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Today @NCCapitol (July 17): Expecting surprise moves in the Rules Committee

Posted July 18, 2013

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Thursday, July 18. 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. takes up a fix to the state's newly passed unemployment insurance law to bring it into compliance with federal standards

HOUSE SESSION: The House meets at 10 a.m. today. It is scheduled to give final approval to a bill loosening restrictions on terminal groins used to protect coastal islands and will take up a measure that requires applicants for food stamps or welfare payments to submit to drug screenings and background checks. WRAL.com will carry the session live. Check the Video Central box on our home page. 

SENATE RULES: The Senate Rules Committee meets at 10 a.m. has four bills on its calendar. Only one of those bills, a measure dealing with a suite of regulatory reform issues, is certain to come up and deal with the subject matter it does as of 8 a.m. 

The Wrap @NCCapitol (July 17) The Wrap @NCCapitol (July 17) As for the remaining bills, lawmakers and lobbyists say they expect the committee to take up any of a number of high profile measures this morning. It is possible that the committee could role out either a new Voter ID measure and/or a new bill making changes to the states election laws, Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca said Wednesday. It's also possible the committee could take a look at, or create a new version of, a bill dealing with abortions. And sources tell @NCCapitol that it is possible the committee could take up a new version of a bill that would allow some counties, including Wake, to take over responsibility for school construction and upkeep. That schools bill has stalled in the House due to disagreements among Republicans and it's unclear whether the Senate sending a new version over would help dislodge it

SENATE JUDICIARY: The Senate Judiciary Committee also meets at 10 a.m. The two bills on its calendar appear fairly routine ... for now. 

SENATE SESSION: The state Senate is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. The chamber is scheduled to give final approval to the bill that would transfer ownership of the Charlotte Douglas Airport from the City of Charlotte to a regional authority. It also has the bill dealing with Durham's 751 South development on the calendar, but has delayed consideration of that measure several times over the past two weeks. 

WEEKEND PLANS: House lawmakers and staff are talking more and more like they plan for work a traditional legislative work week, which would send them home to their districts this afternoon. In the Senate, lawmakers have expressed a desire to work through the weekend in an effort to push the session to a conclusion. Senators went so far on Wednesday as to schedule bills for a Saturday session. But without the House around, it's unclear how much work they could do. Regardless of whatever formal lawmaking is going on, those negotiating the budget are expected to be hard at work late this week and weekend cleaning up the final details of a $20 billion spending plan.

STORIES: Other stories we were following Wednesday included: 

TAXES: The General Assembly gave final approval Wednesday to changes in North Carolina's tax structure that backers call historic in nature, and the proposal now heads to Gov. Pat McCrory.

MEDICAID: As House and Senate negotiators try to hammer out a two-year spending plan, Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday that soaring Medicaid costs are endangering the viability of any budget proposal. "Since I did my budget three months ago ... we've had over $535 million of additional spending that was outside of projections made by last year's administration and legislature," McCrory said during a meeting of his Economic Development Council. "That's basically busted our budget already."

TILLIS: North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis was making the rounds in Washington, D.C., Wednesday to advance his U.S. Senate campaign even as lawmakers in Raleigh were attempting to resolve some contentious issues and shut down this year's legislative session.

RURAL CENTER: The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center isn't keeping track of grants it awards, is improperly keeping interest on grant funds and is overpaying its top managers, according to an audit released Wednesday. The audit prompted Gov. Pat McCrory to call for new leadership at the Rural Center, which uses state and federal money to support business and infrastructure development in 85 North Carolina counties.

DOGS: The state House gave tentative approval Wednesday to a provision that would allow emergency responders to break into a hot car to rescue an animal. The proposal was an amendment by Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, to Senate Bill 626, an agency bill clarifying the state's animal welfare and sheltering laws.

GUNS: The state House used 30 minutes Wednesday morning to debate and pass a resolution that takes the federal government to task for pursuing legislation that imposes restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

MCCRORY: A left-leaning government watchdog group has named Gov. Pat McCrory "one of the worst governors in America" for giving plum jobs to political donors. McCrory was one of 18 governors – 17 of them Republicans – singled out by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit that advocates for transparency and accountability, especially on the topic of money on politics.

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  • linkz145 Jul 18, 2013

    Let's drug test the senate, they are obviously on something!