Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today@NCCapitol for Friday, June 24. Here's what's going on around state government:
YES, FRIDAY: State senators have called for a full legislative work day Friday as part of a push to wrap up their work for the year before July 4.
"I really think we can make June 30, but I still believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny," said Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, when reporters asked if the legislature would make its pre-Independence Day goal for adjournment.
Friday sessions are unusual, and lawmakers typically don't work on Mondays until late in the day. But Apodaca warned members that they should expect to work a full legislative day on Monday as well.
"I would count on being here by 9 a.m.," he said.
He later told reporters that he anticipated Monday would be the last day most committees would meet, a move that typically comes right before the end of the legislative session.
THE BUDGET: If lawmakers really are intent on leaving, they must first reach agreement on a $22.225 billion state budget.
"We've had an opportunity to talk about several things," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Thursday of discussions with his House counterpart, Speaker Tim Moore.
Both men agreed that they would likely complete work on a budget deal either Friday or Monday. That would allow both chambers to pass a budget bill by the end of next week.
"I would agree that we have an understanding on some of the pay issues," Berger, R-Rockingham, said.
House leaders have reported there is general agreement on raising teacher salaries, but that questions remain about raises for state workers and whether retirees will see a cost-of-living increase.
"There will be pay raises. It's just a matter of how much," Moore, R-Cleveland, said.
Both men were circumspect about describing what deals had been cut and what differences remained. However, both said that lawmakers were still working on the details of a tax cut.
THE HOUSE: House members have the weekend off. They are not scheduled to meet again until 7 p.m. Monday.
SENATE FLOOR: The Senate Floor session scheduled for 9:30 a.m. is a no-vote skeleton session called so that bills can be moved from committee to committee. A voting floor session will be called for mid-afternoon, although no specific time was set by Thursday evening. Bills on the calendar include a measure limiting how much a state information technology contractor would have to pay if a system they provide to the state fails. WRAL.com plans to carry this meeting live online.
COMMITTEES: The General Assembly publishes a full committee calendar daily. Here are some of the Senate committees we're keeping an eye on:
Education (11 a.m.): Committee members will discuss a measure to create an achievement school district, which would turn a handful of failing public schools over to a charter school company. WRAL.com plans to carry this meeting live online.
Rules (12:30 p.m.): Committee members are scheduled to review a bill calling for a constitutional amendment that would limit the government's use of eminent domain to take property for non-government uses, such as economic development.
Budgets (1:30 p.m.): Senators will review a bill that would withhold money for road building and school construction from cities and counties that don't comply with state immigration laws.