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North Carolina Legislative Report - October 12, 2012

October 1 - 12, 2012 

On the Floor 

The NC General Assembly completed the short legislative session on July 3 and has adjourned sine die until January 30, 2013.  The MVA Public Affairs Legislative Report on North Carolina will be distributed bi-weekly while the North Carolina Legislature is not in session.

While session is over, the General Assembly will continue to have various interim committee meetings throughout the year.

 

Committee Highlights

Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee

Republican legislators at a committee meeting Friday said the state could not afford to contribute to a planned $650 million toll bridge from mainland Currituck County to the northern Outer Banks. The co-chairs of a House-Senate Transportation Oversight Committee wouldn’t say when or whether they’ll vote on the Mid-Currituck Bridge, which would be built in partnership with an international consortium of private developers. But members argued against committing the state to pay as much as $28 million a year for four decades to cover an expected gap between toll collections – mostly from tourists – and project costs.

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee

An Education Oversight Committee meeting last week had the four major areas of education in North Carolina present their budget and policy priorities for the 2013-2014 budget.  Dr. June Atkinson (State Superintendent), Dr. Tom Ross (UNC), Dr. Scott Ralls (NC Community College System) made individual presentations on their needs for the upcoming year.  Dr. Atkinson had a 5 point list of priorities that includes the elimination of discretionary cuts, salary increases, and funding for textbooks and digital resources.  Dr. Ross did not have a specific plan, but did point the UNC Strategic Planning Committee that has recently started their work on a 5-year plan for the UNC system.  

 

In The News

Gubernatorial Race (October 10, 2012)

North Carolina's major-party candidates for governor have starkly different views on whether the state's economy is on the right track - and on what changes are needed to North Carolina's tax system. Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the Democratic nominee, said he knows citizens are still hurting given a 9.7 percent unemployment rate but sees the economy on an upward trajectory because of the state's commitment to quality education and attracting high-tech industries.

Dalton Campaign (October 8, 2012)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton said he believes the state superintendent of public instruction should be appointed by the governor, rather than directly elected by the voters. “That's a change in my position,'' Dalton told a meeting of editors and reporters of The News and Observer. “I have generally respected the vote of the people.'' But Dalton said he has seen so much divided leadership on education, that he thinks it would be better for the state for the position to become appointed.

Lt. Governor Race (October 9, 2012)

North Carolina's election for lieutenant governor is a contest between two first-time candidates for statewide election with very different backgrounds and outlooks. Republican Dan Forest is the son of retiring U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick of Charlotte and a former architect who leans on his party's Tea Party and evangelical blocs.  Democrat Linda Coleman has been a state worker for more than 30 years and was Gov. Beverly Perdue's state personnel director before stepping down to run for the state's No. 2 office.

District 9 (October 8, 2012)

In a broadcast candidate forum that had the air of a courtroom trial, lawyers Deb Butler and Thom Goolsby answered questions about job creation, taxes and education Monday night in Wilmington. Butler, a Democrat, is challenging Republican incumbent Goolsby for the N.C. District 9 Senate seat in November’s general election. Goolsby pointed to Republican accomplishments since taking control of the legislature in 2010, including lowering sales and gasoline taxes, funding film incentives and giving small businesses a tax credit. 

Senate Race (October 10, 2012)

North Carolina Senate District 30 has changed for the 2012 election, but the candidates haven't. As in the 2010 contest under different district lines, the race finds incumbent Republican Don East facing a challenge from Democrat Ric Marshall. East is a veteran politician, having served as the state senator for the area on and off since 1994. Marshall challenged East for the district in 2010 but came up short, gathering 32 percent of the vote and losing to East by 17,000 votes among some 48,000 cast.

Senate District 27 (October 11, 2012)

A gun rights group has gotten into a dustup with Democratic Senate hopeful Myra Slone after it endorsed her GOP opponent based on a voting record she didn’t actually have. In those postcards and emails, the Grass Roots N.C. Political Victory Fund endorsed Republican Trudy Wade, a Greensboro councilwoman. The group lauded Wade’s “perfect 100% voting record” on gun issues as a member of the House. But Wade has never served in the House.

7th District (October 8, 2012)

The two candidates for an eastern North Carolina congressional district are accusing each other of misleading the public about legislative records and work history. U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre of Lumberton and Republican challenger David Rouzer of Benson traded charges during a half-four program on WRAL-TV that aired over the weekend. Redistricting has expanded the district northwest to the Raleigh suburbs of Johnston County.

10th District (October 9, 2012)

Republican U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry and Democratic challenger Patsy Keever differed on gay marriage and funding for public broadcasting in a forum during a debate on Tuesday. They also disagreed on President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act with McHenry saying he would vote for repeal and Keever saying she would keep the law in place. Keever and McHenry are running in the 10th District, which contains Asheville for the first time this year and stretches east into Gaston County.

House District 58 (October 10, 2012)

It’s a new day in state House District 58, thanks to redistricting that realigned its boundaries to take in more of the city and less of the countryside. But the matchup must be getting monotonous to residents of east Greensboro who traditionally have been the district’s core. This election marks the fourth time in eight years that the veteran incumbent, Democratic Rep. Alma Adams, has faced Republican challenger Olga Morgan Wright.

