Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Wednesday, May 8. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.
BACK FROM THE GRAVE: "Dead bills" have a way of coming back at the NCGA, and this year's first Zombie legislation may be Senate Bill 10. That was the proposal to revamp state boards and commissions that was sponsored by Senator Tom Apodaca. After a contentious conference process, the House decided not to concur on the final version after discovering that it would have kept two McCrory appointees from accepting positions as special Superior Court judges. After that vote, Apodaca said he wasn't interested in going back to the negotiating table with the House for another try on S10.
The new version, House Bill 1011, was filed as a House Rules committee bill. Like Senate Bill 10, it too is titled "Government Reorganization and Efficiency Act. It looks much like S 10 except it does not include the language with regard to judges and does not include the sections that would have swept and remade the Utilities Commission and the state Elections Board.
"Little 10," as House Rules Chairman Tim Moore dubbed it, is subject to crossover.
PERSONNEL: Gov. Pat McCrory says he needs more flexibility in hiring and firing state workers. "One item that we're looking at is the state personnel act and legislation that would give us more flexibilities, including new (ways) to help promote and give incentives to employees who are doing good jobs and at the same time deal with employees who aren't doing good jobs," McCrory said at the end of Tuesday's Council of State meeting.
Those potential changes to the State Personnel Act worry lobbyists with SEANC, who say it would make more state workers subject to the whims of political leaders. The House State Personnel Committee is expected to deal with a bill that makes the changes McCrory is looking for today at noon.
WRAL.com will carry the meeting live. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
HOUSE FLOOR: The state House is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Bills on the calendar include a measure that would require teens to get notarized written approval from a parent before a doctor or other provider could diagnose, treat or even counsel anyone under 18 for mental health or substance abuse. Parental approval would also be required for contraception, pregnancy care and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
The measure would be the nation's strictest law on medical care for teenagers."We make (teens) wait till they're 18 to buy cigarettes, 21 to buy alcohol," Whitmire told the House Health and Human Services committee Tuesday. "With the particular items that are very serious, that threaten their health, they certainly need a parental figure."
Opponents told the committee that lawmakers would be cutting off access to medical care for a certain section of teenagers.
"You're going to eliminate a certain subsection of patients with either substance abuse or who have been subject to child abuse, physical abuse or even emotional disturbance that are not going to be able to come seek care because they can't do it in confidence,” Dr. John Rusher said.
WRAL.com will carry the House Session live. Check the Video Central box on our home page. Other items on the calendar include a second debate and vote on repealing North Carolina's estate tax and a bill that would limit the terms of top legislative leaders.
SENATE FLOOR: The state Senate will meet at 2 p.m. The chamber is scheduled to take up a bill regulating the sale of e-cigarettes. It is also scheduled to hear a bill that subjects administrative rules put in place by state agencies to periodic review by the state's Rules Review Commission.
COMMITTEES: For a complete listing of today's committees, please see the main @NCCapitol page. Among the highlights:
House Finance (8:30 a.m. | 544 LOB): Among the bills on the committee calendar is a measure that would give the families of students with disabilities a tax credit for sending their children to a non-public school.
Senate Education (10 a.m. | 544 LOB): The committee takes up bills affirming the rights of students to pray at school and the rights of certain university student organizations to manage their own affairs and leadership, a measure aimed at allowing religiously affiliated groups greater latitude in managing their affairs. WRAL.com will carry the meeting live. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
House Judiciary B (10 a.m. | 421 LOB): The committee is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. and again after the conclusion of the House floor session today. More than a dozen bills have been noticed, including measures that repeal the state's motorcycle helmet law, regulate puppy mills and forbid executing criminals with severe mental illness.
House Commerce (10 a.m. | 643 LOB): The committee will take up a measure that would roll back energy efficiency building requirements for new homes to standards as they existed in 2009.
