Today @NCCapitol (June 24): Mega landfills, a controversial Durham project and another Moral Monday on tap
Posted June 24, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, June 24. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
DURHAM WATER: Top Republican lawmakers in the state House have been feuding over a bill that would force the City of Durham to extend water and sewer lines to 751 South, a controversial residential and business development on the Durham and Chatham county line. The House Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the measure at 4 p.m. today in Room 544 of the Legislative Office building. The hearing will give opponents of the project a chance to sound off against the measure.
TONIGHT'S CALENDAR: The House and Senate are scheduled to come into session at 7 p.m. tonight. The Senate will take a second vote on a measure that would clear the way for the creation of so-called mega-dumps, which could receive out of state trash. WRAL.com will carry the Senate session live at 7 p.m. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
BUDGET AND TAXES: House Speaker Thom Tillis said he expected budget negotiations between the House and Senate to get under way "in earnest" this week. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee is due to review a continuing resolution measure first thing Tuesday morning.
A continuing resolution will keep the government operating smoothly past the start of the July 1 beginning of the fiscal year while House and Senate negotiators draft a final plan.
Key to the budget deal is a separate tax bill, which is also the subject of negotiations between the House and Senate. Both House and Senate versions of the bill would slow the growth of government, but the Senate bill would do so much more quickly. That is among the biggest key differences that lawmakers are trying to work out.
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO... Remember the Dorothea Dix bill? What about Voter ID and Fracking? The budget and tax bills aren't the only high-profile measures being negotiated by the House and Senate. Click here for a rundown of some of the biggest bills in limbo and follow other measures with our Issue Tracker.
MORAL MONDAY: The eighth week of "Moral Monday" protests, lead by the state conference of the NAACP, are expected to be held outside and inside the legislative building starting at 5 p.m. tonight. Each week of the protests have featured arrests. Those arrested during the first week of protests are expected to be in court today.
UNEMPLOYMENT: This week's "On the Record" explored changes to the state's unemployment system, which will mean more than 70,000 will lose benefits effective July 1. Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie interviewed policy analyst John Quinterno, of South by North Strategies as well as Bill Rowe of the North Carolina Justice Center and Bruce Clarke of Capital Associated Industries.
MORE STORIES: Other stories we were following this weekend included:
HOLSHOUSER: Former Gov. Jim Holshouser was remembered Friday as a man who kept his word, led by example and earned respect because of who he was rather than the title he held.
DEATH PENALTY: Supporters and opponents of North Carolina's Racial Justice Act disagree about the necessity and effectiveness of the controversial legislation, but there appears to be consensus on both sides about one thing. No one knows for sure when executions will resume in the state or what will happen with pending claims of racial bias from most of the 153 people on death row.
MEDICAID: The state Department of Health and Human Services will launch a new Medicaid claims processing system July 1, and officials said Friday they expect plenty of problems as health care providers learn to use the new system. The NCTracks system is believed to be the largest government information technology project in state history, and officials tout it as key to Gov. Pat McCrory’s efforts to overhaul Medicaid. But the computer system is launching 23 months late and is tens of millions of dollars over budget, and a state audit released last month criticized advance testing on it.
MENTALLY ILL: As the House and Senate hammer out a budget compromise, psychiatrists and advocates for people with mental illness say a Senate proposal could have potentially harmful consequences. The proposal would require physicians to obtain prior authorization from the state's Medicaid managed care system to prescribe medication for any kind of mental illness.
SWEEPSTAKES: Instead of folding, some sweepstakes operators are using new tactics to stay open: They're filing lawsuits against the very communities trying to close their doors. The owners say new software puts their businesses in compliance with the law.
GUNS: As part of ongoing effort to get Congress to pass "common-sense gun laws," supporters of Mayors Against Illegal Guns rallied in downtown Raleigh's Moore Square Saturday to call for lawmakers to strengthen the country's background check system.
WORTH THE READ: Stories from other outlets we were reading this weekend included:
News & Observer: The politics of polarization is now in danger of becoming the politics of paranoia. First Art Pope and the Koch brothers. Now BluePrint NC. And “eviscerate.’’
News & Record: A 501c formed after Gov. Pat McCrory's election will hold a policy conference at the Grandover here in Greensboro next week. The cheapest dinner tickets are $1,000. McCrory and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley are slated to be there.
Wilmington Star News: Gov. Pat McCrory has signed a bill into law that could help rejuvenate some so-called "zombie" properties in the Cape Fear region and across the state. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Chris Millis, R-Pender, provides a clear avenue for the transfer of environmental permits when a developer goes into foreclosure – an issue that has caused a snag in moving forward with defunct developments as the market improves.
Charlotte Observer: Long before three deaths at a Boone hotel this spring, experts warned North Carolina officials that failings in the state medical examiner system posed a threat to the public. A 2001 legislative study group questioned whether medical examiners had the training to properly investigate suspicious and violent deaths.