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Today @NCCapitol (Feb. 27): Bill remaking boards and commissions in committee today

Posted February 27, 2013

— Good morning, and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Wednesday, Feb. 27. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.

FIRST UP: At 8:30 a.m., the House Finance Committee will hear HB 61, a bill that would require state agencies to keep closer tabs on government-owned vehicles. Wasteful spending on state vehicles has been a long standing problem for the state. WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Check the Video Central box on the home page. 

ON THE RADAR: At 10 a.m., the House Commerce Committee, will take up SB 10, the overhaul of state boards and commissions. We're told that a proposed committee substitute is in the works, which means the bill in committee today could look substantially different from when it left the Senate. WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Check the Video Central box on the home page.

SENATE: The Senate will meet at 2 p.m. The chamber is scheduled to hold a final vote on a bill that would open the state to fracking starting in 2015. Senate Bill 76, which also sets taxes to be collected from on-shore natural gas drilling, passed its second reading 38-10 on Tuesday. Although Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest initially called for a "third reading" vote on Tuesday, staffers quickly realized that voice vote was invalid. Because the fracking bill raises revenues, it is a roll call bill and must be voted on two separate days. 

The Senate also plans to take up a bill designed to protect military funerals from protesters and two different pieces of legislation related to workers compensation. One of those bills would ensure that workers compensation data the News & Observer used to compile its Ghost Workers series remains public. The other would call for better coordination among state agnenceis to ensure businesses pay their workers compensation claims. 

WRAL.com will carry the Senate session live. Check the Video Central box on the home page.

HOUSE: The House is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. The only bill on the chamber's calendar is a resolution honoring African American Revolutionary War heroes. 

The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 26) The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 26) WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker review Tuesday's action at the General Assembly, including conflicting signals from lawmakers on the lottery, in The Wrap @NCCapitol

INVESTIGATES: Less than a year after the state suspended a Raleigh business for questionable Medicaid billing, the WRAL Investigates team has learned that the business changed its name and continued operating undetected by the state

TRACKING: The 2013 N.C. General Assembly Issue Tracker has been updated with action from Tuesday.

GOVERNOR: Gov. Pat McCrory has no public meetings on his schedule for Wednesday. He said Tuesday that North Carolina would not feel the impact immediately if federal budget cuts known as "the sequester" go into effect at the end of this week. "We do not anticipate a major change between now and the end of our budget year," he said. "So, we do not see any potential layoffs between now and the end of the school year for teachers," McCrory told an audience at N.C. State. Earlier in the day, McCrory spoke to Fox News, decrying attacks by liberal groups against his administration. "I've only been in office six weeks, and they're already trying to brand me," the governor told Fox and Friends.

Gov. Pat McCrory Cuts to hit civilian defense workers in NC hardest GROUP HOME FIX: A bill to provide temporary funding for residents of mental health group homes and Alzheimer's special care units passed the House Tuesday and is on its way to McCrory for his signature.

MEDICAID EXPANSION: North Carolina will turn down federal funds to expand the state's Medicaid program under a bill passed by both the House and Senate Tuesday. The bill now goes to McCrory for his signature. 

Related: "The Obama administration said Monday that states could cut Medicaid payments to many doctors and other health care providers to hold down costs in the program, which insures 60 million low-income people and will soon cover many more under the new health care law," reports the New York Times. "The statement of federal policy infuriated health care providers and advocates for low-income people. But it may encourage wavering Republican governors to go along with the expansion because it gives them a tool to help control costs."

FILED: Bills of interest filed Tuesday include: 

FROM THE WIRE: Republicans who redrew boundaries for North Carolina legislative and congressional seats followed legal requirements and took partisanship into account while forming the maps, but race wasn't their overarching principle, attorneys defending the maps told judges Tuesday," reports the Associated Press.

ALSO TUESDAY: In other action Tuesday: 

APPOINTED: Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed Nancy H. Brown of Wake County to serve as chairwoman of the North Carolina Partnership for Children. According to a news release, "Brown served as head of the Child Day Care Section, a precursor to the Division of Child Development and Early Education. She currently serves on the North Carolina Partnership for Children Board and serves as Vice Chair of the Committee on Accountability."

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  • Wirklich Feb 27, 2013

    RadioDJ and Deep Thought, your comments are on target. I guess we will have to wait for the jobs to "trickle down" from the GOP's support of corporate welfare, tax breaks for the wealthiest,etc. GOP economic philosophy: Make it more difficult for the poor and cozier for the wealthiest= more more jobs? Yeah, right.

  • Deep Thought Feb 27, 2013

    JOBS, come on NC Legislature, say it with me, JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!!!!

  • country4ever Feb 27, 2013

    I certainly hope they eliminate the Board of Awards at the Division of Purchase and Contracts. What a waste of time!

  • hp277 Feb 27, 2013

    "A bill to allow local school districts to offer bible study as a high school elective."

    Wow - glad to see Republicans continue their laser-like focus on creating jobs.

  • tayled Feb 27, 2013

    So much for both parties trying to work together. More campaign rhetoric that does not translate into reality.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Feb 27, 2013

    SB 10. Let's get it done.

  • RadioDJ Feb 27, 2013

    Thus far this year, we've had HOW MANY bills dealing with "Job Creation"? None you say? And we've had HOW MANY bills dealing with "morality" and "social engineering" as well as those bowing to Corporate pressure to pay off those political debts incurred during campaigning? ALL of them you say?