NCDP Clips for Thursday, September 24th
N.C. judge allows voter ID lawsuit to continue (AP) — A judge on Wednesday declined to dismiss a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s photo identification requirement to vote that starts next year, even though lawmakers recently eased the mandate for some without IDs wishing to cast ballots.
Budget keeps TAs, but critics say education still underfunded (Winston-Salem Chronicle) — Critics of the state budget Republican Gov. Pat McCrory recently signed into law say that it continues to underfund education, spending less per pupil than in 2008, and does little to solve the teacher shortage as teachers continue to go to other states or leave the profession. North Carolina is 42nd in the country in teacher pay and 46th in per-pupil expenditures.
How State Budget Compares To McCrory’s Proposal (WUNC-FM) — A long overdue state budget is now in place. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill on Friday, more than six months after he released his own budget proposal. The approval officially ended a stalemate that extended budget negotiations nearly three months beyond the fiscal year deadline. The governor says he got about 90 percent of what he wanted, but a few items were left on the table.
Reinvigorated incentives get final OK at General Assembly (AP) — A package of reinvigorated economic incentives originally sought by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has cleared its last General Assembly hurdle.
House gives final approval to incentives package (Winston-Salem Journal) — A controversial refilling of the state’s biggest economic incentive tool won approval in the N.C. House on Wednesday. The sixth version of House Bill 117, also known as the N.C. Competes Act, passed its third vote by a 79-23 vote after passing 84-24 on Tuesday.
Jobs incentives bill heads to McCrory (Raleigh News & Observer) — The N.C. House took a final 78-24 vote Wednesday to replenish the state’s main incentives fund to recruit jobs, sending the measure to Gov. Pat McCrory.
Bill to Ban Fetal Tissue Sales Advances (N.C. Health News) — A late-session surprise bill would ban the sale, or even donation of fetal tissue, except in the case of miscarriage.
NC bill would ban fetal tissue sale (WRAL-TV) — North Carolina lawmakers are moving to ban to sale of tissue from abortion in the state in reaction to controversial, highly edited videos claiming to expose the practice by Planned Parenthood.
Sales ban on fetal tissue in N.C. OK’d by panel (AP) — A state Senate committee passed a bill Wednesday making it a felony to sell the remains of aborted fetuses, legislation that comes in response to recent undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue for research.
NC Senate takes aim at Planned Parenthood (Raleigh News & Observer) — Bill would ban ‘sale of the remains of an unborn child resulting from abortion’
All North Carolina primaries in March under legislative deal (AP) — North Carolina voters should be prepared to pick their preferred candidates from their favored party earlier this year for all races — not just for president.
Pending bills will mean big changes for NC voters (WRAL-TV) — North Carolina primaries will be moved to a March 15 under a bill previewed by lawmakers Wednesday. A separate bill would label all judicial candidates on a ballot with their partisan affiliation, although elections would remain nonpartisan.
Senate proposes detailed plan for combined March primary (Raleigh News & Observer) — As North Carolina lawmakers look to move up the presidential and statewide primary elections to March 15, everything election-related must move up with it, including the candidate filing period. Candidates would file between Dec. 1-21
Medicaid overhaul in N.C. now officially law (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory says his signature on far-reaching Medicaid legislation is just the beginning of a years-long process to transform the health care program that serves more than one in six North Carolina residents.
Expert Panel Discusses Medicaid Reform (N.C. Health News) — Health care executives discussed what Medicaid reform could mean for providers of behavioral health services, and the role Medicaid expansion could play in getting the reform measure approved.
Five Questions About The North Carolina Medicaid Bill (WFDD-FM) — So what differences can people enrolled in Medicaid expect from the latest “overhaul”? Here are five questions and answers.
McCrory signs Medicaid privatization bill (Raleigh News & Observer) — Gov. Pat McCrory signed a major overhaul of the state’s Medicaid system into law Wednesday.
‘Connect NC’ Borrowing Scheme Passes Senate With No Money For Connections (WFAE-FM) — The N.C. Senate has given their tentative approval to a $2 billion bond plan championed by Gov. Pat McCrory. But a funny thing happened as the bill went from proposal to passage.
NC Senate cuts a third from from McCrory’s borrowing plan (Raleigh News & Observer) The state Senate voted 46-2 Wednesday to schedule a $2 billion borrowing referendum for higher education, parks and other infrastructure next March. The proposal is a much-slimmed-down version of the $3 billion Republican Gov. Pat McCrory requested and doesn’t include the highway and other transportation borrowing he’d sought.
N.C. Senate gives initial OK to $2B borrowing proposal (AP) — What’s being billed as a consensus $2 billion borrowing proposal between North Carolina legislative leaders received strong initial bipartisan support Wednesday from the state Senate.
Senate gives initial OK to infrastructure bonds (WRAL-TV) — The Senate voted 46-2 on Wednesday to give preliminary approval to a plan to put a $2 billion bond proposal before North Carolina voters next March.
Senate’s borrowing package contains nearly $400 million in local projects (Greensboro News & Record) — The Triad-area could see a building boom if state legislators approve a $2 billion statewide bond referendum in the coming days.
$2B borrowing vote would benefit UNC (Durham Herald-Sun) — State legislators are on the way to scheduling a spring referendum on a $2 billion bond package that comes close to promising the UNC system the new capital it’d hoped to get out of the debate. A compromise bill would provide $980 million for projects on 13 of the system’s 17 existing campuses. The figure includes a $45 million discretionary allotment for repairs and renovations on all the campuses.
