Today @NCCapitol (July 20): Focus turns to finishing budget

Posted July 20, 2015

NC Legislative Building

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, July 20. Here's what's going on at the General Assembly and elsewhere in state government.

SENATE COMMITTEES: There may be no budget deal in sight yet, but at least one annual sign that lawmakers are hoping to wind up their work for the session emerged in the Senate chamber last week.

"Our intent is to wrap up committees a week from Thursday – I believe that will be the 23rd – and maybe get home sometime this year," Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, told his colleagues last Wednesday.

That deadline would be this Thursday.

Toward the end of every legislative session, top leaders in the House and the Senate order their committee chairmen to stop holding hearings. That curbs the flow of bills headed to the floor and, in a year like this one, allows negotiators to focus on unfinished major pieces of legislation, such as the budget, Medicaid reform and an economic development bill.

There has not been a similar announcement in the House, although House Speaker Tim Moore did tell reporters recently that he expected most noncontroversial pieces of lawmaking to wrap up by the end of this week.

SPEAKING OF THE BUDGET: Gov. Pat McCrory visited with Republican lawmakers in both the House and the Senate last Thursday. Although the governor passed up the opportunity to tell reporters what he might have been urging legislators to do on both occasions, others in the meeting used words like "frank discussion" and "laying it all on the table" to describe McCrory's pitch on the budget, transportation bonds and economic development bills. That said, nobody emerged from those meetings saying that any major breakthrough had been reached.

THE COMMITTEE WE'RE WATCHING TODAY: The Senate Redistricting Committee is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. to discuss a bill that will move the 2016 presidential primary to March 15. The date of the primary has been a point of contention because, as currently scheduled, it would be in violation of national Republican and Democratic party rules by being too early in the year. WRAL.com plans to carry the hearing live at 4 p.m.

HOUSE: House lawmakers are scheduled to take up a bill that would require legislative approval before Confederate monuments could be removed from state property. WRAL.com plans to carry the session live at 7 p.m.

SENATE: Senators are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. to take up, among other items, a bill requiring the state's chief medical examiner to set up a training program for his or her deputies to help identify sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

THE GOVERNOR: McCrory is scheduled to attend quarterly meetings of the Republican Governors Association in Aspen, Colo., Monday through Wednesday. A news release from his office says the governor will participate in a panel titled "A Conversation with Republican Governors: What the Future Holds.”

GROUNDWATER HEARING: The Environmental Management Commission will hold the first of two hearings on proposed changes to North Carolina's groundwater rules. The proposed changes include stepped-up notification requirements for when contamination is discovered. The hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. in the Ground Floor Hearing Room of the Archdale Building, 512 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh.


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