Today @NCCapitol (July 8): Protests, budget and tax standoff continue
Posted July 8, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, July 8. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
THE SENATE ... won't be back in session until Tuesday. There are no Senate committee meetings scheduled for Monday.
THE HOUSE ... meets at 7 p.m. Among the bills on its calendar is final approval for a bill that would force the City of Durham to provide water and sewer to the controversial 751 South development. WRAL.com will carry the session live. Check the Video Central box on our home page. There are no House committee meetings scheduled for Monday.
FOR THOSE WHO WERE AT THE BEACH LAST WEEK: Late last Tuesday evening, the state Senate tacked an expansive package of abortion-related laws onto a measure meant to keep North Carolina courts from using Sharia law and other foreign laws in family cases. The full Senate gave the measure tentative approval Tuesday night. Full approval came Wednesday morning amid protests.
The Wrap @NCCapitol (July 3) The measure originated in the House and has returned to that chamber for concurrence. The House Health and Human Services Committee is scheduled to hear the measure on Tuesday.
On the Record: Abortion bill generates impassioned response Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, says he's confident the state will enact the measure, which he told Anchor David Crabtree should not have been a surprise to many people. Portions of the measure were parts of other bill previously discussed during the legislative session. On the same episode of On the Record, Melissa Reed of Planned Parenthood called the regulations called for the bill "onerous" and "unnecessary."
The Senate’s surprise vote this week on a suite of new abortion regulations along with cuts in education spending, social programs and unemployment benefits have all prompted protests. And David McLennan, a political science professor at William Peace University, says the drama has landed the state in the national spotlight and will attract more outside influence for the next election.
PROTESTS: The weekly Moral Monday protests sponsored by the NAACP are expected to continue at the legislative building starting at 5 p.m. tonight. They are expected to be bolstered this week by those upset by the abortion legislation.
MORE STORIES: Other stories we were following over the July 4 weekend included:
TAX AND BUDGET: Republicans who control the North Carolina General Assembly have work to do before they can adjourn this year's session feeling they've fully carried out their agenda. While some GOP policy priorities already have passed or are sure to reach Gov. Pat McCrory's desk in the session's final weeks, others appear likely to get pushed back until next spring's "short session" — or beyond. The greatest uncertainty revolves around an overhaul of the state's tax system that Republicans pledged to carry out this year after decades of failure to pass something similar when Democrats held the majority.
MORAL MONDAYS: Ministers active in the weekly "Moral Monday" protests at the Legislature have called off talks with Republican legislators, saying one lawmaker broke the ground rules when he disclosed the discussions.The Charlotte Observer reported that Republican Sen. Jeff Tarte of Cornelius quietly started the talks to try to find common ground. A group of 10 lawmakers and about a dozen ministers met twice.
HOME RELEASE: Reacting to outrage from district attorneys and victims' families, the state Department of Public Safety on Wednesday announced changes to a program that allows convicted felons nearing the end of their sentence to go home on weekends. The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys appealed last month to Gov. Pat McCrory to review the program, complaining that convicted killers have been allowed to spend time at home without notice to local prosecutors or relatives of victims. McCrory referred the matter to DPS, which recommended "more rigorous" notification of district attorneys and victim families before inmates are released on home leave.
National spotlight shines on NC politics GUNS: Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords visited Raleigh Sunday as part of a nationwide "Rights and Responsibilities Tour" to highlight ways they believe tougher laws can reduce gun violence. She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, are the co-founders of the gun violence prevention group Americans for Responsible Solutions. After a trip to a shooting range, they held a round-table discussion at The Pit Authentic Barbecue in downtown Raleigh with 14 hand-picked members of the organization, all of whom are gun owners, to lobby for expanded background checks.