@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Tuesday Wrap: No votes doesn't mean no news

Posted May 5, 2015

— The House and the Senate didn't vote on any legislation Tuesday, but plenty of action took place outside the Legislative Building.

The Council of State unanimously approved the $52 million sale of the 308-acre Dorothea Dix property to Raleigh, which wants to convert the former mental hospital site to a destination park. The city has until the end of the year to come up with the money to close the deal.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced that North Carolina employers had finished paying off the $2.75 billion borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment claims during the recession. Federal taxes went up on businesses until the debt was paid off, and lawmakers two years ago cut jobless benefits to help speed up the pay-down process.

In the Legislative Building, the House Transportation Committee reviewed a plan to use higher fees and taxes to pay for road maintenance instead of relying solely on the gas tax. A provision that would have charged a tax on auto insurance premiums was removed from the bill.

Opposition to a bill that would eliminate a state background check on buyers in private gun sales generated concern from law enforcement and a mothers group, and plans to discuss the bill that includes that provision in a House committee on Wednesday morning were scuttled.

In an abbreviated House session, Speaker Tim Moore said he expects the chamber's budget to be rolled out in a couple of weeks, but he couldn't say when appropriations subcommittees would debate sections of the spending plan.

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