District Lines (October 5, 2012)

Legislative and congressional districts crafted by the Republican-controlled General Assembly disenfranchise black voters, civil and voting rights groups contend in a motion asking a state court to declare the lines unconstitutional. The motion - by the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and others - is the latest salvo in a yearlong court challenge to the state's 2011 redistricting plan.

Poll Position (October 11, 2012)

Republican Mitt Romney’s strong debate performance doesn’t appear to have boosted him in his bid to win North Carolina’s electoral votes, according to a new poll by Rasmussen Reports. The poll of 500 voters released Thursday found Romney leading Democratic President Barack Obama 51-48 in the state. The survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent, was taken Oct. 9, about a week after the debate.

Payday Loans (October 11, 2012)

The state Legislative Black Caucus has joined several consumer advocacy groups and state officials who have expressed concerns about payday-style loans from Regions Bank. Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr., chairman of the caucus, sent a letter recently to the Alabama-based bank's CEO, O.B. Grayson Hall. "We are deeply concerned about recent reports of Regions Bank offering its 'Ready Advance' payday loans in North Carolina," McKissick said. "High-cost, short-term balloon loans like these sharply increase the financial distress of families under economic strain."

No Tolls (October 9, 2012)

Motorists driving up and down northern stretches of Interstate 95 these days will notice billboards urging them to "Say No to Tolls." The billboard campaign, organized by business and economic development groups in the northeastern part of the state, is part of an effort to convince state transportation officials to drop plans to toll the interstate to help pay for widening and improvements. The groups say that tolling the interstate will hurt businesses along its path and industrial recruiting.

Medicaid Case (October 8, 2012)

North Carolina will reap almost $16 million from a national Medicaid fraud settlement involving one of the nation's largest drug makers. The state Attorney General's Office said Monday that's the state's portion of a $1.5 billion settlement with Abbott Laboratories. The company agreed in federal court last week to settle claims over allegations that it promoted the anti-seizure drug Depakote for uses that the Food and Drug Administration hadn't approved.

Hospital Costs (October 6, 2012)

Attorney General Roy Cooper says he plans to examine whether health care costs that he described as artificially high can be reduced with antitrust laws or new legislation. “I’m concerned about this issue,” Cooper told the Observer. “Health care costs are high enough without artificial boosts that could come from lack of competition.”

Rate Hike (October 6, 2012)

Raleigh-based Progress Energy expects to file for a rate increase as soon as Friday that could raise its customers' average residential electricity bill in North Carolina by more than $120 a year. For customers who typically pay about $103 a month for power, the economic effect of the requested increase would be like paying for an extra month of electricity during the year. The company’s request at the N.C. Utilities Commission comes barely three months after Progress was acquired by Charlotte-based Duke Energy.

Women-owned Businesses (October 8, 2012)

North Carolina ranks eighth among states with the most women-owned businesses, according to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. The Tar Heel State has an estimated 256,400 women-owned firms that employ 264,200 workers and generate roughly $34.9 billion in revenue, the report shows. The number of women-owned businesses in the state has jumped 83.3 percent in the past 15 years, boosting North Carolina to third among states with the fastest growth in number of women-owned firms.

Western Gala (October 7, 2012)

Democrats speaking at their annual 52nd annual western fundraising dinner on Saturday accused Republicans of attempting to roll back the state's progress in favor of narrow interests. Gov. Beverly Perdue got the crowd of about 500 people fired up early, telling those attending the attending the Western Gala at the Grove Park Inn that “elections have consequences.” “We are on a mission to win this election,” she said. “A month from today ... you know what we are going to do? We are going to turn North Carolina blue.”

RGA Money (October 6, 2012)

With GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory sitting on a double-digit lead in the polls, the Republican Governors Association is trimming its spending on TV commercials in North Carolina, according to new data. The move allows the RGA to spend more in closer races across the country. The RGA cut $400,000 from its ad buy in the next two weeks starting Monday, independent media buyers report. “We feel comfortable,” spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. “We are going to keep our foot on the gas but not press the pedal all the way to the floor.”  

Legislative Calendar

Mon, October 15, 2012 

  • 10:00 AM  Unintentional Death Committee of Child Fatality Task Force

Tue, October 16, 2012 

  • 10:00 AM  House Select Committee on State-Owned Assets Subcommittee on Surplus Property (House)
  • 10:00 AM  State-Owned Assets, House Select Committee on 
  • 10:00 AM  Leg Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services
  • 12:00 NOON  House Select Committee on Legacy Costs from the State Health Plan, Pensions and ESC (House)

Wed, October 17, 2012 

  • 9:00 AM  Administrative Procedure Oversight Comm., Jt. Leg
  • 10:00 AM  Lottery Oversight Committee
  • 10:00 AM  Program Evaluation Oversight Comm., Jt. Leg.

Mon, October 22, 2012 

  • 10:00 AM  Child Fatality Task Force

Tue, October 23, 2012 

  • 10:00 AM  Wetland and Stream Mitigation
  • 10:00 AM  Career and Technical Education Committee
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