Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Friday, May 24. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
CALENDAR: The House and Senate will meet for skeleton sessions on Friday morning. No legislative work will take place and lawmakers will be off until Tuesday.
On Tuesday House lawmakers will take up a full committee calendar. Senate leaders said Thursday they did not expect committees to meet on Tuesday.
PROGRAM NOTES: Monday is Memorial Day. @NCCapitol's "The Wrap" and Today @ memo will return on Tuesday.
Over the Weekend, On the Record will have more from anchor David Crabtree's interview with Gov. Pat McCrory. And Crabtree will speak with Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane about some of the challenges cities face from legislation moving at the General Assembly.
The Wrap @NCCapitol (May 23) WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker retreat to the friendly confines of Studio E to review Thursday's news from the legislature in The Wrap @NCCapitol.
SENATE BUDGET: The state Senate finished debate on its $20.6 billion budget Thursday, voting 33-17 to send the measure to the state House.
THE HOUSE'S TURN: Now that the governor and the state Senate have weighed in, House lawmakers will have a chance to draft their version of the budget.
House Republicans were tepid in their response to the Senate plan Thursday.
"We look forward to a very strong and productive conference with the Senate," said Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake. Speaking with reporters after session on Thursday, Dollar said that House and Senate leaders shared similar goals, such as education reform, but may not have exactly the same ideas of how to get there.
Dollar, the senior budget chair in the House, said it would take his colleagues "roughly three weeks" to produce their spending plan.
And as with the Senate, Dollar said the House would not include details of a tax reform plan in the budget bill. Although that will delay some wrangling, tax reform will loom over the budget process. That's because how much money the state has to spend depends on how much it will raise. Thus far, the House and Senate tax reform plans are divided on how much money they raise.
"There seems to be some discord, some dissonance in there one way or another," observed Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, who was a budget chairman when Democrats controlled the chamber. He pointed out that the Senate included dozens of policy bills in the budget, larding in items on which the two chambers disagree.
"Many of the thing things that are in there they disagreed on last year in last year's budget...There's going to be a big fight," Michaux said.
BRAWLEY: In an email to House colleagues, Rep. Robert Brawley, R-Iredell, said that it wasn't his choice to publicly air his grievances with House Speaker Thom Tillis this week. Brawley surrendered his position as co-chairman of the House Finance Committee Wednesday by way of a letter that blistered Tillis's leadership. He followed up that letter Thursday with an email that read in part, "During a discussion of our differences, he said he wanted me to return my gavel and no longer serve as a chair of finance. I accepted and as he requested gave him a letter I had been working on to discuss with him privately but he wanted it read into the journal. I apologize for any discomfort caused any of you and would have preferred not to air our differences."
Governor, Raleigh mayor discuss Dix lease DIX: Gov. Pat McCrory and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane on Thursday asked the General Assembly to give the city and state about 10 months to rework an agreement for the Dorothea Dix property, but a leading Senate lawmaker balked at that idea. McCrory and McFarlane essentially endorsed a House-drafted bill that would reset negotiations between the city and the state, and give Raleigh the right of first refusal to buy the Governor Morehead School property. "The purpose of the Senate's bill was to put the state on equal negotiating footing with the city of Raleigh. Instead the executive branch has ceded more ground," Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger said in a statement.
AG GAG: "You may be wondering what a meat-eating conservative Republican like me is doing in a PETA video," Republican pundit Mary Matalin says in a video for the animal rights group. Matlin said she was appearing in opposition to a so-called "ag-gag" bill, that would curb the use of undercover video to film animal cruelty at big factory farms meat processing facilities. "I want animals on farms to be treated in accordance with the law," Matalin says in the video, which features video from undercover videos of the kind that North Carolina's pending bill would thwart. The Senate bill is not on a list of measure that remains eligible for consideration this session, but it is possible the language could find its way into another measure.