Today @NCCapitol (June 20): Mega-dumps and high speeds on today's calendar
Posted June 20, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Thursday, June 20. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
TAXES: House and Senate negotiators were continuing to discuss the pending tax overhaul bill Wednesday as the two chambers wrapped up business for the day. The state Senate returned House Bill 998, the vehicle for this year's tax return, to its Finance Committee rather than debate the bill a second time and set up a potential conference committee.
"We're waiting on the House to send us a proposal," Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, told reporters after session. The top Senate leader said he still favored the measure his chamber gave tentative approval earlier this week. But he acknowledged the House and Senate had differences that needed to be bridged if a tax bill is to pass this year.
"One of the biggest issues we're dealing with are the revenue projections," Berger said. House leaders, including Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, have said they worried the Senate plan would not raise enough money to provide for the basic operations of government.
HOUSE TODAY: Lawmakers put the brakes on discussion Wednesday of a bill that would allow for speed limits to rise to 75 mph. That measure is back on the calendar for today when the chamber meets at 11 a.m.
SENATE TODAY: Lawmakers will debate a bill that would remove many environmental restrictions on landfills and, critics say, clear the way for mega-dumps that receive out-of-state trash. WRAL.com will carry the Senate session live at 11 a.m. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
The Wrap @NCCapitol (June 19) COMMITTEES: For a full list of committee meetings, see the main @NCCapitol page. House Environment will take up Senate Bill 151, a proposal to allow coastal jetties, better known as terminal groins, to be built to protect coastal inlets.
WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker talk over the latest action on tax reform, the puppy mill bill and other news from Wednesday in The Wrap @NCCapitol.
BILLS: Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday signed legislation that repealing the last remnants of the Racial Justice Act while trying to restart executions in North Carolina. McCrory's final signature followed months of debate between Democrats and Republicans on the law's intent and the way it has played out. Republicans say it was so poorly crafted that it has allowed nearly all of the state's 156 death-row inmates to launch appeals under the law regardless of their race. They say the law impedes the will of unanimous jury decisions.
That bill was among dozens of pieces of legislation the governor signed Wednesday. Click here for the legislature's running tally of bills signed by the governor. A list of bills still pending on his desk is here.
Who should pay to clean Jordan Lake? WATER: Jordan Lake, a sprawling, 46,000-acre manmade lake in Chatham and Durham counties, serves as both a water supply for about 300,000 people and a recreational area for more than a million residents around the Triangle and state. From the beginning, the lake has struggled with pollution and water quality problems, but lawmakers continue to debate about who should pay to clean the lake.
To address the longstanding problem, the General Assembly passed the “Jordan Lake Rules” in 2009 to cut pollution and runoff flowing into the lake from upstream sources by 35 percent. Last month, the state Senate passed a bill that repeals the rules for everyone in the Jordan Lake watershed.
MORE NEWS: Other stories we were following Wednesday included:
RURAL CENTER: In a release late Wednesday, the NC Rural Economic Development Center announced its board will conduct a review of grants made by the Center in the past five years. That comes after a News & Observer report on politically connected individuals, including State Budget Director Art Pope, landing Rural Center grants for their businesses.
PUPPIES: North Carolina first lady Ann McCrory urged lawmakers Wednesday to take action on a bill that would establish basic standards of care for large commercial dog-breeding facilities and help ensure that dogs are treated humanely. McCrory was joined in an afternoon news conference by Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, the sponsor of House Bill 930, as well as Ernest and Ricky Bobby, two dogs rescued from puppy mills in eastern North Carolina.
PLAYING POSSUM: North Carolina will have six new state symbols under a bill that is headed to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk. Among other items, the measure recognizes the whirligigs of Vollis Simpson as North Carolina's official folk art and the Virginia Possum as North Carolina's official state marsupial.
NONPROFITS: Leaders of North Carolina nonprofits asked lawmakers Wednesday to reject a Senate tax reform proposal that would do away with state deductions for charitable contributions and cap sales tax refunds for nonprofit groups. North Carolina Center for Nonprofits director David Heinen said the Senate plan would hurt more than 250 groups across the state, from hospitals and hospice groups to private universities and food banks.
SPECIAL NEEDS: Senators expressed skepticism Wednesday over legislation that would provide grants of up to $6,000 a year to families of special-needs students to pay for therapy outside of public schools. The Senate Education Committee didn't vote on House Bill 269, and Chairman Sen. Jerry Tillman said he wants more information about the cost of the proposal.