Today @NCCapitol (March 15): Dix nix bill should be no surprise

Posted March 15, 2013

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Friday, March 15. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.

HAPPENING TODAY: No legislative meetings are on the calendar today. 

Dorothea Dix Hospital Campus State, Raleigh agree on lease of Dix campus for major park MCCRORY: Gov. Pat McCrory will spend the day in the Charlotte area. In addition to touring downtown Waxhaw, he will attend a groundbreaking at a charter school and sign two bills related to digital learning into law. 

DIX NIX: Maybe it shouldn't have been such a surprise Thursday when Senators filed a bill to wipe away the deal to turn the Dorothea Dix deal into a park.

After Gov. Bev Perdue announced the tentative deal in late December, Senate President Pro Tempore and House Speaker Thom Tillis urged the Council of State to buck the governor and turn down the 99-year lease arrangement. When the council went along with Perdue, Berger pledged to undo the deal if he could.

Dorothea Dix property Raleigh says state should honor Dix property contract "There's is been a lot of talk for a number of years about what to do with the Dix property, but this particular proposal just came out of the blue over the last week, week and a half,"{{/a}} the Rockingham County Republican said at the time. "If there are viable options, then I'm interested in proceeding with attempts to undo this."

Berger isn't officially listed as a cosponsor on the Senate bill, but his office drafted a news release announcing the bill.

In the House, Wake County Republican Rep. Marilyn Avila is a co-sponsor of the companion measure. 

Meanwhile, Raleigh city officials are fuming. 

"It's almost heartbreaking," McFarlane said. "The city went into this in good faith, and we expect the state of North Carolina to honor their contractual obligation." The city attorney is reviewing Raleigh's options. 

Asked whether others who enter into contracts with the state ought to be worried, Sen. Louis Pate, R-Wayne, said no.

"I believe this is a one-time thing because it was done under the last days of another administration," he said.

The Wrap @NCCapitol (March 14) The Wrap @NCCapitol (March 14) WRAP: Capital Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker talk about how the Dix bill fits into a pattern of legislation at the General Assembly and review other action from Thursday in The Wrap @NCCapitol.

PANTHERS: Charlotte would be able to use a set of local tourism taxes to pay for improvements to the Carolina Panther's privately-owned NFL stadium under a bill approved by the House Government Committee Thursday. The voice vote was far from unanimous with many lawmakers grumbling about the prospect of giving taxpayer dollars – even if they only come from Charlotte occupancy and food and beverage taxes – to help a wealthy NFL franchise. 

SWEEPS: North Carolina politicians and lobbyists are running from an Internet sweepstakes company embroiled in a federal investigation in Florida. International Internet Technologies was indicted Wednesday in Florida and Oklahoma on charges that it supplied illegal gaming software in Florida, claiming the proceeds would benefit a veterans group. According to The Associated Press, Oklahoma authorities say IIT owner Chase Egan Burns and his wife directed only $6 million of their $290 million profit to the charity. The couple faces racketeering charges. North Carolina State Board of Elections records show Burns contributed more than $154,000 to state politicians and political organizations last year. Those politicians rushed to forfeit those donations to local charities Thursday.

DRONES: "North Carolina police departments would generally need a warrant to use unmanned drones in criminal investigations under new legislation filed this week at the statehouse. The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro, is an opening salvo on an issue likely to generate debate: how to deal with the technological leaps making drones practical," reports the Greensboro News & Record



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  • cushioncritter Mar 16, 2013

    This should be expanded to say that any executive actions between election day and inauguration day are "tentative", and the general assembly can ratify/undo them (as line items) by a simple majority vote of each chamber upon reconvening in January.

    Since I don't envision Gov. McCrory doing anything like pardoning the Wilmington 10 or creating a destination park as he is leaving office, he should be willing to have the post-election review by the general assembly apply to him.

  • floydthebarber Mar 15, 2013

    rlee- Our lovely conservative governor could start by changing his mind to not accept 100% funded medicare expansion, which includes mental health resources. You'll never hear a Democrat, a true Dem, stand against new mental health funding. Not when the system is in such sorry shape as it is now.

  • happymom Mar 15, 2013

    There's a major element to this story that people tend to leave out.

    When Perdue made this deal she made no plans for where the DHHS divisions currently housed on the Dix campus would go. None. Not one. It will cost the state 10s of millions to move these employees and find suitable, long-term workspace for them.

    The mental hospital at Dix is closed. Currently, the DHHS employees occupy most of the buildings, and the grounds are available to anyone who wants to visit. What's wrong with keeping it that way? It's the least expensive option and it preserves the campus as a resource for the state.

    I'm a liberal Democrat, but I have never supported Perdue's intention on this. It doesn't make financial or logistical sense.

  • rand321 Mar 15, 2013

    The GOP does not seem to want to respect contracts when they cannot reward their own money groups.

  • rand321 Mar 15, 2013

    It is a shame that the GOP is not using their one party control to truly reform state government in NC. Rather than trying to undue specific appointments and deals of a former governor, they should focus on the longer term control aspects to ensure deals made by a governor are fair and the best interests of the STATE and not one party's special interests.

    Sadly, the GOP seems concerned and happy to utilize the mechanisms of state government for their own special interests and having the same power they criticize the Democrats for using.

    All the more reason, we need need DIVIDED government to maintain balance. Single party control is more of a power and money grab game, no matter the party.

    NC politics is in a sad sad STATE!

  • RadioDJ Mar 15, 2013

    @bubba, we could tell.

  • Terkel Mar 15, 2013

    melanie3, the taxpayers weren't going to "receive" a park. It's there, it belongs to the State, and it's free to enter and park.

    Why does anyone think anything had to be "done" with the land?

  • rlee1117 Mar 15, 2013

    This was not a last minute deal. This is an investment into the future of Raleigh and NC in the works for decades. The Dix charter for mental healthcare can live on in a more modern, effective campus. We can have both a destination park AND new mental health facilities. If republicons don't block it, of course.

    Send the Dems back to the Capitol!!!

    Again who chose not to fund it and help our mentally Ill. If they could have had both in the same place why did they not do it then when they had the power? NO Excuses!

  • rlee1117 Mar 15, 2013

    Seems like you should have done your homework. The decision to close Dorothea Dix was done a long time ago as there was a distinct lack of funding that was needed to maintain the aging facility.

    Plenty Coups

    So you think this is a reason to break the contract because the Dem chose to not fund the hospital. Does that void the contract since up until last year had people in the hospital there. Now where is your homework? Again it was the Dem. that did not fund it so why did you not holler about that being a contract?

  • Plenty Coups Mar 15, 2013

    nic-"The land was deeded to the state for mental health and Dix should have never been closed in the first place."

    It had to close because of lack of funding!!!!! That's not the issue. Budget cuts, including mental health have consequences.