Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, July 2. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
SENATE: The state Senate will meet at 2 p.m. today and take up more than two dozen of House bills that had been stripped from the calendar last week.
At the time, Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca had said the bills were removed to give House and Senate negotiators working on tax reform and the budget time to talk. So is the return of the bills a sign of progress?
WRAL.com will carry the Senate Session live at 2 p.m. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
TAXES: One of the bills Senators will be debating today is HB 998, the tax reform measure.
"The time has come for the Senate to move the tax reform process forward," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger told his chamber's Finance Committee Monday. Berger had held off on moving the measure forward in order to give his chamber and the House time to negotiate their difference.
While the Senate bill does take some steps toward House positions, it still raises hundreds of millions of dollars less per year than the House version of tax reform would.
"We've participated in a number of intense, but I would say productive, conversations with our House colleagues," Berger, R-Rockingham, told the committee. "We've made a lot of progress."
VOTER ID: Among the items not on the Senate schedule this week: voter ID. Apodaca told the Associated Press Monday that lawmakers will still working on legislation that is expected to incorporate a number of changes to how and when people can vote.
HOUSE: The state House is out of town this week. Its next skeleton session will be on July 4.
MCCRORY: At 9 a.m., Gov. Pat McCrory will chair this month's meeting of the Council of State, a group of 10 statewide elected officials who approve land and borrowing transactions.
COMMITTEES: For a full listing of committees, please see the main @NCCapitol page. Among the highlights:
Senate Rules (9 a.m. | 1027 LB): The committee takes up a measure that would curtail undercover investigations of factory farms and meat processing centers.
Senate Judiciary I (10 a.m. 1027 LB): The committee takes up a bill that purports to keep North Carolina from recognizing Sharia Law or any other foreign law in our courts.
ARRESTS: More than 80 people submitted to arrest at this week's 'Moral Monday' protests to call attention to the immediate loss of federal unemployment benefits for 70,000 North Carolinians due to the actions of state lawmakers.
MORE STORIES: Other stories we were following Monday include:
GULP: By a vote of 37-9 Monday night, the state Senate approved House Bill 683, banning local governments from restricting sales of large soft drinks.
Protesters decry long-term jobless benefits cutoff UNEMPLOYED: The decision of North Carolina lawmakers to cut the amount and length of state unemployment benefits took effect Sunday, stripping federally funded checks from the state's 71,000 long-term jobless. The U.S. Labor Department says another 100,000 will be cut off in the coming months.
JUSTICE: With the repeal of North Carolina's Racial Justice Act after just four years on the books, it's uncertain how quickly the state will resume executions or what the legacy will be for the law that proponents say was intended to rid capital punishment of racial bias.
RAIN: "Heavy rains forecast for this week could seriously damage crops already weakened by unusually cool and wet conditions," reports the Charlotte Observer. "Frequent rains and cooler than normal temperatures have delayed planting, growing and harvesting schedules by up to three weeks. Some fields have been unable to be planted or harvested. Some plants have already drowned in the wet soil, and waterborne disease has hit others."