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Today @NCCapitol (Feb. 19): Signing the unemployment bill, fracking bill moving

Posted February 19, 2013

— Good morning, and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, Feb. 19. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.

SIGNING: Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday he would sign the bill remaking the state's unemployment insurance system this morning. That is on his schedule for 9:15 a.m. but will not be a public ceremony. 

FRACKING: The bill that would allow North Carolina to begin issuing permits for on-shore natural gas drilling, aka fracking, is in the Senate Commerce Committee at 11 a.m. this morning. The measure passed the Finance Committee last week and appears to be on a fast-track through the state Senate. WRAL.com will carry the meeting live online. Check the Video Central box on our home page.  

MEDICAID: The bill that blocked Medicaid expansion and prevents state agencies from working on the health exchanges created by the federal Affordable Care Act is still on the full Senate calendar. Senators will decide whether to approve the version of their bill sent back by the House, in which case it would go to McCrory, or to reject the changes an move the measure to a conference committee. WRAL.com will carry the meeting live online. Check the Video Central box on our home page. WRAL.com will carry the 2 p.m. meeting live online. Check the Video Central box on our home page. Related: "Health professionals gathered in front of the nonprofit Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine community clinic on Eugene Street on Monday, urging Gov. Pat McCrory to expand Medicaid, reports the News & Record of Greensboro.

TAXES: House lawmakers will take up what is usually a fairly technical bill dealing with provisions that help North Carolina's tax code sync up with federal tax law. But Democrats are using the measure to criticize Republicans for not extending the Earned Income Tax Credit, a rebate that goes to poor, working families. Members began debating the measure last week, but debate was cut off and held until today.

More on today's legislative agenda is below. 

Monday wrap: State of the State The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 18) WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Adam Owens set up the coming day and review McCrory's State of the State speech in Monday night's version of The Wrap @NCCapitol.

DISCLOSURES: In a story launched Monday, WRAL.com takes a look at ethics disclosures filed by lawmakers and what they do and don't tell the public.

UPDATED: The WRAL gubernatorial promise tracker and legislative issue tracker have been updated to reflect Monday's bill signing and other legislative action.

STATE OF THE STATE: Gov Pat McCrory delivered his first State of the State address Monday night. In the roughly 45 minute speech, McCrory said his focus as governor would be on the economy, education and improving government efficiency. That said, he touched on a number of other topics, including a request to revive the state's drug treatment courts, programs that his GOP allies had cut during the 2011 legislative session. 

McCrory State of the State address McCrory delivers State of the State address

McCrory also called for lawmakers to move ahead with tax reform. In details he sketched out Monday night, McCrory said that North Carolina should lower its corporate and personal income tax rates but raise the same amount of money that it does now. The state, he said, should close loopholes in its tax code. McCrory did mention sales taxes on services but was not specific whether he believe a rise in the state sales tax or a broadening of the sales tax base would be needed as part of tax reform. 

Much of the speech was familiar, touching on themes of broken government and pledges to make state agencies more customer friendly. New items included a proposal to shift the use of lottery marketing dollars to school technology. After the speech, as expected, Republican lawmakers warmly embraced McCrory's sentiments while Democrats blasted him as light on specifics

AD LIB: There were several reports that McCrory was going to wing his speech Monday, using only a outline. For what it's worth, the governor appeared to have detailed notes and/or a script to which he referred frequently throughout the speech. 

EDUCATION: Monday was a big day for McCrory. He signed his first bill as governor. The measure will change the state's high school diplomas to mark students as ready for career, college or both. 

COMMITTEES TODAY: For a full schedule of committees, check the main @NCCapitol page. Committees of note include: 

  • The House Health Committee will take up a proposal to ban teens from using tanning beds. The same committee also has a bill increasing penalties for methamphetamine related offenses on its calendar. (11 a.m.)
  • Students from historically black colleges and universities will hold a news conference to ask lawmakers to help control tuition increases. (noon). 
  • The Senate Judiciary II Committee will take up a bill revoking licenses of those drivers who pass stopped school buses. (4 p.m.) 

