Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, July 1. Here's what's going on at the General Assembly and around state government.
NOPE, NOPE, NOPE: Senate leaders disposed of a House effort to break the budget stalemate without a vote Monday night. The chamber allowed Senate Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, to return Senate Bill 3, what many have called the "mini-budget," to the House "for further consideration" without a vote.
The mini-budget was an effort by the House and Gov. Pat McCrory to push through teacher raises and other key budget items without coming to an agreement on the full spending plan. Senate budget writers pointed to projections that they said showed the measure violated requirements that the state budget be balanced. They also pointed to a letter from the State Treasurer's Office that raised concerns about the bill's lack of funding for pension payments.
Berger says no budget deal possible without agreement on Medicaid Asked if using the rarely used parliamentary motion to slap back the bill sent a message to the House, Apodaca said, "I hope so."
Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger expressed frustration with work on the overall budget and predicted a long, hot month of budget negotiations. "Even under the best of circumstances, we're looking at being here through most of July," he said.
In particular, Berger said the House does not deal realistically with Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Senators say the House and McCrory have been too optimistic in their budget projections. McCrory and House leaders say the Senate is setting aside too much in Medicaid, to the detriment of other programs.
Tuesday is the first day of the new fiscal year. However, North Carolina does not face a government shutdown because the state passed a two-year budget in 2013. However, that budget does not provide for what Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis and McCrory say are key priorities this year, including teacher raises and work toward Medicaid reform.
TODAY'S SCHEDULE: The General Assembly publishes full legislative schedule online daily. Here's what @NCCapitol will be keeping an eye on:
NOTED: The House and Senate committee calendars are relatively sparse the week. That's typical of the end of session as legislative leaders try to stem the flow of new bills they are considering and give conference committees time to work out differences between the House and Senate on key items such as the budget.
COUNCIL OF STATE (9 a.m. | ABC Commission Room, Administration Bldg.): McCrory and the state's nine other statewide elected leaders meet to consider land sales and other ministerial matters. Although the meeting topics itself are often run of the mill, members of the council often take the opportunity to air problems or triumphs in public.
SALES TAX NEWS CONFERENCE (9 a.m. | News Conference Room): Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, hosts a news conference to unveil poll results showing that North Carolinians don't believe the state should collect sales tax for out-of-state firms.
DEMS NEWS CONFERENCE (10 a.m. | News Conference Room): House and Senate Democrats hold a news conference to hold forth on the ongoing budget stalemate.
HOUSE ENVIRONMENT (11 a.m. | 643 LOB): The committee will take up the Senate coal ash bill "for discussion only."
HOUSE FLOOR (2 p.m. | House Chambers): The chamber is expected to hear measures honoring Maya Angelou and the State Highway Patrol. A measure that would allow police and prosecutors to withhold their names from online public records is on the calendar, but it has bounced around several times as it has faced questions about costs to local governments.
SENATE FLOOR (2 p.m. | Senate Chambers): Senators have been regularly shuffling items on and off their calendar, making floor sessions hard to predict. However, measures on the floor calender as of 6 a.m. include an omnibus traffic bill that would clear the way for ramp meters on local highways, a military land protection measure that would ban tall buildings near bases and a measure to withhold workers compensation from those who obtain work with false papers.
REMOTE TESTIMONY: House lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a measure that would allow State Crime Lab analysts to testify via videoconferencing, but the bill includes no money to pay for the technology. Senate Bill 594 is a criminal justice omnibus that contains more than a dozen provisions making changes in areas from illegally carried concealed weapons to graffiti. It also moves the State Bureau of Investigation from under the Attorney General's Office to the Department of Public Safety – although, unlike a similar Senate provision, the House version leaves the State Crime Lab under the attorney general. The "remote testimony" provision is a response to a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, the court ruled that allowing a prosecutor to submit an analyst's report without making the analyst available for testimony violated the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront his accuser.
CHARTERS: The names of charter school teachers and their salaries should remain a public record, McCrory and senior members of the Senate said Monday. Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, said he expected to "fix" the bill before lawmakers send it to the governor, who threatened to veto the measure if it came to him with the exemption language. Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run. Under state law, they are public schools and subject to many of the same laws that govern traditional public schools run by county systems. The bill in question makes a number of changes to the state's charter school laws, including several designed to speed the approval of new charters, and includes language instructing charters not to discriminate in admissions based on race, gender or sexual preference. Senators voted to reject House changes to the bill and sent the measure to a conference committee Monday night.
MEDICINE: House lawmakers backed off a proposal Monday night that would have required UNC Hospitals to set aside 25 percent of clinical rotation spots for students from the state’s other allopathic and osteopathic medical schools.
DIX DEADLINE: There is no deal yet over the future of the Dorothea Dix property near downtown Raleigh. "We're still talking and making headway," Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said Monday.
COMPLAINT: A second North Carolina regulatory panel has rejected allegations by the Democratic challenger of state Rep. Tim Moffitt that the Republican offered him a state job in exchange for pulling out of their election this fall.