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North Carolina Legislative Report - November 30, 2012

November 19 - November 30, 2012 

On the Floor

The NC General Assembly completed the short legislative session on July 3rd and has adjourned sine die until January 9, 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 Education Oversight Committee Meeting

Dr. Alisa Chapman, Vice President for Academic and University Programs, Dr. Charles Thompson, Director of Teacher Quality Research at UNC Chapel Hill, and Kevin Bastian, Doctoral Student at UNC Chapel Hill Department of Public Policy, presented the findings from their report on teacher preparation program effectiveness.   For this report they analyzed the performance of teachers with less than five years of experience.   The presentation was a straightforward walk through of the report findings. 

During the second presentation, Superintendent June Atkinson and Adam Levinson, Director of Race to the Top for the Department of Public Instruction, presented on the State Board of Education’s progress towards implementing the Race to the Top initiatives.  Atkinson gave a brief introduction with Levinson walking through the report. 

During the final presentation, Dean Proctor and Jerry Phillips presented a pilot program that would raise the drop-out age from 16 to 18 for Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools.  The cost of the pilot program would be roughly $420,000 and would go to cover the cost of additional administrative, instruction and counseling costs.  If the pilot program was implemented, funding would begin in the 2013-2014 school year with the new drop-out age becoming effective in 2014-2015.

Joint Legislative Committee on Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage Compliance and Fraud Prevention and Detection Meeting

During the legislative oversight meeting, members of the committee discussed the issue of how some employers get around coverage for workers compensation insurance.  Many of the speakers during the meeting stated that the most prevalent problem is employee misclassification and not the actual politics.  Although some attendees stated that some of the policies aide in abuse in the system, no industry representatives or state regulators suggestions to reform the system to cut back on potential abuse of the system.

In The News

Pat McCrory adviser headed to Moore & Van Allen (11/28/2012)

One of Gov.-elect Pat McCrory’s campaign strategists is going to work for the Charlotte law firm McCrory has called home since stepping down as mayor of Charlotte. Moore & Van Allen has hired Brian Nick, a senior adviser and strategist in charge of communications for the McCrory gubernatorial campaign, as senior director for strategic communications with the firm's public affairs practice. He starts his new job Monday.

Hand-to-eye recount begins in close NC Senate race (11/30/12)

Election officials are resuming their work on the result of a North Carolina state Senate race more than three weeks after Election Day. Democratic incumbent Stan White asked for a hand-to-eye recount in his 1st Senate District contest that showed him just 21 votes behind Republican Bill Cook. The recount was to begin Friday afternoon at the Pasquotank County election board. Seven other counties in the district scheduled the recount for next week. A machine recount earlier this week in the coastal counties trimmed Cook's lead from 32 votes.

Democrats searching for unified voice; Hall seeking minority leader job (11/29/2012)

Democrats won the White House again and picked up seats in the U.S. Senate, but the party in Raleigh is noticeably less rambunctious. It remains unclear who will lead Democratic efforts in the Tar Heel State, but the picture may become clearer when the House Democratic Caucus will meet privately in the legislative building to select a minority leader; Senate Democrats will meet for the same reason in mid-December. Rep. Larry Hall of Durham has been active in pursuing the role of House minority leader.

Perdue says she'll pick the next Supreme Court justice without her nominating commission

Gov. Bev Perdue reaffirmed that she intends to replace departing state Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, but she’ll do it without the independent nominating commission having a formal role in the choice.

Phil Berger outlines agenda (11/29/2012)

The leader of the state Senate, Phil Berger, a Republican from Eden whose district takes in a lot of Greensboro and Guilford County, outlined the coming legislative priorities. They include dealing with the state’s $2 billion-plus debt to the feds for unemployment insurance; tax reform; regulatory form; Medicaid funding; deciding whether to run state-based medical insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act; and education reform.

Duke settlement: 1,000 jobs in Raleigh, Rogers retiring in 2013 (11/29/2012)

The five-month state probe into Duke Energy’s handling of its merger with Progress Energy ended with a proposed multimillion-dollar settlement and an agreement that CEO Jim Rogers will step down by the end of 2013. Duke has agreed to pay $30 million, reshuffle executives and keep at least 1,000 workers in Raleigh for at least five years as a sign to investigators that Raleigh will not be shortchanged by the merger.

Healthcare delayed until February (11/29/2012)

The looming shift in how local mental health care is managed has been delayed a month, from Jan. 1 to Feb 1. Alliance Behavioral Healthcare announced it has requested permission from the state to push back the launch of its managed care organization that will oversee care in Cumberland, Durham, Wake and Johnston counties. The state Department of Health and Human Services supported the request, its interim director said in a statement.

Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson to resign from NC Supreme Court (11/28/2012)

N.C. Supreme Court Justice Patricia A. Timmons-Goodson, the first and only female African-American to serve on the state’s highest court, is resigning her position. The departure sets up a major appointment to the seven-member court for outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat who will leave office after next month.

McIntyre wins over Rouzer (11/28/2012)

More than three weeks after the election, U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre finally locked up the victory, as a recount solidified his slim lead over state Sen. David Rouzer for the congressional seat he has held for 16 years. McIntyre lost one vote in the recount, bringing the revised split to 168,695 for McIntyre and 168,041 for Rouzer – a difference of 654.

