Today@NCCapitol (June 8): Zip lines, traditional math, liquor regs on agenda

Posted June 8, 2016

This is a picture of the North Carolina flag, although it's a bit tattered.

— Good morning and welcome to Today@NCCapitol for Wednesday, June 8. Here's what's going on around state government:

CITIES: The North Carolina League of Municipalities will hold its annual Town Hall Day at the legislature, although the agenda will be more focused on building goodwill than making any specific requests of lawmakers.

"We don't have an agenda we're bringing in to do this or don't do that," said league 1st Vice President Bob Matheny, the mayor of Zebulon.

Unlike recent years, when city officials were urging lawmakers to back off bills to override local zoning decisions or shift control of assets such as airports and water systems, Matheny said league members would be stressing "what municipal government brings to the table."

Among the points they will make, he said, is that cities create the environment in which North Carolina businesses generate billions of dollars worth of retail sales every year.

That said, Matheny added, local officials will stress that cities and towns do best when they're allowed to manage their own affairs.

"Give us the ability to govern our own municipal governments," said the league's 2nd vice president, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lazzara of Jacksonville. "That's the general message we want to communicate and advocate for."

More than 500 local officials are registered to be part of the group that descends on the Legislative Building. While it's not on their official agenda, the controversial House Bill 2 dealing with the use of bathrooms by transgender individuals could come up.

"The league's position is it takes away from local authority," Matheny said, pointing to provisions that override local decisions on nondiscrimination ordinances and minimum wage.

He said each individual official or city may have a viewpoint on the right way to handle LGBT and other issues, but generally said that decision should be left to local governments.

For his own view on House Bill 2, Matheny added, "It's very obvious North Carolina is being hurt. I was recently in San Antonio, Texas, and that's all that anyone there wanted to talk about."

THE GOVERNOR (4:30 p.m.): Gov. Pat McCrory will speak to the League of Municipalities Town Hall Day at the North Carolina Museum of History.

HOUSE FLOOR (2 p.m.): House members are slated to officially reject the Senate budget plan passed last week. That will trigger a conference committee to work out the differences between the two chambers on the state's $22.225 billion budget. House members will also vote on Senate Bill 160, which would declare the Town of Warsaw's Veterans Day Parade to be the state's official Veterans Day Parade. According to the bill, the parade is the "oldest continuously held Veterans Day Parade in the United States."

SENATE FLOOR (2 p.m.): The state Senate is expected to take up a bill paring environmental regulations and another making adult guardianship rules more uniform. WRAL.com plans to carry this meeting live online.

COMMITTEES: The General Assembly publishes a full legislative calendar daily. Here's some of what we're keeping an eye on:

SENATE RULES (1 p.m.): The Rules Committee is expected to do some committee work regarding a provision in the Senate's regulatory reform bill dealing with direct-to-consumer liquor sales by distilleries.

HOUSE REG REFORM (8:30 a.m.): The committee is scheduled to take up a pair of bills. One is the House version of a regulatory reduction bill. The other would ban police from accepting locally-issued IDs commonly provided to undocumented immigrants. That would reverse a decision made last year to allow police departments to accept the cards if a person they stopped had no other form of ID.

HOUSE HEALTH (10 a.m.): The committee is scheduled to take up House Bill 1047, which tightens eligibility requirements for food and nutrition benefits and requires the lottery to report certain information about winners to the Department of Health and Human Services to check against beneficiary recipient lists.

SENATE EDUCATION (11 a.m.): Education committee members will review bills requiring North Carolina high schools to return to a "traditional" math curriculum and loosening regulations on charter schools. WRAL.com plans to carry this meeting live online.

HOUSE JUDICIARY 3 (12:30 p.m.): The committee is scheduled to take up House Bill 1043, the Zip Line Safety Act. The bill comes a year after a 12-year-old girl died in a zip line accident at a YMCA camp.


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