CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS

Apr 21, 2015

NC Politics in the News

Members of the North Carolina General Assembly had a full schedule last week, considering bills on everything from repealing the state’s cumbersome Map Act to voiding a law which required teachers to write Personal Education Plans for their students. The House filed over 200 bills week, meeting their bill filing deadline of April 16. Both the House and Senate have until Thursday, April 30 to pass bills out of their respective chambers in order to meet the crossover deadline. The chambers are both slated to return to action on Monday, April 20th.

Economy and Economic Development

NEWS & OBSERVER: McCrory Proposes $3 Billion in Bonds for Fall Vote
Gov. Pat McCrory wants voters to decide this fall on two $1.5 billion plans to borrow money to fund highway projects and fix up state facilities. The amount of the two bonds is larger than McCrory called for in his State of the State speech in February. He said then that each bond would range from $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion. The House and the Senate must approve any plan.

WINSTON SALEM JOURNAL: Bills Seek to Restore Tax Breaks, Raise Wages

Bills involving the state economy and the health-care sector were among the rush of some 282 bills submitted by state House members last week. A number of them aim to restore tax breaks such as the federal mortgage debt relief exemption for state residents, which was eliminated April 1 of this year.

Education

NEWS & OBSERVER: NC Bill on Teacher Assaults Advances Despite Concerns
A legislative proposal to make the assault of a public school teacher by a student an automatic felony worries some groups and lawmakers who are concerned it could create unintended, lifelong consequences for young people. The Senate Education Committee voted last week to create the new penalty if the alleged assault of a school employee by someone at least 16 years old occurs on school property when the employee is trying to do their job.

NEWS & OBSERVER: Task Force Considers Quick Start for New Testing System in Schools
A state-sanctioned group looking at changing public school standardized testing wants to do something no other state has done — have smaller, periodic tests count the same as one big end-of-year exam. A testing task force and state education officials are talking to school districts about experimenting with the new approach starting with the next school year.

Energy

ROCKINGHAM NEWS-RECORD: Proposed Bill Puts Limits on Fracking
A Piedmont Triad legislator has filed a bill that would prevent companies from being able to drill for natural gas on a person’s property without the landowner’s consent. Current law would allow the state to compel an unwilling property owner to participate in a drilling operation, a process called compulsory or forced pooling.

Healthcare

WINSTON SALEM JOURNAL: Audits Show DHHS Financial Picture Improving
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services received a mixed checkup from the State Auditor’s Office last week in the first detailed financial audit of the department in nearly 20 years.

WINSTON SALEM JOURNAL: State’s Medicaid Payment System Appears On Track for Federal Approval
Federal health regulators have given preliminary certification approval to NCTracks, the state’s controversial Medicaid claim payment system. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced Sunday it was notified Friday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Officials expect formal notification within a week.

In The Courts

WRAL: US Supreme Court Orders Review of NC Redistricting
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a North Carolina court ruling that upheld Republican-drawn electoral districts for state and congressional lawmakers. The justices ordered the state Supreme Court to consider anew whether the North Carolina legislature relied too heavily on race when it redrew voting districts following the 2010 census.

Transportation

NEWS & OBSERVER: $150 Boarding Passes May Be Coming to NC Ferries
Sen. Bill Rabon wants the state to stop letting Ocracoke Island residents go to the front of the line for free at the busy ferry dock – and to start collecting $150 a year from anybody willing to pay for priority boarding.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Airline, Airport Officials Defend Proposed American Airlines Fuel Tax Break
The state bill would extend a tax break for American Airlines, arguing that Charlotte needs to remain cost competitive to maintain its status as an American Airlines hub. The airline’s use of Charlotte as its second-largest hub is based largely on its relatively low operating cost, which makes it cheap for American to fly from the city.


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