OUT OF CONTROL SPENDING: A state Department of Transportation agency failed to seek competitive bids when it gave out contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Raleigh consultant, and an investigation found other irregularities in the spending of federal grants worth millions of dollars," reports the N&O. 

THORP: Holden Thorp, who is stepping down as chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June, is taking a job as provost at Washington University in St. Louis, Thorp told UNC students, faculty and staff in an email Monday," reports WRAL's Renee Chou.

14 Comments

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  • peterpepper Feb 20, 10:04 a.m.

    NC Red Shirt, I searched for the most recent one there.
    How OLD is Yodas and can YOU find one more recent?
    If so, post the link here.

  • Spock Feb 19, 8:35 p.m.

    peterpepper.... a survey that is over six months old - you should be ashamed of yourself!

  • peterpepper Feb 19, 12:42 p.m.

    Per PPP and the polling, site below:

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/07/mccrory-hangs-onto-seven-point-lead.html

    I'm seeing 28% support, 41% opposed and 31% not sure.

  • hpr641 Feb 19, 10:58 a.m.

    If you enviro-whackos love $5-8 a gallon gas move to CA or IL. .... hear you, but soon you won't need to ... it's already $3.80 HERE. Gotta love that "summer-blend" the refineries are legally required to have fully in place soon.

    Question for Lefties/Dems.: You agree that high cigarette tax rates decrease the number of people that smoke. So, why do you not agree that high tax rates on businesses and wealthy individuals reduces the amount they invest?

  • Bendal1 Feb 19, 10:51 a.m.

    The legislature has already said the commission "regulating" fracking is overwhelmingly made up of pro-fracking industry experts; only one seat on the commission is from the environmental side. So what did you expect from this legislature? Their masters (corporations) have told them this was important, so it gets fast-tracked.

    Oh and don't think it's going to 'create jobs'. The industry will bring jobs "to" NC, but no one in the state will get them. They will bring in their own teams and do their own work, so no one will be tempted to "out" them on what their fracking fluid really has in it, and they can argue "hey, that's not our fluid in your drinking water!".

    NC has been bought and paid for by the big corporations, and we're just seeing the start of it.

  • The Yoda Feb 19, 10:14 a.m.

    It is a matter of water quality. Do you want to pay $5-8 per gallon of WATER?

    http://raleigh.citysearch.com/profile/6147023/cary_nc/aqua_north_carolina_inc.html

    says xylem01

    What does this blog site have to do with fracking?

  • The Yoda Feb 19, 10:08 a.m.

    It just goes to show that no matter what the majority of the citizens want, they'll do as they please for that dollar. Even if it means harm for their kids and grandkids for generations.
    says Rebelyell55

    According to the leftist polling firm, PPP only 27 percent of NC residents oppose fracking. Hoping that you tell a lie long enough won't always make it so Rebel!

  • xylem01 Feb 19, 10:06 a.m.

    Yoda, this fracking has nothing to do with air quality. It is a matter of water quality. Do you want to pay $5-8 per gallon of WATER?

    http://raleigh.citysearch.com/profile/6147023/cary_nc/aqua_north_carolina_inc.html

  • Rebelyell55 Feb 19, 9:34 a.m.

    Was afraid they would fast track the fracking bill, kinda knew it was coming when the Rep. got control. It just goes to show that no matter what the majority of the citizens want, they'll do as they please for that dollar. Even if it means harm for their kids and grandkids for generations.

  • The Yoda Feb 19, 9:34 a.m.

    If you enviro-whackos love $5-8 a gallon gas move to CA or IL. You drive your little electric econo-boxes on wheels and don't think about all the coal that is used to create that electricity. I guess you all strive to be like your fallen idol AlGore, who ripped you all off and took his toys and sold out to big oil?

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