Good morning, and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Wednesday, Feb. 20. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.
BREAKING: The head of the State Capitol Police and a sergeant under his command have been fired following an internal investigation into secondary employment, a source told WRAL News Tuesday.
FIRST UP: The House Finance Committee will take up a bill repealing North Carolina's estate tax at 8:30 a.m. today. WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
At the same time, the full Senate appropriations committee takes up the group home fix passed by the House weeks ago, which has been sitting idle ever since.
SENATE: The Senate will come in at 9:30 a.m. for a skeleton session and recess until 2 p.m., when the chamber is due to take up legislation in earnest. Currently there are only two low-profile bills on the floor calendar.
The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 19) HOUSE: The House is scheduled to convene at 2 p.m. today. The major bill on its calendar is a measure that that will increase penalties for those convicted in connection with methamphetamine production. The measure makes it a felony for someone to possess a product with pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient found in cold medicines, if the person has a prior conviction for making meth. Also, there will likely be more debate on a technical tax bill that does not extend the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is used by low income working families.
WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker sum up Tuesday's session and look ahead to Wednesday's legislative action in Tuesday's version of The Wrap @NCCapitol.
MORE FROM TUESDAY:
- A second Senate committee took up a bill that would remove some of the roadblocks keeping natural gas drilling from going forward in 2015.
- The House Health Committee delayed voting on a bill that would ban those under 18-years-old from using tanning beds after objections from an industry trade group.
- A Court of Appeals panel found a school district can sue the state over fines collected but not turned over to educators.
- Gov Pat McCrory signed the bill remaking North Carolina's unemployment system into law. The signing fulfills a key campaign promise the Republican made on the campaign trail.
- The State Fairgrounds in Raleigh have adopted new rules for gun shows following an accidental shooting earlier this year.
- An audit report found that the N.C. Industrial Commission was not able to catch employers who did not pay workers compensation premiums.
COMMITTEES TODAY: For a full listing of committees at the legislature today, see the @NCCapitol home page. Among the highlights:
- House Rules will consider both H34, which clarifies that it is a crime for women to go topless in public, and H84, a bill that would legalize medical cannabis. (1 p.m. - Room 1228) WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
- Senate Rules will consider the measure affectionately known as the Possum Drop bill. (11 a.m. - Room 1027) WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
- House Judiciary C will consider Kilah's Law, which increases penalties for child abuse. (10:00am - Room 415 LOB)
- House Education hears presentation from June Atkinson on "Founding Principles Act," a bill meant to make sure students know more about the Federalist Papers an other early American though. (10am - Room 544 LOB)
MCCRORY: Gov. Pat McCrory's public schedule includes breakfast with legislators and a "closed press" event at a North Carolina Hospital Association meeting, where he's due to present the Governor's Award of Performance Excellence in Healthcare."
His office confirmed to WRAL.com that McCrory visited with the family of a trooper who was shot on Monday night, shortly after the governor gave his State of the State address. McCrory plans to visit with the trooper again.
News from elsewhere:
- Wilmington Star News: "State Sen. Thom Goolsby filed two bills Tuesday that would create a new class of midwives, drastically increasing the number practicing in the state, a move that some experts say is needed."
- Stateline: "Now some state officials and environmental groups are pushing the industry to tackle another threat to public health: climate change. They want insurers to crank up the volume on their longstanding calls for stricter building and land use rules in disaster-prone areas. But they also want them to go further by pushing for cuts in carbon emissions, which scientists say are causing warmer, more extreme weather by trapping heat in the atmosphere."