Today @NCCapitol (March 11): Voter ID, MetLife and fracking were in the news this weekend
Posted March 11, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, March 11 – Sunshine Day for those of us who work with government records. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Both the House and Senate are scheduled to hold floor sessions at 7 p.m. today. No committee meetings are on today's calendar.
In the Senate, only one bill dealing with the state's sex offender law is on the calendar.
House lawmakers are scheduled to deal with a handful bills, including one to open the records of private college police agencies to public inspection.
MCCRORY: Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to attend the signing of a brownfields agreement for ReVenture West, a former Charlotte Superfund site that is being turned into "the region's largest eco-industrial park." The signing takes place at 12:30 p.m. at DENR's Green Square building.
On Friday, the Associated Press reported: Gov. Pat McCrory avoided questions Friday about the state offering MetLife Inc. $94 million in tax breaks and other incentives to move thousands of jobs to North Carolina and using his former employer to help broker the deal.
On the Record: Voter ID Also Friday, McCrory told state agencies Friday to limit their spending in the coming months so he could shift money to cover a Medicaid shortfall of as much as $262 million. Click here for the memo.
ON THE RECORD: This weekend's episode of On the Record explores the voter ID debate. Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, and Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake, joined Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker to explore talk about legislation coming before the General Assembly this month.
POLICY GROUPS: Roughly a dozen groups make up the core of Raleigh's intellectual industrial complex, with a dozen others playing a larger or smaller role as specific issues arise. Although there are exceptions, the most frequently quoted and cited of these groups break down into two families, each with ties to one of two foundations that helps to fund their activities. The Justice Center, Action NC, Progress North Carolina, Planned Parenthood and many other left-of-center groups can trace some part of their funding back to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a Winston-Salem based philanthropy founded as a memorial to the son of a tobacco magnate. The other family, of more conservative public policy groups, is tied together by the John William Pope Foundation.
NONPROFIT MEMO: From the Associated Press: "To politicos, the most intriguing document coming out of Raleigh this year hasn’t been Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s first State of the State address or a tax reform proposal some in the GOP-led General Assembly like. Rather, it was a document written for liberal-leaning groups brainstorming how to fight back against McCrory and legislative leaders during the next two years, stop their policies and sway public opinion. The result ultimately would get their allies — the Democrats — back into power."
ALLPOINT: A spokesman for a company that allows voters to register by signing forms remotely says North Carolina is one of several states where the technology was used. "North Carolina is not a doing anything particularly new or innovative," said Jude Barry, a spokesman for Allpoint Voter Services.
State lawmakers and members of the State Board of Elections have questioned whether the system should have been cleared for use in North Carolina last year.
Lawmaker wants to fend off federal efforts to restrict guns IF YOU MISSED IT FRIDAY:
- North Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that criminals sentenced to life in prison for murder, rape and other crimes at a time in the 1970s, when a life term was defined by law as 80 years behind bars, will indeed spend life in prison.
- Taxes imposed by Lumberton on sweepstakes games were so high that they are unjust, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Friday.
- The North Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether the state can deny at-risk children access to public pre-kindergarten programs.
- A proposed amendment filed this week to restrict what limits can be placed on gun ownership in North Carolina is the latest shot in the growing debate over nullification of federal laws.
- The contractor building North Carolina's over-budget and overdue Medicaid billing system has lost a thumb drive containing the personal information of thousands of Medicaid providers.
STORIES WORTH THE READ FROM THIS WEEKEND:
Baltimore Sun: "Pennsylvania's headlong plunge into drilling for natural gas from Marcellus shale formations deep underground has produced winners and losers — and provides a window on what could occur in Western Maryland should the drilling spread there. Businesses that cater to the energy industry have opened or expanded, while landowners who signed leases allowing wells to be drilled on their property have been able to buy new trucks and pay off loans with royalty payments from the billions of cubic feet of gas being siphoned daily across the state."
Wilmington Star News: "There are options to dispose of hydraulic fracking wastewater other than shipping it to the coast and injecting it deep into the ground, according to the chairman of a key committee charged with writing the regulations for shale-gas exploration and extraction."
Charlotte Observer: "Soon after Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe assumed control of airport police, (Aviation Director Jerry) Orr said in interviews that the airport would benefit from being run by an authority -- free from city control. In early February, a bill was introduced in the General Assembly that would create a 13-member authority to run Charlotte Douglas, removing it from the city, which has managed it since 1935. An authority would have complete control of the airport, including the police. The hundreds of emails between airport officials and police, obtained in a public records request, reveal that both sides have been busy documenting that the other is a poor choice for policing the airport."
Wilmington Star News: "Rep. Susi Hamilton, D-New Hanover, one local champion of the cause to eradicate human trafficking, said she believes Wilmington is “one of the worst cities in the state for it” largely because of the local maritime industry. Some mariners, she said, spend “enough time” in town to “go do bad things.” Then, “they hop back on their ship and they go back out again.” Danny McComas, chairman of the State Ports Authority, said he is not aware of the problem if the Port of Wilmington is indeed causing an influx in sex trafficking locally. “That’s a new one for me,” he said. “I’d be interested in talking to them (state legislators) about it. Maybe they know something I don’t. You hear about sailors and all that, but I've never heard that our port had problems.”"
North Carolina Health News: "There are presently 11 managed care organizations delivering mental health, intellectual and developmental disability and substance abuse services around the state. But Sen. Tommy Tucker (R-Waxhaw), a member of the state Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, said on Wednesday it’s quite possible that number will soon be reduced."
Fayetteville Observer: "Animal advocates who helped rescue 56 dogs with serious health problems from a Sampson County home said dog breeders should be subject to the same state laws as animal shelters and pet shops. Otherwise, they said, similar situations will continue."
News & Record: "Legislation that would trim regulations on North Carolina’s public school systems, and perhaps treat them more like charter schools, is percolating in the speaker’s office."