Today @NCCapitol (March 24): Vouchers, vaccines and tax credits

Posted March 24, 2015

NC Flag, Legislative Building, Raleigh

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, March 24. Here's what's going on at the state legislature and around state government.

Tuesday is shaping up to be a very busy day, with big bills moving through various committees all day.

VOUCHERS: House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are planning a joint press conference with students and parents who have benefited from the state's Opportunity Scholarship school vouchers. The bill creating the program is still pending before the state Supreme Court WRAL.com will carry the news conference live at 1 p.m.

TAX CREDITS AND INCENTIVES: Senate leaders will hear a proposal by Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, to add $5 million to the JDIG business-recruitment incentives program for use through the end of June. Both Gov. Pat McCrory and Commerce Secretary John Skvarla have said the fund is depleted for the current fiscal year, and that they need more money to lure in potential new employers. This is the companion bill to the larger economic development plan Senate leaders rolled out last week. With literally half the Senate signed on as sponsors, it's expected to pass.

Meantime, the House Finance Committee will hear a proposal to renew the state's historic preservation tax credit, as well as a Democrat-backed omnibus economic development bill that includes a reinstated film tax credit, a mill preservation credit and the Job Catalyst fund the governor has been seeking.

VACCINES: Parents opposed to a Senate proposal to remove the religious exemption for schoolchildren's vaccination requirements are expected to gather at the legislature to make their case to lawmakers. That bipartisan-backed bill hasn't yet been scheduled for a committee hearing.

MUNICIPAL POWER BUYOUT: A proposal unveiled last week to help municipal power authorities in 30 North Carolina cities and towns shed $1.8 billion in debt is in the Senate Finance Committee at 1 p.m.. It's expected to pass easily and could be on the Senate floor later Tuesday afternoon.

FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE: A Republican-penned proposal to cover two years of community college tuition for high-school students with high GPAs is before the House Education/Universities committee at 11 a.m. The bill cleared the Community Colleges subcommittee last week. WRAL.com will cover the committee live.

ALSO OF INTEREST: The House Transportation Committee returns to bills on insurance and inspections for mopeds and a potential repeal of the Map Act, while the House Judiciary 2 Committee is scheduled to hear a bill that would allow the Department of Public Safety to keep the name of a juvenile escapee confidential if it deems the escapee poses little threat to others.

ON THE AGENDA: Both chambers meet at 2 p.m. The House is expected to hear a bill that would do away with protest petitions. It was on Monday night's calendar but was rescheduled. They'll also vote on a criminal law omnibus. The Senate has two non-controversial bills on its calendar, but it could add the municipal power debt refinancing or the JDIG bill to the agenda during session.


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