Today @NCCapitol (July 25): Put on your purple

Posted July 25, 2013

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Thursday, July 25. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.

WEARING PURPLE: Former state Rep. Larry Womble used to break out a bright purple suit to mark the last day of session. Womble is no longer serving, but his former House colleagues have adopted purple as their "going home" color. 

"I was just going to ask if tomorrow (Thursday) was the day to wear purple," Rep. Deb McManus, D-Chatham, asked House Speaker Thom Tillis at the end of Wednesday's session. 

"Well, technically, what you wear tomorrow is what you're going to be wearing on Friday," Tillis said. But he added, "Purple may be a safe bet for tomorrow."

Both Tillis and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger said they plan to pursue a full day of lawmaking Thursday. Then, because some bills may require a vote on a separate day, both the House and Senate tentatively plan to meet just after midnight and adjourn early Friday morning. Barring a veto or special session, the legislature would not return to lawmaking until May of 2014.

LAST DAYS: The final day of a legislative session typically brings hastily called meetings, last minute "technical corrections" bills and last minute attempts to pass controversial legislation. Here's what we know is on the schedule so far.

The Wrap @NCCapitol (July 24) The Wrap @NCCapitol (July 24) RULES: Senate Rules meets at 10 a.m. House Rules meets at 10:15 a.m. It's likely the committees will be handling various corrections bills and resolutions needed to close down the session. For most of this week, the Rules Committee in either chamber has been the panel vetting the vast majority of bills. 

SENATE: The state Senate will meet at 11 a.m. Lawmakers are due to debate a bill that will require voters to show photo ID when they go to the polls. The measure also makes changes to dozens of other election laws, such as shortening the early voting period and allowing large corporate contributions to state parties. Opponents are already plotting legal challenges.

Once the Senate passes the bill, it will have to pass in the House in order to go to Gov. Pat McCrory. 

Senators could also pass a sweeping abortion bill Thursday or early Friday. That bill has been pending in the chamber for two weeks. Berger said the Senate deal with the measure  before lawmakers leave for the summer. 

The chamber has been holding onto a bill that would require the City of Durham to extend water and sewer to the controversial 751 South development. 

HOUSE: The House convenes at 11 a.m. Assuming the Senate passes the voter ID bill, House lawmakers will get a chance to sign off on the measure Thursday. 

Other bills in the House Thursday include a bill that would keep some 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds who commit crimes in juvenile courts, and a regulatory reform bill that could affect whether companies have to disclose certain chemicals used in natural gas drilling to the state and the public. 

The chamber is also due to vote a second time on a bill that would delay for three years certain rules designed to clean up Jordan Lake. If that bill passes the House Thursday, the Senate would still need to vote to send it on to Gov. Pat McCrory. 

COMMERCE REORGANIZATION AND FRACKING: Both chambers have Senate Bill 127 on their calendars. The measure, as it has been drafted, would provide for a Commerce Department reorganization that would entail a public-private partnership for economic development functions. As it emerged from a House-Senate conference committee, the bill contains several fracking provisions. Most important, the measure would allow the state to begin issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing without requiring another legislative vote. That additional vote was key safeguard lawmakers included in the fracking bill during the 2011-12 legislative session. 

Sit-in in Tillis' office Six arrested in sit-in at legislature ARRESTS: Six protesters were arrested at the legislative building Wednesday night as they protested the voter ID and elections bill pending in the Senate by attempting a sit in at House Speaker Thom Tillis' office. The protesters spent less than an hour in the office before they were removed by General Assembly Police. 

MORE STORIES: Other stories we are following in the closing days of session include:

BUDGET: State lawmakers gave their final blessing to the $20.6 billion budget Wednesday afternoon. Senators voted 31-17 in favor of the bill, while the House voted 66-52 in favor. The measure now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature or veto.

BUDGET VOTES: On Wednesday, 10 House Republicans broke ranks with their party and voted against the budget. On Thursday, another Republican voted no. Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, voted no on Thursday after voting for the bill on Wednesday. 

SHARIA: State lawmakers have given final approval to ban courts from recognizing "foreign law" in family court matters. The House originally approved the bill in May, but it was turned into an abortion bill by Senate leaders, so a new version had to be produced, said sponsor Rep. Chris Whitmire, R-Transylvania. It prohibits courts from recognizing "foreign law" if it infringes on US or state constitutional rights. The bill doesn't use the term "sharia" because a federal appeals court ruled in 2012 that a Sharia Law ban passed in Oklahoma was unconstitutional and discriminatory against Islam.

