Wednesday Wrap: Getting back to work

Posted March 4, 2015

— After two weeks marked by little action because of inclement weather, lawmakers kicked it into high gear Wednesday, with the House giving tentative approval to bills that would expand North Carolina's business-recruitment incentives and would adjust the formula for calculating the state gas tax.

The debate over the incentives bill focused on the state's effort to attract an auto plant, while the gas tax debate included more semantics over whether it was a tax cut or a tax increase.

Lawmakers took a break between the two debates to hear from Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin, who said he needs $30 million to start to help start the process of unclogging the state court system. Martin also plans to appoint a panel to devise ways to upgrade the courts by 2017, which also is likely to cost money.

A House committee heard from supporters and opponents of a bill that would allow magistrates and staffers in county register of deeds offices to opt out of their duties if they have religious objections to same-sex marriage. There was no word on when the committee would vote on the bill.

A second House committee was divided over a proposal to keep the names of lottery winners secret. Proponents said it was a privacy concern, while opponents said it's a matter of transparency in knowing how the state-run lottery is distributing its funds.


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