NCDP Clips for Monday, January 28, 2013


USA TODAY – Senators reach deal on overhauling immigration
As President Obama prepares to lay out his immigration plan during a speech in Las Vegas on Tuesday, a group of bipartisan senators has reached agreement on a framework to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
The deal will be announced during an afternoon press conference Monday at the U.S. Capitol. The plan addresses border security, the ability of businesses to check a person’s immigration status, a streamlined process for future immigrants to enter the United States and opens a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the country.

THE NEW YORK TIMES – Senators Offer a Bipartisan Blueprint for Immigration
A bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a set of principles for a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system, including a pathway to American citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants that would hinge on progress in securing the borders and ensuring that foreigners leave the country when their visas expire.
The senators were able to reach a deal by incorporating the Democrats’ insistence on a single comprehensive bill that would not deny eventual citizenship to illegal immigrants, with Republican demands that strong border and interior enforcement had to be clearly in place before Congress could consider legal status for illegal immigrants.

CBS NEWS – Key senators agree on sweeping immigration reform
A bipartisan group of leading senators has reached agreement on the principles of sweeping legislation to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws.
The deal, which was to be announced at a news conference Monday afternoon, covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States.
Although thorny details remain to be negotiated and success is far from certain, the development heralds the start of what could be the most significant effort in years toward overhauling the nation’s inefficient patchwork of immigration laws.


WRAL – Legislative agenda starts with tax reform, education policy
The General Assembly has set out to remake the state’s safety net programs for the poor and rewrite North Carolina’s antiquated and exception-riddled tax code with one of the least experienced group of lawmakers in living memory.
More than 100 of the 170 House and Senate members did not serve in state office just three years ago, marking the state’s biggest legislative turnover since the 1970s.

NBC 17 – NC General Assembly session at a glance
A look at North Carolina’s 2013 General Assembly, which begins in earnest Wednesday.
ALREADY HERE: The General Assembly met Jan. 9 to elect House and Senate leaders and approve chamber operating rules. Legislators approved the one-day session last summer as a time- and cost-saving measure based on the idea that lawmakers would swiftly get to work upon reconvening. House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, each were re-elected unanimously to second two-year terms leading their respective chambers.
WHO’S ARRIVED: Republicans now outnumber Democrats 77-43 in the House, or a nine-seat GOP increase compared with the 2011-12 session. Republicans have a 33-17 advantage over Democrats in the Senate, or a net increase of two seats. More than 50 legislators this year are freshmen or are returning after absences. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who succeeded Democrat Beverly Perdue, will be the chief executive, receiving bills to sign and negotiating with legislators over the budget and other issues. New GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Forest will preside over Senate debate.
FIRST UP: Tillis said he expects that the first legislation approved will make clear that group homes can tap into nearly $40 million over the next five months to help them deal with Medicaid service rate reductions for their residents with mental illness or developmental disabilities.

THE DAILY HERALD – NC lawmaker foresees anti-abortion measures ahead
Proposals that would exclude abortion coverage from federal health insurance exchanges and outlaw abortions based on gender preferences may go before lawmakers in the N.C. General Assembly in the upcoming session, a state lawmaker says.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports ( that Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam said a law is being drafted to remove abortions from the health care exchange. He said lawmakers also will need to consider a similar bill to ban abortions based on sex selection.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – Voter ID likely to pass; will photo be needed?
The legislature seems poised to once again pass a voter identification bill, legislation that has sharpened partisan lines and sparked heated debate regarding voter fraud and voting rights.
The GOP-controlled legislature passed a bill in 2011 requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls, only to have Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue veto it. That won’t be a problem this year, because Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has voiced his support for such a measure.
But it is still not clear what form the voter ID bill will take.


NEWS & OBSERVER – A flawed vision from North Carolina’s GOP leader
Phil Berger, president pro-tem of the N.C. Senate and the Republican leader, is a soft-spoken, easy-to-smile, good-humored veteran of his party’s often futile wars with long-dominant Democrats. How Berger managed to maintain his gentle nature during all those years when Democrats rolled over the GOP with nary a “ ’scuse me” is a wonder.
Maybe he knew that one day, there would be payback. That day has arrived, and unfortunately Berger’s announced agenda for his chamber in this, his second session as the pro-tem, reflects a desire to engage in shortsighted partisanship.

The Reflector – Editorial: Drop food tax idea
There is little doubt that the North Carolina General Assembly intends to consider ways to overhaul the state’s tax code, though legislative leaders have thus far been coy about the specific changes they intend to pursue. Last week, however, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger offered a glimpse behind the curtain in predicting much lower individual income and corporate taxes — and perhaps their elimination.
While North Carolina should address areas of the tax code adversely affecting North Carolina’s competitiveness, Berger intimated that lawmakers might pursue expansion of the sales tax that could include a levy on food. While the Legislature is correct to examine all aspects of taxation, it should not seek to balance its books on the backs of the least fortunate, as a food tax attempts to do.


Clay Pittman
Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @ClayPittman