WCU, parks would get part of $2B state bond issue (Asheville Citizen-Times) — On a nearly unanimous vote, the state Senate on Wednesday tentatively approved a $2 billion bond proposal that could provide nearly $1.3 billion for construction on most University of North Carolina campuses and for all 58 community colleges. In Western North Carolina, proceeds would go to a new science building at Western Carolina University, improvements at community colleges and for repairs, new facilities and land acquisition at state parks and natural areas.
NC legislation takes aim at sanctuary cities (WRAL-TV) — North Carolina would prohibit cities and counties for adopting a "sanctuary" approach toward undocumented immigrants.
NC tax legislation expands options for counties, could help light rail efforts (WRAL-TV) — House Finance Committee members killed a provision that would have allowed cities to raise local sales taxes. Options for supporting education would expand under the measure.
NC Senate looks to add party affiliations in judicial races (Raleigh News & Observer) — Change would affect elections for N.C. Court of Appeals
NC light-rail funding cap draws bipartisan attacks (Raleigh News & Observer) — Urban legislators from both parties are teaming up in a bid to repeal a new provision in state law, enacted last week, that bars the state Department of Transportation from contributing more than $500,000 to any light-rail project.
POLICY & POLITICS
McCrory’s approval in N.C. trails President Obama’s (High Point U. Poll) – Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s job approval rating at 38 percent is even lower than that for Democratic President Barack Obama (41 percent), according to the latest High Point University Poll of North Carolina residents. The bad news for Republican U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis is that their job approval ratings of 26 and 29 percent are even lower than McCrory’s. On a slightly less gloomy side, Obama’s disapproval is at 53 percent compared to 44 percent for McCrory. Full details of the survey are available here.
Ross leaves job, ponders possible N.C. Senate bid (AP) — A potential U.S. Senate candidate says she’s leaving her job as a transit attorney to focus more on deciding whether she’ll get into the Democratic primary and try to unseat Republican incumbent Richard Burr.
Ross resigns to consider U.S. Senate run (WRAL-TV) — Former Democratic state lawmaker Deborah Ross has resigned her position at Triangle Transit Authority to "focus" on a possible 2016 challenge to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr.
Greensboro resident to run for Burr’s U.S. Senate seat (Greensboro News & Record) — Larry Holmquist announces bid against incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of Winston-Salem.
State Treasurer Cowell keynote speaker as ECEC holds first banquet (New Bern Sun Journal) — Eastern Carolina Economic Club, a local organization of women business owners and professionals, held its inaugural banquet at New Bern Riverfront Convention Center on Wednesday, and having State Treasure Janet Cowell as the inaugural keynote speaker was a natural fit.
States Grapple With Public Disclosure of Police Body-Camera Footage (Route 50) — More police officers are wearing body cameras. How and when should the footage be shared with the public?
How lawmakers in Raleigh are putting 1.8 million people at risk (Charlotte Observer) — Gov. Pat McCrory has long resisted expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, despite health care advocates’ contention that the $2 billion-a-year federal infusion would create 43,000 new jobs and save the state $318 million.
Legislators leave NC with tangled incentives plan (Raleigh News & Observer) — Job creation, much ballyhooed by candidate Pat McCrory when he was seeking the governorship, has been decidedly underwhelming since he and fellow Republicans took control of the legislative and executive branches of state government in 2013. (The GOP gained legislative control two years earlier.) The problem has been that Republicans didn’t have any job creation plan except for tax cuts for the wealthy and businesses, a flashback to the failed trickle-down economics of the Reagan era.
McCrory’s borrowing package comes up short, but worth support (Greensboro News & Record) — The legislature’s $2 billion bond proposal may accomplish less for more, but it’s worth supporting anyway. It includes projects worth close to a quarter-billion dollars in Guilford County.
NC budget cuts set back mental health (Raleigh News & Observer) – Eight state regional mental health centers will lose $110 million in funding under the new state budget.
Low-performing schools: Tougher designation raises troubling questions (Winston-Salem Journal) — Just when we thought the state legislature’s treatment of public education couldn’t get any worse, the legislature hits a new low. It has redefined low-performing schools in a manner that greatly increases the number of those schools. But it’s giving no extra money or resources to those schools.
This bipartisan effort should succeed (Wilson Times) — There’s not much to cheer about in gridlocked Washington these days. But U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of Winston-Salem is helping lead a widespread bipartisan conservation effort that must succeed
Back in the incentives games – we hope (Rocky Mount Telegram) — Since we use the words “level playing field” so often when we talk about the competition we face with other states and countries for new jobs and industries, let’s take the cliché one step further to explain North Carolina’s economic recruiting team’s won-loss record.
All the reasons Triangle light rail is a sound choice (Raleigh News & Observer) — Jonathan Parker: The Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project will work fine in Durham and Orange counties because they have the state’s highest share of transit commuters, with an impressive 71,000 bus trips each day, equaling Charlotte’s 2007 pre-light rail bus system.
When conservative Democrats ruled in NC (Raleigh News & Observer column) — The passing this month of former state Sen. Harold Hardison of Deep Run at age 92 is a reminder that the ideological battles fought in the legislature historically did not fall along party lines.