Today @NCCapitol (March 28): McCrory makes public safety appointments and a "Blue" debate

Posted March 28, 2013

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Thursday, March 28. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.

MCCRORY: Gov. Pat McCrory will announce his picks to head the Highway Patrol, the Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement, and State Capitol Police today at 10 a.m. 

In February, the State Capitol Police's acting police chief and a sergeant under his command have been fired following an internal investigation into secondary employment practices.

As for ALE, the division has most recently come under criticism from the state auditor's office for the use of official state vehicles and the agency's aggressive response to that audit. In an unrelated move, ALE Director John Ledford demoted himself to field agent shortly before McCrory took office in anticipation of new leadership being appointed. 

Although the Highway Patrol has had its problems in the not too distant past, the most recent high profile story involving the agency has to do with a acting bravely after being shot during a routine traffic stop.  Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan recently named Lt. Col. Gary Bell as acting commander of the patrol.

The Wrap @NCCapitol (March 27) The Wrap @NCCapitol (March 27) WRAL.com will carry this news conference live from the historic State Capitol building at 10 a.m. Check the Video Central box on the home page. 

WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker review the news from the legislature in Wednesday's wind-swept edition of The Wrap @NCCapitol.

@NCCAPITOL: Get @NCCapitol in your email every morning. Click the "subscribe" link at the top of any WRAL.com page to subscribe.

IN THE SENATE TODAY: Although the Senate budget subcommittees will hold their usual 8:30 a.m. meetings, the chamber appears to be wrapping up early for the Easter weekend. The full Senate will meet at 11 a.m. with four, mainly technical bills on the calendar. The highest profile of them deals with property tax refunds in Mecklenburg County. 

IN THE HOUSE TODAY: The House has a meatier calendar when lawmakers there meet at noon today. On the agenda is a bill that would end the practice of sending public tax dollars to political parities or candidates in certain judicial races

The chamber will also take up a bill designed to curtail contracts that insurer BlueCross and BlueShield of North Carolina forges with hospitals and other health care providers. The measure would prohibit  "most favored nation" clauses in contracts. Such provisions require that health providers give a dominant insurance company, such as Blue Cross, rates as good as or better than rates negotiated by competing insurance companies.

Christine Evans, a lobbyist and director of regulatory affairs for the company, told the Judiciary Committee that Blue Cross no longer uses the clauses but argued the state should not outlaw them in case the state's insurance environment changes.

"We think this bill is a little bit like trying to burn down the house to chase the cat out," Evans said. "It really goes much further than intended."

But competing insurers and committee members said there was a still a widespread perception, if not reality, that Blue Cross and Blue Shield was pursuing such contracts. 

WRAL.com will carry the noon state House session live. Check the Video Central box on the home page. 


WEDNESDAY'S ACTION: In other government news Wednesday: 

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  • TheDude abides... Mar 28, 2013

    Leslie and Binker are liberal propagandists. They have ruined WRAL's relevance with NC citizens outside of city limits.