CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS

Mar 23, 2015

NC Politics in the News

Last week, the North Carolina General Assembly considered bills on everything from economic incentives and tax legislation to compulsory childhood vaccinations. In a notable moment, on Wednesday Senate Republican leaders openly feuded with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R-NC) over the governor’s proposed economic development plan.

Economy and Economic Development

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Feud With N.C. Senate Could Cost Gov. Pat McCrory
A week that began with Governor Pat McCrory’s (R-NC) court victory over the General Assembly brought a new clash with Senate Republicans that could lead to legislative defeats. The skirmish punctuated a divide that’s marked the early weeks of the legislative session: between urban and rural North Carolina.

WRAL: Senate Sales Tax Plan Seeks to End ‘Unfair Advantage’ for Urban Counties
Key members of Senate leadership rolled out a plan Monday to overhaul how state sales taxes are distributed, which they say will lead to a fairer system across North Carolina. Currently, three-quarters of the 4.75 percent state sales tax stays in the county where a sale is made, with the remaining one-quarter distributed on a per-capita basis statewide. Legislation filed Monday night – a companion bill is planned in the House – would shift that over the next three years so all state sales tax revenue is distributed per capita.

Education

WILMINGTON STAR NEWS: Wilmington’s First All Girls Charter School Gains Backing
Wilmington's first proposed all-girls charter school, The Leadership Academy for Young Women, and New Hanover County Schools have formed a partnership to fulfill a common goal – preparing girls for postsecondary education.

WRAL: Free Community College Tuition for High Achievers Clears Committee
High school graduates with a GPA of 3.5 or higher would qualify for free in-state community college tuition under a bill that cleared the House Education Committee on Community Colleges on Tuesday. Under House Bill 129, students would have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to qualify for the tuition grant. Any other state or federal scholarship award would be deducted from the amount of the new scholarship. As currently drafted, it would go into effect for the 2016-17 school year.

Energy

WRAL: Lawmakers Juiced Over Plans to Lower Electrical Bills
State lawmakers beamed last Tuesday as they announced a bipartisan plan to speed the sale of power plants, which they said would lower electric bills in dozens of eastern North Carolina towns and boost economic development in the region. A Duke Energy unit agreed last summer to buy out the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency's interests in power plants formerly owned by Progress Energy for $1.2 billion.

Healthcare

WINSTON SALEM JOURNAL: Healthy Food Bill Would Combat Food Deserts
Without easy access to supermarkets, people tend to do their shopping at convenience stores. House Bill 250 would assist these small-store owners to stock and sell fresh produce, and connect them with farmers in their area to sell local foods.

WINSTON SALEM JOURNAL: Bill Would Shift Oversight of Substance Abuse Services to State Providers
A House Health committee recommended a bill Wednesday that would give full responsibility for overseeing all publicly financed substance-abuse services to the state’s managed care organizations. Currently, those responsibilities are shared by the nine MCOs, which include CenterPoint Human Services of Winston-Salem, and three state-operated alcohol and drug-abuse inpatient treatment centers that provide 190 beds.

In The Courts

WINSTON SALEM JOURNAL: N.C. Government Could Be Turned On Its Head With Court Ruling
A lawsuit pitting three North Carolina governors against General Assembly leaders will head to the state Supreme Court. Last week, a panel of three Superior Court judges struck down the appointments created by the legislature last year for three environmental boards — a ruling that could rebalance the power between legislative and executive branches for decades ahead if it is upheld.

Transportation

DURHAM HERALD-SUN: N.C. DMV Offering Voting Cards
With the 2016 elections fast approaching, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles continues its collaborative effort with the North Carolina State Board of Elections to issue no-fee voter ID cards and register qualified voters at all driver license offices statewide. Effective January 1, 2016, North Carolina will require all voters to present valid photo identification to cast a ballot in upcoming elections.

WRAL: Lawmakers Put Breaks on Moped Insurance Plan
Questions and criticism from several lawmakers scuttled a planned House committee vote Tuesday on legislation that would require moped operators to obtain insurance and have their scooters inspected annually. The House Transportation Committee could vote on House Bill 148 as early as next week, but stiff resistance makes it uncertain whether the proposal will pass.


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