Today @NCCapitol (March 22): Double voting cases referred to prosecutors, Dix nix bill moves forward
Posted March 22, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Friday, March 22. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.
DOUBLE VOTING: The State Board of Elections is referring five cases of potential double voting to local district attorneys. According to board officials, the people in question may have voted both in North Carolina and Florida.
Details about the cases are limited because they are potential criminal prosecutions, according to Don Wright, general council for the board.
The potential cases came to the board from the Voter Integrity Project, a nonprofit group that uses volunteers to comb through voting records looking for fraud. Out of 33 cases the group brought to the board, Wright said there were nine potential cases of double voting.
"It appears that 4 voter histories in Florida were incorrect," Wright wrote to VIP of the nine potential matches. That leaves five individuals who appear to have voted in both North Carolina and Florida in 2012.
"Prosecution of these cases, just like any other criminal case, is in the discretion of the District Attorney," Wright wrote this week. He declined to say in which counties the suspects lived.
Of note: This incident could fuel the debate as to whether voter ID should be required at the polls. However, since these voters cast ballots in their own names, it seems unlikely that an ID requirement would have prevented these cases.
NO LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS: There are no legislative meetings on the calendar and Gov. Pat McCrory has no public events on his scheduled today.
FRACKING: If you're really jonesing for some Jones Street Action, two committees of the Mining and Energy Commission are meeting today in Sanford at the McSwain Agricultural Center, 2420 Tramway Road. According to a news release, The Compulsory Pooling group meets from 9 a.m. until noon. The Local Government Regulations group meets from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
From a news release: "On Friday, the Compulsory Pooling Study Group will be exploring the issues surrounding compulsory pooling, which refers to joining leased and unleased tracts of land so there is sufficient acreage to form a drilling unit for natural gas extraction. The Local Government Regulation Study Group plans to discuss setback requirements, noise and light restrictions, property rights and other local government regulations related to oil and gas exploration and development."
Goodmon: This doesn't make sense DIX: Senate committee advanced legislation Thursday morning that would void Raleigh's lease of the Dorothea Dix site. An amended version of Senate Bill 334 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on a voice vote and is expected to go to the full Senate next week. It is on Monday night calendar.
Republican lawmakers criticized the deal, which they said didn't provide the state with a fair return. They also said it would end up costing taxpayers money because state Department of Health and Human Services offices at the site would have to be moved.
"This was a lame-duck deal done by a lame-duck governor," said Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union, one of the sponsors of the bill.
Debate over the measure sparked some tense words in committee Thursday.
"We have a lease, and you guys are backing out on the lease," said Jim Goodmon, who came to the committee to testify on behalf of Dix Visionaries, a group of local business and community leaders who've been raising money to develop the property as a park. Goodmon is president and Chief executive of Capitol Broadcasting Co., the parent company of WRAL-TV and WRAL.com.
Apadoca: I felt threatened "The notion that you can come in and take a lease, just say, 'Well, we – nope, we're not going to do it – is remarkable. I mean, you should hear yourselves saying that," he said. "There's no business person in this state that would agree with you with what you're doing.
Goodman's remarks rankled Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson.
"I feel like we've been somewhat intimidated by the press here today with the comments made by Capitol Broadcasting," Apodaca, R-Henderson, said hotly. "I will not be threatened at the General Assembly. That is wrong."
Goodmon returned to the public microphone to respond, but Apodaca cut him off, rising out of his committee seat, moving toward Goodmon as if to confront him.
"I felt threatened by you, sir, when you said your ownership of Capitol Broadcasting," Apodaca continued.
IF YOU MISSED IT: In other news from Thursday:
UNC: Lawmakers are considering the possibility of eliminating one or two campuses in the University of North Carolina system, a top Senate budget-writer said Thursday.Sen. Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he and his colleagues are more concerned about how money for higher education is spent than the actual size of the appropriation. Lawmakers want to trim duplicative programs across UNC campuses, which Brunstetter said could reduce the overall system's footprint. "I think our members definitely envision that there could be some consolidation between campuses, and we might need to go from 16 down to 15, 14, something like that," he said.
RECOUNT: An error in tallying ballots led to the state House naming at least one person to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors who didn't win the seat.
TAXES: A tax reform bill filed by Sen. Dan Clodfelter, D-Mecklenburg, is getting praise from Republican leaders, including the chief GOP tax drafter in the state Senate. Clodfelter's 57-page rewrite of the state tax code lowers tax rates in exchange for broadening the base, which is policy-speak for taxing more things. Individual and corporate income tax rates would drop to 6 percent. Sales taxes would also drop, but they would be applied to some services that aren't taxed.
PINK: When the state Division of Motor Vehicles begins issuing driver's licenses to young illegal immigrants next week, the licenses won't bear a pink stripe that has caused outrage among immigrants, their advocates and some lawmakers.
TOLLING: North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata says toll roads can't be ruled out as an way to help pay for future transportation projects. "You have to talk about tolling as an option across the state as we look at how we're going to generate funds for future projects," Tata told area business leaders Thursday morning at an annual breakfast meeting of the Regional Transportation Alliance.
SWEEPS: North Carolina's crippled video sweepstakes industry says it'll keep asking lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory to consider legislation to regulate and tax their games despite a gambling scandal in Florida.
PANTHERS: A bill that would allow Charlotte to use a pair of tourism-related taxes to help fund improvements to Bank of America Stadium play got a little more complicated Thursday morning. Under the revised bill, the city would be able to pay for traffic control improvements around the stadium. Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg, said lawmakers rejected another request from the team that tax funds be able to assist with marketing.
MIDWIVES: "A bill making it’s way through legislative committees would give certified nurse-midwives more latitude in their practices," reports North Carolina Health News.