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Today @NCCapitol (April 21): Lawmakers consider bills changing presidential primary date, curbing undercover animal stings

Posted April 21, 2015

NC Legislative Building

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, April 21. Here's what's going on at the General Assembly and around state government.

EAT YOUR WHEATIES: Lawmakers have larded bills onto jam-packed committee calendars this week in an effort to beat the April 30 crossover deadline. Crossover is the point by which bills that don't deal with taxes, spending or a handful of procedural matters have to pass one chamber in order to remain eligible under regular order for the remainder of the session. After a slow start to the year and a week-long spring break in March, legislators are now pushing to get as many policy bills through either the House or the Senate as they can.

Rick Santorum Santorum advises against placing NC primary too early LATE-DAY ELECTIONS: The House Elections Committee will meet late in the day after the House floor session – 4 p.m. at the earliest – to take up a bill moving North Carolina's presidential primary date. Currently, North Carolina's date is pegged to South Carolina, which could mean Tar Heels would head to the polls in February. This would violate National Republican Party rules for when states can schedule primaries and end up costing the North Carolina party delegates next year. House Bill 457 would move the date back to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March, which would make the North Carolina primary March 8. Primaries for other offices would still be held in May.

Health Care Costs Bills seek end to 'Mother, may I?' system for new health care equipment NEED: After the House Health Committee reviewed rules Monday governing when hospitals and other health care providers can purchase large equipment or open new hospital beds, the Senate Health Committee will take up the same topic at 1 p.m. So-called certificates of need are a perennial issue at the legislature, but lawmakers in both chambers say they may be poised for a breakthrough this year. Backers of the law say it helps keep prices low and protects hospitals against unfair competition. Advocates for reform say the laws keep prices high and unfairly restrict health care providers.

THE GOVERNOR: Gov. Pat McCrory's lone public event for the day is a Raleigh news conference on behalf of the North Carolina Fit Family Challenge.

HOUSE FLOOR: There are two bills on the House floor calendar, including one that would give terminally ill patients access to experimental treatments. However, House Speaker Tim Moore said the chamber would add bills to the calendar as they emerged from committee Tuesday. WRAL.com plans to carry this session live at 3 p.m.

SENATE FLOOR: The state Senate meets at 3 p.m. and also has two bills on its calendar. One of those would require the state Department of Public Instruction to keep specific data on why public school teachers are leaving their jobs and their reasons for leaving teaching.

COMMITTEES WE'RE WATCHING: The General Assembly publishes a full legislative committee calendar daily, but here are some of the highlights to watch for:

Insurance: The House Insurance Committee is due to take up bills dealing with insurance for oral chemotherapy drugs and mopeds. WRAL.com plans to carry this meeting live at 1 p.m.

Ag-gag: House Judiciary II meets at 2 p.m .and takes up a measure to prevent undercover film of workplaces, including poultry plants and other livestock facilities. Animal rights groups oppose what they have dubbed "ag-gag legislation."

Dix: Senate Health meets at 11 a.m. and takes up a bill that would scuttle the deal to sell the Dorothea Dix campus to Raleigh.

Athletes: The House Education - Universities Committee is scheduled to take up a bill that would prohibit state funds from being used to pay student-athletes if the NCAA loses a pending lawsuit and is forced to compensate certain athletes. WRAL.com plans to carry this meeting live at 11 a.m.

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  • George Herbert Apr 21, 2015
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    Having two primaries next year doesn't make sense--common sense or fiscal sense. I thought Republicans were in favor of both.