Today @NCCapitol (May 14): Lawmakers return amid sound, fury and a budget proposal

Posted May 14, 2014

Welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Wednesday, May 14. Here's what's going on in state government today: 

FIRST UP: A legislative committee that put House-Senate differences on display Tuesday is scheduled to take a last stab this morning at a measure designed to curb new mandates that insurance companies cover certain conditions or treatments. Researchers hoping to develop blood test to judge autism risk Autism coverage stalls legislative vote against Affordable Care Act

The Joint Study Committee on the Affordable Care Act and Implementation Issues was supposed to wrap up work Tuesday, but its main recommendation to the General Assembly riled parents of children with autism. Those parents worried that the bill could derail efforts to require insurers to cover certain behavioral therapies. 

Senate leaders favored the bill as is, but House members on the committee deprived it of a quorum twice yesterday to block the measure. A compromise that exempts autism-related conditions from the moratorium has been crafted and the committee is due to take a final vote at 9:30 a.m. this morning. 

TODAY'S BIG STORY: Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to roll out his budget plan at 1 p.m. Educators, lawmakers, and others will be watching to see how McCrory pays for plans to give both teachers and rank-and-file state workers raises amid a $445 million revenue shortfall and continued cost overruns in the Medicaid program.

WRAL.com will live stream the announcement at 1 p.m. Check the Video Central box on the home page .

TODAY'S CALENDAR: Other meetings and events we're tracking today include: 

NAACP, 9 a.m. – Leaders of the NAACP, the driving force behind the Moral Monday movement, hold a news conference outside the legislative building. (WRAL.com will carry live.) 

AFL/CIO, 10 a.m. – Union groups are organizing a "pots and pans" protest to noisily demonstrate dissatisfaction with the General Assembly's policies. 

NCAE, 10:15 a.m. – NCAE, the largest teachers' group in the state, hold a news conference at the state Department of Public Instruction, to lay out their priorities. The groups will hold events throughout the day, including a 4:30 p.m. "March to the Capitol." 

House Republicans, 10:30 a.m. – State House Speaker Thom Tillis and other House Republican leaders will lay out their agenda for the coming short session. (WRAL.com will carry live.)

HOUSE AND SENATE, Noon – Both the House and Senate formally return to work today, however neither chamber has any heaving lifting on their agenda. Lawmakers are scheduled to honor this year's inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (WRAL.com will carry proceedings in the House live.) 

LAST MINUTE MONEY: Before lawmakers settled down to work today, Republicans and Democrats alike held fundraisers Tuesday night aimed at stocking their coffers for the fall campaigns, reports the Charlotte Observer. Ethics laws prohibit lawmakers from taking money from those with interests pending before the General Assembly when they are officially in session. 

MONDAY'S TAKE: Stories we were following Monday included: 

TAXES: The General Assembly's Revenue Law Study Committee recommended that the General Assembly levy an excise tax on electronic cigarettes. 

PANTHERS: The Carolina Hurricanes Hockey team and Charlotte Panthers football team asked lawmakers Tuesday to back off a plan to require that sales taxes on game tickets be paid at the time of purchase. The teams said they only book revenue from the purchase once the games are played. Paying the state its cut at the time of sale, they said, would be an administrative headache. 

DEMOCRATS: {{a href"blogpost-6"}}Top Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday{{/a}} that Republican legislative leaders need to step up during the session that starts Wednesday and work hard to address the issues of low teacher pay and leaky coal ash ponds.

MAGISTRATES: Forty magistrates from across North Carolina sued the state Tuesday, alleging that going years without raises amounts to a breach of contract and violates their constitutional rights.

BRIDGE: The latest twist in the tortuous plan to replace the Bonner Bridge took place Tuesday in Virginia, where a three-judge panel heard arguments from the North Carolina Department of Transportation and environmental groups.

IN POLITICS: Final vote totals from various counties to the State Board of Elections on Tuesday show that pop singer Clay Aiken has captured the Democratic primary in the 2nd Congressional District. The victory was tempered, though, because Aiken's chief Democratic rival, former Commerce Sec. Keith Crisco, died this week after a fall at his home in Randolph County.

FROM THE WIRES: The Associated Press reports: 

GREENVILLE, N.C. — A new task force announced by Gov. Pat McCrory will try to reduce underage drinking and substance abuse in North Carolina.

McCrory signed an executive order Tuesday creating the Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking Prevention and Treatment Task Force at East Carolina University in Greenville.

According to the governor's office. ECU is one of six state universities participating in a pilot program which will focus on prevention, treatment and enforcement.

The taskforce will include members from multiple state agencies, including the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission and the UNC system and build on past efforts to crack down on businesses that sell alcohol illegally.

McCrory said substance abuse often starts in a person's youth, which is why the state is targeting its efforts on early intervention and treatment.

WE HARDLY KNEW YE: Longtime Capitol Press Association Columnist Scott Mooneyham is leaving journalism to go to work for the North Carolina League of Municipalities as the League’s advocacy communications strategist. Mooneyham is a former Associated Press writer who has been editor of "The Insider" for the past decade.


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  • goldenosprey May 14, 2014

    View quoted thread

    If you don't like history, re-write it.

    My taxes went UP after the tax cut for the rich was enacted.

    NC was in the middle when it came to teacher pay and our results were better than most of the solid red south until 1) a republican president drove our economy and hence, tax collections off a cliff, 2) republicans took over NC gov and decided there was money for tax cuts but not teachers.

  • tracmister May 14, 2014

    Tax, tax, tax; is that all the Democrats do? Wait, these are Republicans!

  • teleman60 May 14, 2014

    View quoted thread

    There's flights to Russia available for those who have your views, please contact RDU ASAP.

    PS: only fools toy with such rhetoric and real fools with wasting tax dollars enacting Unconstitutional laws to make themselves feel powerful when in reality all it shows is your lack of education and propensity toward being a bully.

    PPS: the tax cut you are so happy about has left the state with a $400 million shortfall as LEAST!! Just like every other red state that cut taxes and then is facing credit downgrades - NJ, Ark, Iowa, Michigan, PA, Kansas...

  • 68_dodge_polara May 14, 2014

    "Top Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday that Republican legislative leaders need to step up during the session that starts Wednesday and work hard to address the issues of low teacher pay and leaky coal ash ponds."

    Why are they suddenly asking the Republicans to fix the problems they have caused while in control for so many years? Sounds a bit hypocritical. It will be nice to see them finally fix the issues for them though.

  • Obamacare returns again May 14, 2014

    Who cares.....

  • icdumbpeople May 14, 2014

    NAACP, 9 a.m. – Leaders of the NAACP, the driving force behind the Moral Monday movement, hold a news conference outside the legislative building. (WRAL.com will carry live.)

    Comedy show starts at 9 am

  • arfamr1009 May 14, 2014

    I hope the GA passes a state religion and allows open carry anywhere...just to tick off the ultra-libs. I'm sick of pandering to their extremist agendas...time to take our country back!! They already lowered taxes on 49% of north carolinians (everyone who pays state income taxes), and yet somehow these progressive-extremists are somehow twisting that into a bad thing. They've also laid out a plan to increase teacher pay to get us out of the 140yr democrat dark ages and again, somehow it is a bad thing. It seems that dems want to keep our teachers poor.

  • censorbait May 14, 2014

    I can say with certainty that the vast majority of North Carolinians are sick of William Barber and his race baiting grandstanding.