Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, June 18. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
BUDGET: The state Senate officially rejected the House version of the state budget Monday night.
"The House tinkered ever so slightly with this bill. I think I need to chat with them about it," Sen. Pete Brunstetter, the senior budget chairman, joked with his colleagues Monday night. There is not yet an official conference committee.
Meanwhile, Gov. Pat McCrory Monday echoed Brunstetter doubts about being able to get a new budget deal done by the start of the fiscal year on July 1.
"We've got to come to a conclusion in a very short period of time," he told The Associated Press Monday. "We've gotten this far. We're very close to the finish line but small things can also trip it up."
The Senate today will vote a second time to approve a tax package that is also working its way through the General Assembly. The measure will then return to the House, where leaders say they will also send that bill to a conference committee, meaning that lawmakers and the governor will be trying to compromise on a tax overhaul bill at the same time they work out the budget.
HOLSHOUSER: Former Gov. Jim Holshouser, the first Republican to be elected as North Carolina's chief executive in the 20th century, died Monday. He was 78.
A funeral for the former governor will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday in Southern Pines. Both the state House and Senate adjourned in memory of the late governor Monday night.
Gov. Pat McCrory visited with the family Sunday afternoon. Holshouser served on McCrory's transition team after the November election.
"North Carolina is a better place because of his leadership and, most of all, because of his incredible heart," McCrory said. "I will miss him dearly, and I think many other people will too."
McCrory ordered all U.S. and North Carolina flags at state offices be lowered to half-staff until Holshouser is buried.
WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker review the news on budgets and other action on Jones Street in Monday's The Wrap @NCCapitol.
HOUSE TODAY: The state House will meet at 2 p.m. The highest profile vote on the calendar involves the bill backed by Gov. Pat McCrory that will change how transportation dollars are distributed throughout the state. The plan would concentrate funding more on statewide and regional projects rather than construction in each of the state's 14 transportation districts.
SENATE TODAY: Senators will make that last vote on the tax reform bill. They will also consider a measure adjusting the state's "Run and You're Done" law, which allows for the confiscation of cars driven by those speeding to elude arrest. WRAL.com will carry the session live at 2 p.m. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
MCCRORY TODAY: The governor will speak to a Rotary Club and a business round table in Winston-Salem today.
COMMITTEES: For a full list of legislative committee hearings, check the main @NCCapitol page. Among the highlights:
House Education (10 a.m. | 643 LOB): The committee will consider a bill eliminating some reports that school districts have to make to the department of public instruction. The calendar says they are also due to take up S 243, a version of the bill requiring cursive handwriting be taught. Since the companion measure to this bill has already been signed by the governor, it seems likely the measure will be subject to a "gut and amend" process that will put completely different legislative language in the bill. WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
Senate Judiciary (10 a.m. | 1027 LB): The committee will take up a version of the bill that requires local Departments of Social Services to run a background check on anyone seeking certain welfare benefits.
Senate Commerce (11 a.m. | 1027 LB): Lawmakers will take up a bill that rolls back energy efficient building standards for commercial properties to what they were in 2009.
House Transportation (12 p.m. | 643 LB): The committee will take up a bill that creates a procedure for granting photo identification to home-bound individuals. Lawmakers will also review a measure allowing DOT to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on certain roads. WRAL.com will carry this meeting live at noon. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
STORIES: Stories we were following Monday included:
DEMOCRATS: Some North Carolina Democrats are working toward a truce with embattled party Chairman Randy Voller. Several Democratic activists filed a petition May 8 seeking Voller's removal as interim executive director. Their complaint accused Voller of breaking party rules by firing the executive director and appointing himself interim director, "stacking" the voting Executive Council with 12 appointed friends and paying large sums of money for contracts with consultants Jim Neal and Michael Carmichael without the approval or oversight of the Executive Council. Voller and the petitioners – John Burns, Greg Flynn, Treva Johnson and Montica Talmadge – signed off on a formal, mediated agreement Monday that resolves the petition and may lessen calls within the party for Voller's resignation.
POLITICS: State House lawmakers voted Monday night to do away with the checkoff on state tax forms that lets taxpayers direct money to a political party. The state's D-400 form allows an individual to direct $3 of his or her tax payment (or $6 for a couple) to the Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican parties. That money comes out of what the taxpayer is already paying to the state, not out of his or her refund. Rep. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance, said House Bill 953, repealing the checkoff, will put about $2 million a year back into the state's general fund.
NCAE: Scott Anderson, executive director of the NC Association of Educators, is stepping down to join a national progressive pro-labor group.
PROTESTS: Eighty-four people were arrested at the General Assembly on Monday in the seventh week of protests aimed at the policies of the Republican-controlled legislature. Organized by the North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP, the “Moral Monday” demonstrations showed no signs of slowing down. Nearly 500 people have been arrested since the events began in April. Meanwhile, a team of researchers say a survey of the crowd at Monday's "Moral Monday" protest shows that at least 311 of 317 of those surveyed are from North Carolina.
TEACHERS: Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson asked lawmakers Monday to increase North Carolina's competitiveness in teacher pay and recruitment by exempting public school teachers from having to pay any personal state income taxes.
GE: A company that specializes in jet engines and aircraft system production plans to break ground this year on a parts factory near Asheville. GE Aviation's new facility is being built next to an existing GE machining plant. The company says the new plant will produce engine components made of advanced ceramic matrix composite materials.