Senate Health (11 a.m. | 544 LOB): Committee members will take up a bill that will allow county jails to use Medicaid funds to pay for inmate health care. Lawmakers are also expected to take up a bill that would require the notion that having an abortion leads to future health risks for women in the school health curriculum. WRAL.com will carry the meeting live. Check the Video Central box on our home page.
House Elections (1 p.m. | 643 LOB): Lawmakers are expected to take up a measure that would repeal the literacy test for voters that is still a part of the state constitution. Another measure on the calendar would make judicial races partisan again. The committee is also expected to take up a measure that would require more campaigns to report their fundraising and spending electronically.
IN THE NEWS: Among the stories we were following Tuesday were:
THE HOUSE TUESDAY... passed bills requiring more aggressive clean up of voter rolls, allowing for in-stand sales of beer at athletic events and trimming the number of children eligible for state-funded pre-K.
TAXES: Republican state Senate leaders on Tuesday outlined more details of their plan to remake the state's tax code, although they did not roll out a bill or much of the material that accompanies a typical finance measure. "We have drafts. We don't have a final bill," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said. "One of the reasons we don't have a final bill is a lot of this stuff continues to be moving. The projections that we have initially received from our fiscal folks are being modified as a result of (April tax collections)."
GUNS: As the state House gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that would expand the number of places in North Carolina where people can carry concealed weapons, some business owners expressed reservations about the idea. House Bill 937 would allow permit holders to have concealed weapons on greenways and bike trails, at sporting events and in businesses that serve alcohol. Also, concealed weapons could be locked in vehicles on community college and university campuses.
CHARTERS: Charter schools and all other publicly funded schools would be overseen by two different boards under a bill that cleared the state Senate Tuesday. The bill also adjusts other provisions of the state's charter law, including a requirement that school districts lease would-be charter schools unused property but does not include provisions that the publicly funded schools provide transportation or free and reduced price lunches to needy students.
MISSING CHILDREN: Five years after Florida toddler Caylee Anthony disappeared and was later found dead, North Carolina lawmakers on Tuesday approved legislation that would make it a crime not to report a missing child in a timely manner. Caylee's Law now heads to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.
DEATH TAX: North Carolina's estate tax would end under a proposal the House tentatively approved Tuesday. House Bill 101 would immediately repeal the tax often derided by critics as "the death tax" because it taxes inheritances passed from wealthy individuals to their surviving family members.
ABORTION: Doctors could be sued if they perform an abortion on a woman who sought the procedure because of the sex of her baby under a bill that cleared the House on a 79-40 vote Tuesday. The measure now goes to the state Senate.
AG GAG: A bill that would make it harder for journalists and advocacy groups to investigate factory farms cleared the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday. The bill combines several different measures, including limitations on when the Attorney General can hire outside lawyers and requiring those hires to be better disclosed. However, the part of the measure that got the most discussion deals with what its sponsors say is employment fraud.
NOTED: News of note from other outlets include:
Asheville Citizen-Times: The Asheville City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to sue North Carolina to block a looming forced merger of its water system with the Metropolitan Sewerage District.
Stateline:: State Sen. Bob Rucho wants to unlock North Carolina’s oil and gas resources — and soon. It’s hard to ignore the daily buzz about shale-rich states flush with cash, putting the U.S. on track to become the world’s largest oil producer by decade’s end....But first, lawmakers and regulators here have plenty of questions to answer, including one that has become a major sticking point: What will happen to millions of gallons of chemical-laced water left behind by drillers?Wastewater disposal is one of many challenges facing a state with no history of fossil fuel production. Even as they move toward lifting the ban, lawmakers here have been busy cobbling together regulations to protect the public and the environment.
Fayetteville Observer: North Carolina NAACP President William Barber urged Baptist church pastors on Tuesday to join efforts to fight a wave of state lawmaking that he thinks threatens the poor, public education and voting rights.
And finally...The Associated Press notes that the Appalachian Trail runs all the way to Capitol Hill.