comment hearings from 4 to 6 this afternoon in room 643 of the Legislative Office Bldg.. Hundreds attended the first meeting two weeks ago. The Dix Park deal will likely remain the most prominent topic, but speakers can weigh in on any issue before the General Assembly. WRAL.com will carry this meeting live.  

In the Senate lawmakers have two bills on their calendar, including one that would increase the penalties for cars that changes lanes abruptly causing injuries or property damage to motorcyclists. That measure had been up for a vote last week but was move to Monday night's calendar. Session begins at 7 p.m. 

In the House session begins at 7 p.m. but lawmakers won't work past 7:45 p.m. Speaker Thom Tillis said last week. The chambers has a dozen bills on its calendar, including one directing the school system to set up policies to ensure children who are deaf and hard of hearing get extra help. 

DEMOCRATS: Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller will hold his weekly news conference at 2:30 p.m. at the party's headquarters in Raleigh. Voller, along with Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, will focus on bills such as a measure to require voter ID, calling them part of a Republican "war on voting rights." 

FROM THE WEEKEND: 

Inspections: Instead of receiving bonus points on their inspection grades for taking a food safety class, North Carolina restaurants will be docked points, starting next year, if they don't have managers with the necessary training. Local health directors say a Senate bill that seeks to ease those requirements could compromise the safety inspections, but supporters of the legislation argue it's simply a misunderstanding.

Voter ID: Some legal experts say charging people for photo identification cards in order to vote in North Carolina might violate the state constitution. House Republican leaders unveiled their proposal Thursday for a voter ID law, and they plan to hold a public hearing on the legislation next Wednesday before beginning debate on it. House Bill 589 would be one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country. Unlike other states, those who need IDs would be expected to pay for them if they can.

Taxes:  Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory brimmed with optimism early this year about prospects for passing a North Carolina tax code overhaul that most agree has been needed for decades. Still, they didn't predict smooth sailing. As the first detailed proposals get scrutinized in the Senate, similar obstacles with past efforts are surfacing. Fiscal advocacy groups say proposals either hurt the poor or don't go far enough for job growth. Trade and government associations are criticizing the fine print.

WORTH THE READ: 

Greensboro News & RecordThis may prove a watershed year for education in North Carolina, with the state’s Republican legislative majority rolling out bills that could bring comprehensive reform.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, is pushing to eliminate tenure for K-12 teachers. The bill could set the stage for an overhaul in the way the state pays its teachers. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis promises his own education reform package, with state Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, leading the working group. That bill will be “more comprehensive” than Berger’s bill, Brandon said.

It remains to be seen whether it will incorporate Berger’s proposals and whether the two chambers — and the governor — can reach an agreement.

Charlotte ObserverNorth Carolina lawmakers are considering barring sheriffs from requesting the mental health records of applicants for concealed gun permits. But an examination of dozens of cases shows that officials in Mecklenburg rely on those records to judge how safe it is to grant someone a permit.

Access to the records have allowed Mecklenburg residents who were denied gun permits for mental health reasons to win permits when they appealed to the chief District Court judge.

Fayetteville ObserverState Treasurer Janet Cowell says the Republican-led General Assembly should consider spending more money on the state's growing infrastructure needs, such as roads, utilities and the university system.

StatelineNewly freed prisoners traditionally walk away from the penitentiary with a bus ticket and a few dollars in their pockets. Starting in January, many of the 650,000 inmates released from prison each year will be eligible for something else: health care by way of Medicaid, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

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  • Bartmeister Apr 8, 5:22 p.m.

    One last thought. In November while leaving the house one morning my neighbor mentioned her husband was so disgusted he wasn't going to vote. Had I taken that info to heart and voted in his place it would have never been caught, agree? Theoretically I could have cast 2 votes any way I wanted. Granted I would have to have info that someone wasn't actually going to use their vote to make that possible. What if that happened 10 times in every county in NC? A thousand votes, correct? Times 50 states = 50K votes cast. What was the margin in Florida between Bush and Gore? Now I don't know if that's even possible, I'm not a conspiracy theorist by any stretch, but you can't say it doesn't happen. And if it happens, the amount is secondary to the act. Does $10M mean nothing to me? Heck yeah it does, but there has to be an improvement to the system and it isn't gonna be free. Again we agree to disagree, and that's fine by me.

  • Bartmeister Apr 8, 5:07 p.m.

    How would the "electronic age" have any bearing on in-person voting fraud?

    The reproduction of fake ID's and rouge registration through fake bank account records or utility records that are commonly used as a substitute now, a separate issue I know but one that is real.

