Today @NCCapitol (May 14): More arrests Monday night as Crossover week begins
Posted May 14, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, May 14. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
ARRESTS: Police arrested 49 people during the latest "Moral Monday" protest at the General Assembly last night. The protests, lead by the NAACP and other liberal groups, are aimed at drawing attention to what protest leaders call "ultra conservative" social and economic legislation backed by Republican leaders.
LATE NIGHT: The House and Senate met will into the night last night. In the Senate, lawmakers gave okays to bills that could block high-end electric car maker Tesla from selling directly to customers in this state and inserting language regarding abortion in the the public school health curriculum. House lawmakers voted largely along party lines Monday night in favor of two bills that would limit the power of cities and counties to inspect housing, require emissions reductions, or allow union dues deductions.
The Wrap @NCCapitol (May 13): Crossover Monday WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker catch up on more action from the first day of Crossover Week in Monday night's edition of The Wrap @NCCapitol.
ROADS: North Carolina's Department of Transportation is looking to collect more ideas on ways to pay to upgrade Interstate 95, including hearing about the possible cost to businesses of charging tolls. The DOT held the first of four public hearings Monday in Smithfield. Others are scheduled for Tuesday in Wilson and next week in Lumberton and Weldon.
REDISTRICTING: Attorneys in North Carolina's redistricting lawsuits will return to court early next month because a three-judge panel wants to hear more evidence before deciding on the legality of boundaries drawn by Republican legislators.
HOUSE AND SENATE SCHEDULES: The House and Senate will both convene before 10 a.m. this morning but they won't take up any business right away. Rather, by opening with skeleton sessions early in the day, lawmakers will be able to shuffle bills quickly between committees and process legislation more quickly. Floor sessions are expected to begin at 2 p.m. this afternoon.
Lawmakers are taking those steps because it they are approaching Thursday's "Crossover" deadline, by which bills that don't raise or spend money must pass either the House or Senate to remain eligible for consideration.
The House is expected to take up measures that require more reporting of the money raised and spent by independent groups in elections and requiring more candidates submit finance reports electronically. The Senate is expected to take up a measure that would ensure those who refuse to submit to certain sobriety tests during a traffic stop lose their license immediately rather than holding onto it while their case is on appeal.
However, both chambers will likely handle legislation that is not yet listed on their calendars.
COMMITTEES: Both the House and Senate will have the ability to call committee meetings throughout the day and a House leaders have explicitly said they plan to call meetings late in the day. For a full schedule of committee meetings as they were originally listed, please see the main @NCCapitol page. Highlights of meetings already planned for today include:
House Appropriations (8:30 a.m. | 643 LOB): The committee will take up a number of bills, including a measure that expands scholarship grants for students with disabilities who attend private school and another that creates a tax credit for businesses who hire people in certain Department of Labor apprenticeship programs.
House Finance (8:30 a.m. | 544 LOB): The committee is schedule to look at a number of bills, including one that would allow people to pay extra taxes toward certain programs that they favor.
Senate Agriculture (11 a.m. | 544 LOB): Lawmakers will take up a bill that will limit the ability of local governments to pass restrictions on smoking. WRAL.com will carry the meeting live. Check the Video Central box on the home page.
House Transportation (Noon | 643 LOB): The committee will look at alternatives to tolling for funding coastal ferries.
MONDAY NIGHT: Other stories we were following Monday include:
BUILDING CODES: A bid to repeal the state's 2012 energy conservation building codes passed the House Commerce Committee Monday, but only after a big change. House Bill 201 would set aside the most recent code, returning to the less-stringent 2009 codes. But an amendment passed on the House floor removed residential construction from the rollback.
DISTILLERY SALES: A proposal to allow liquor distilleries to sell their products on premises has been turned into a study bill. In its original form, House Bill 842 would have allowed patrons who had completed a tour of a distillery to purchase a bottle of the product at the same price as at an ABC store, with all applicable taxes.
GRAND JURIES: Prosecutors would be able to convene grand juries to investigate white collar crimes, including public corruption cases, under a bill that was rewritten in House Judiciary Committee B Monday. Such a measure has long been sought by prosecutors such as Attorney General Roy Cooper and Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby.
LEED: A bill sought by North Carolina's forest products industry has cleared the House despite opposition by legislators worried it could harm a Charlotte-based steel company. The House gave its final approval Monday evening to legislation making clear no taxpayer-funded project could use a green-building rating system in which North Carolina forestry products are at a disadvantage compared to imported lumber.
DEVELOPMENT: A bill abolishing regional economic development commissions has received initial approval from the North Carolina Senate.
GUNS: Police departments and other law enforcement agencies would not be able to destroy confiscated guns that are still in good working order under a bill passed by the House Judiciary Subcommittee B. The measure, House Bill 714, says departments may sell or auction weapons, use them for training or otherwise re-purpose them, but may not destroy a gun if it is legal to own and in good working order.
LITERACY TEST: House lawmakers have given unanimous approval to ask voters to amend the constitution in 2014 to remove a relic of the state's racially divided past. Article VI, Section 4 of the North Carolina constitution still says, "Every person presenting himself for registration shall be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language."
E-CIGARETTES: North Carolina Health News reports that "bill are making their way through both the House and Senate sides of the General Assembly that would ban minors from smoking electronic cigarettes. But the bill has other effects too....If passed as currently written, it would exclude e-cigarettes from being regulated as a tobacco product."