Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Wednesday, July 10. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
FIRST UP: The House Finance Committee meets at 8:30 a.m. and will consider the bill that takes control of the Charlotte Douglas Airport away from the city and turns it over to a regional board. Lawmakers, the governor's office and city officials had been working on a compromise bill, but the Charlotte Observer reports this morning that those talks have fallen apart. WRAL.com will carry the Finance Committee live. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
NO DEALS: As of late Tuesday, lawmakers were saying that they did not have an agreement on either the pending tax reform bill or a state budget. Republicans continued to express some optimism that a tax agreement could emerge this week, although some have quietly talked about abandoning the tax bill if a deal cannot be struck by late this week.
Lawmakers promise to address DHHS concerns with abortion bill ABORTION: House leaders said Tuesday that it was unlikely that the controversial abortion measure that sparked protests at the General Assembly last week and yesterday would come up for a vote on the House floor today. Gov. Pat McCrory expressed some concerns about the bill Monday and his Health and Human Services secretary, Aldona Wos, asked a House Committee to slow down consideration of the bill. Officially, the measure is a House bill that has returned from the Senate, so the full House could approve the measure and send it to McCrory with a single concurrence vote. To make changes, the chamber would either have to reject the Senate version of the bill, sending it to a conference committee, or create a separate piece of "correcting" legislation that modifies the Senate bill.
MORE FROM WOS: McCrory said Monday that he feels some of the provisions of the abortion go beyond safety and wander into the realm of restricting abortions, which he opposes. Wos echoed that line Tuesday, saying "much uncertainty remains" in the bill's provisions.
"I urge you to follow the governor’s advice and leadership and spend more time studying these issues," she said. Wos acknowledged that state regulations for abortion clinics need to be updated, saying that they haven't been changed since 1995. But said also noted that DHHS lacks the resources to inspect the clinics more than one every three to five years.
"Some of the most consequential ways we could improve the health and safety of women would really be to dedicate resources to provide more frequent regular inspections and to review our existing regulation," she said.
"We need to ask some serious questions about our regulations. Are the regulations sound? Are the regulations reasonable? And are they being enforced?" she said. "Other parts of the bill are more complex."
HOUSE TODAY: The chamber meets at 2 p.m. Bills dealing with vintage auto inspections and assessments for tobacco growers are on the calendar.
SENATE TODAY: The chamber meets at 2 p.m. Lawmakers are scheduled to deal with a bill forcing the City of Durham to provide water and sewer to the controversial 751 South development, a measure that would force recipients of certain public benefit programs to undergo drug testing and a bill that would create a state charter school advisory body. WRAL.com will carry the Senate session live. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
COMMITTEES: For a full list of legislative committees, see the main @NCCapitol page. Among today's highlights:
House Regulatory Reform (10 a.m. | 643 LOB): A measure that amends environmental laws has turned into an omnibus regulatory reform measure. WRAL.com will carry the meeting live. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
House Elections (1 p.m. | 544 LOB): The committee is scheduled to take up four election-related bill. As of last night, measures included bill that would require the governor and lieutenant governor to run as a team and require the use of paper ballots. However, it's possible the subject matters of some or all of the bills could change.
ALSO TODAY: The State Board of Education begins its monthly two-day meeting in Raleigh this morning. Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to speak to the "Wells Fargo Agriculture Department Breakfast" in Wilson this morning.
MORE STORIES: Other stories we were following Tuesday include:
PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS: A plan to turn North Carolina's job recruitment functions over to a public-private partnership appears to have hit a snag in the state Senate, where skeptical lawmakers say they want to "thoroughly examine" the ideas behind one of Gov. Pat McCrory's key priorities. McCrory, a Republican, has been pushing the legislature to create a private nonprofit that would contract with the state to handle everything from tourism promotion to the recruitment of new businesses. Proponents of the idea say it would allow the state to move more quickly when a company asks about relocating here and would allow for more competitive compensation of job recruiters.
MARRIAGE: Two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law on same-sex marriage, the American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday that it plans to launch a challenge to North Carolina's ban on gay marriage. The ACLU says it will amend a federal lawsuit filed last year on behalf of six same-sex couples where one partner wanted to adopt the other's child. The organization asked Attorney General Roy Cooper to permit the change, but it said it would petition the court to allow the change if the state doesn't agree to it.
BERGER: Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said he has not made a decision as to whether he'll run for U.S. Senate, a move that could put the state Senate's top leader directly in conflict with the top leader in the state House. Berger, the president Pro Tempore of the Senate, said Tuesday that he met with operatives from the National Republican Senate Committee that morning, adding in a typical dead-pan that the meeting went "about as I expected." He added, "I'm not any closer to what the decision is, but I'm closer to a decision," Berger said. Asked what his deadline might be fore deciding whether he is in or out of the race, Berger said, "I should make a decision by the end of the month."
NOTED: The New York Times is out with an editorial titled "The Decline of North Carolina," which is critical of state leaders for, among other things, ending long-term unemployment benefits. Other examples of national coverage of North Carolina over the past week has come from a Washington Post editorial, American Public Media's Marketplace broadcast, and The L.A. Times.