    =======================================================

    The voting age, everywhere in the US, is 18, per the 26th amendment to the constitution.

    How is that being proved and enforced now without ID?

  • junkmail5 Apr 8, 4:35 p.m.

    Where did you come up with $10M?- Bartmeister

    that's the # WPR was using.

    Realistically, we know about 500-600 thousand lack ID based on comparing DMV records to voter registration records, at $10 each, which is the commonly mentioned price, that's 5-6 million plus whatever extra costs for retraining vote workers to check em, etc... so 10 million probably isn't that far off.

    With the electronic age advancing faster and faster, more fraudulent possibilities exist.- Bartmeister

    That doesn't even make sense.

    How would the "electronic age" have any bearing on in-person voting fraud?

    Nobody does it because it's not worth a felony to cast one extra vote in person. This is in contrast to the reward possible in counter-fitting large amounts of cash.

    how old do you need to be in NC to vote?
    Bartmeister

    The voting age, everywhere in the US, is 18, per the 26th amendment to the constitution.

  • Bartmeister Apr 8, 4:27 p.m.

    But because there COULD be one in the future, for which there is NO evidence there will be, you wanna waste 10 million dollars? That's insane. junkmail5

    =============================================

    Where did you come up with $10M? And I think it's the responsibility of the lawmakers to identify potential problems and safe guard against them. With the electronic age advancing faster and faster, more fraudulent possibilities exist. Why did the US Treasury change up the $5, 10, and 20 dollar bill design several years ago? Because there was a possible threat of the current design being counterfeited easier, so they made it harder. They saw a potential and were proactive. Will voter ID stop ALL possible threats? Nope. Will it stop some? Yep. I hope it cost $10M, but think it's gonna be more. By the way, how old do you need to be in NC to vote?

  • junkmail5 Apr 8, 4:12 p.m.

    How about to prevent it in the future. You say there's no problem now? Swell. Then let's make sure it doesn't start.- Bartmeister

    So...we have no problem in over 200 years of the current system.

    There's no evidence there's any problem at all.

    But because there COULD be one in the future, for which there is NO evidence there will be, you wanna waste 10 million dollars?

    That's insane.

  • Bartmeister Apr 8, 3:53 p.m.

    if not for fraud, then WHY do we "have to do it" junkmail5

    =======================================

    How about to prevent it in the future. You say there's no problem now? Swell. Then let's make sure it doesn't start. Cause you know ACORN has caught wind of this and you never know what they could be doing behind closed doors...............Why, I'll bet they are planning a conspiracy right now to launch a campaign to fraudulently duplicate.no wait triple the amount of women voters with multiple, no wait..dozens of false identities to vote for Hillary in 2016. Yeah, that's it. And they're gonna use those Black Helicopters WooHoo spoke about earlier. Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!! By the way, how old do you need to be to vote in NC?

  • junkmail5 Apr 8, 3:23 p.m.

    The fact of the matter is that as a country/state we are at a point in time in which we have to do it.- WolfpackReader

    if not for fraud, then WHY do we "have to do it"

    If your answer is "because ignorant people incorrectly imagine it's needed" then the answer would be to educate those people that it's an imaginary problem.

    Not spend 10 million to pretend we're fixing their imaginary problem.

    That'd be like someone who imagines there's bugs crawling all over them, and rather than get them mental help, you offer to spend their money on mosquito netting.

  • Bartmeister Apr 8, 3:18 p.m.

    I will agree with a previous comment that absentee ballot fraud needs to be addressed soon rather than later. You can't repair some of the issue and call it fixed. All of it needs to be addressed.

  • Bartmeister Apr 8, 3:09 p.m.

    So, I will leave you with this..................... It's an absolute right and I think a precious privilege to be able to get up every morning and be able to express opinions back and forth, and then be able to be in control of our future by means of voting, however small it may seem at times. I think you ought to be able to prove your identity when you vote, purchase alcohol, give blood, make a legal transaction, drive a motorized vehicle, purchase a gun or ammo, cash a check, take out a loan, apply for obamacare benefits just to mention a few. We will disagree on this and thats ok with me.

  • WolfpackReader Apr 8, 3:05 p.m.

    So you want to waste 10 million dollars to make people feel better about fixing an imaginary problem? - Junkmail

    Again, you have misinterpreted my statement. I do not want to spend/waste any money on keeping the integrity of voting intact. The fact of the matter is that as a country/state we are at a point in time in which we have to do it. Again, voter fraud has no part in my stance on this issue. Please refrain in bring up voter fraud when discussing my comments. Have a blessed day!

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