JORDAN LAKE: In addition to passing new rules for cleaning up Jordan Lake, lawmakers debated how that cleanup might happen.  Environmental groups – and some House lawmakers – are raising a red flag over a budget provision that appears to be a no-bid contract for an experimental water treatment scheme at Jordan Lake. The provision did not appear in earlier versions of the spending plan. It was apparently inserted into the final compromise budget deal unveiled earlier this week, in violation of legislative rules.

PERSONNEL LAWS: The number of political appointees in state government will increase under a bill the state Senate approved Wednesday. House Bill 834 is a package of changes to state personnel law sought by Gov. Pat McCrory, who has told lawmakers he needs more latitude in dealing with state workers. The bill must return to the House before going to the governor. 

WAKE SCHOOLS: After an acrimonious debate that highlighted rifts within the Republican caucus, House lawmakers voted Wednesday not to approve an attempt to hand over Wake County's schools to the county's commissioners. Despite the urging of Wake County Republicans and chamber leaders, at least 21 Republicans broke ranks to vote with House Democrats against the bill. It failed to win House approval by a vote of 52 to 64

MEDICAID: Three weeks after the state implemented a new system for handling Medicaid claims, the Department of Health and Human Services has started to cut checks for exasperated providers who complain that they aren't being paid for services provided.
The NCTracks system replaced a decades-old Medicaid claims system, and providers have said it is now more cumbersome to file claims and that reimbursements aren't being received. Joe Cooper, chief information officer for DHHS, said Wednesday that the agency is temporarily waiving its requirement that all reimbursements be made electronically so that providers having trouble with the electronic transfers can get paid and officials can correct any mistakes in routing electronic payments.


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  • bradcooperisinnocent Jul 25, 2013

    Thanks to the disregard and lack of funding for our public schools here in NC , there will be plenty of qualified people from other states to fill those positions. - Bill Brasky

    Tell me, Bill. How much more money do you need? And what would you do with it and specifically how would that better educate the children of our great state? We don't need more money in the system, we need a better system.

  • Bill Brasky Jul 25, 2013

    "Lowering the tax rate for all will attract investment in NC. We've already seen the start of this with several announcements from the Governor."

    Thanks to the disregard and lack of funding for our public schools here in NC , there will be plenty of qualified people from other states to fill those positions.

  • teleman60 Jul 25, 2013

    "This request to 'bail in' the state -- and require it to obtain pre-approval from either the department or a federal court before implementing future voting changes -- is available under the Voting Rights Act when intentional voting discrimination is found," AG Holder this morning.

    So our corrupt GA will have to wait on "their" new voting rules just like Texas will!!! All will be overturned!!

  • teleman60 Jul 25, 2013

    This is the most corrupt GA in North Carolina history with many republican ideologues appearing offended by public outrage at their legislating restrictions on the Constitutional rights of NC citizens.

    They actually are so deluded as to think they should determine if people GET CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS to health care and voting.

    Then they actually engineer ways for them to get anonymous corp money to attack and another that says they no longer have to approve their own ads. So now they can spend unlimited amounts of money with NO PAPER TRAIL AND NO ACCOUNTABILITY! THEY ARE CREATING MORE ELECTION PROBLEMS!

    WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS and be confused that people are enraged by them TAKING AWAY voting options. Aren't they PATRIOTS?


    They're trying to engineer dirty elections in plain sight!

  • bradcooperisinnocent Jul 25, 2013

    All of you who keep clamoring on about jobs - just what do you expect the legislature to do? It isn't the legislature's role to "create" jobs. They can, however, adopt legislation that encourages job creation. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY'VE DONE. Lowering the tax rate for all will attract investment in NC. We've already seen the start of this with several announcements from the Governor. It's getting better by the day.

  • bradcooperisinnocent Jul 25, 2013

    Probably one of the best legislative sessions in NC's history.

  • RDcallsit Jul 25, 2013

    NC IS a Great State and it is so sad and such a shame what has gone on now... it's just like growning up and hearing the elder folk speak of lying cheating politicians... it's just the nature of the game is the best I can make of it. There are so many willing to compromise their family and personal morals to get a little more dough of the taxpayers money. what a sad day in nc this is.

  • jcdaly52 Jul 25, 2013

    Nothing done about jobs...except to eliminate a bunch. This group of characters won't be back until May 2014...six months before the next election. That will be pretty interesting. Thinking that session they will be busy trying to put some lipstick on the pig!

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 25, 2013

    State lawmakers don't want a "foreign" sharia (religion) based law in NC, just their own religion-based laws in your bedroom, at your wedding and in your doctor's office.

    They don't value The Golden Rule. (shrug)

  • anderson Jul 25, 2013

    Today is the day the Barber puppets become irrelevant. Clueless Mondays are over!


    Amen to that!