Kay Hagan’s running for reelection (11/28/2012)

One half of what will likely be North Carolina’s highest-profile race is set. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, will stand for re-election, she said this week.

McCrory, GOP legislative leaders want Perdue’s Dix plan blocked (11/28/2012)

Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s plan to convert the Dorothea Dix Hospital property into a major urban park faces an uncertain future. The 10-member Council of State is expected to consider a proposal in early December from the governor to lease the property to the city of Raleigh for 75 to 99 years. But a majority of the panel – comprising all statewide elected leaders – remains undecided on whether to move forward.

Berger likely to lead state Senate for two more years (11/27/2012)

Phil Berger of Eden is on the way to remain the state Senate’s top leader for another two years. Incumbents and newly elected Republican senators meeting Tuesday in Raleigh nominated Berger for the post of Senate president pro tempore. A spokesman for the Senate Republican Caucus said Berger faced no opposition. The actual chamber election will be in January, but Berger is expected to win because the GOP will have at least 32 of the 50 votes.

Insurers OK to raise NC dwelling rates 13 percent (11/27/2012)

North Carolina insurance regulators are clearing the largest rate increase in nine years for dwelling policies that cover residential rentals and other properties that are not owner occupied. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin's office said Tuesday he signed a settlement agreement with insurance companies allowing a statewide average increase of 13 percent spread over a three-year period.

Electrolux adding 80 R&D jobs in Charlotte (11/27/2012)

Electrolux said it will relocate a laundry-products research center from Iowa to Charlotte, bringing 80 jobs and pushing its Charlotte employment past 800 as the appliance company further expands and centralizes its North American headquarters. The new positions will include engineering, product design and testing, company officials said. Those product design and testing functions will be stopped at the company’s Webster City, Iowa, facility in the third quarter of 2013.

State lawmakers talk about forming coastal caucus (11/27/2012)

State lawmakers along the coast want to form a special caucus to stay on top of issues and advocate for legislation focused on the coast. Coastal legislators in the General Assembly said the idea was in the early planning stages but that such a group could be up and running during the coming legislative session, which begins in January.

Duke Energy taps Shuler as Washington lobbyist (11/27/2012)

Retiring U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler is staying in Washington, but he will have a new job as a lobbyist for the country's largest electric company. Shuler said he'll work on federal issues for Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp. immediately after completing his current term in the U.S. House next month.

Death by vehicle charges dropped against state Rep. Larry Womble (11/26/2012)

State Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, was cleared of the criminal charge stemming from a car crash almost a year ago that seriously injured him and killed another man. David Allen Carmichael, 54, a local waiter and bartender, was killed in the Dec. 2 crash.

Agencies grapple with underuse of prescription drug database (11/25/2012)

Prescription drug overdoses killed about 1,000 North Carolina residents in 2011, but doctors and pharmacists are not widely using a state database that tracks patients’ history with addictive drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin. Despite the database’s life-saving potential, only one-third of prescribers and one-fifth of the state’s pharmacists are registered to use the system, said William Bronson, who oversees the system for the state Department of Health and Human Services.

NC lawmakers seeking more from railroad company (11/25/2012)

The North Carolina Railroad Co. offers rail transportation but owns no locomotives. It's a private corporation, but the state is its one shareholder, representing millions of taxpayers. The railroad is indeed a strange bird, one created in 1849 by the Legislature to capitalize on the rapid development of train traffic to move goods and passengers.

Charters like idea of district oversight (11/23/2012)

Rather than pushing back, some charter school advocates are praising Superintendent Rodney Shotwell’s proposal to open charter schools in Rockingham County Schools. Shotwell wants to change the law to allow the Rockingham County Board of Education to oversee as many as six charter schools in his district. State statute requires independent boards of directors to operate such schools.

After 12 years of research, hog-waste disposal still reeks (11/25/2012)

Google, of all companies, last year got into the business of hog poop. It joined a project started by Duke University, Duke Energy and a Yadkin County farmer to pull the potent greenhouse gas methane from swine waste and use it to generate electricity or simply burn it off. The Internet giant and the university get to claim credit for offsetting the climate-changing carbon emissions generated during creation of the energy they use, and the power company is making strides toward new state requirements for generating electricity from hog waste.

Erskine Bowles' Fix the Debt group launches campaign in N.C. (11/23/2012)

A group co-founded by Charlottean Erskine Bowles brings its campaign to reduce the federal debt to North Carolina, making the state the latest front in the battle to avert the “fiscal cliff.” Two former governors – Democrat Jim Hunt and Republican Jim Holshouser – will launch Fix the Debt’s N.C. chapter at a news conference in Raleigh. It’s part of a national bipartisan effort to lobby Congress to agree on a bipartisan framework that addresses the nation’s looming fiscal crisis.

Legislative Calendar

Mon, December 03, 2012

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

Tue, December 04, 2012

  • 9:30 AM              Emergency Management Oversight Comm., Jt. Leg.

Wed, December 05, 2012

  • 9:30 AM               Revenue Laws Study Committee
  • 10:00 AM             Justice Warren Task Force
  • 3:30 PM               Pathological Materials Committee (LRC)(2011)

Thu, December 06, 2012

  • 10:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.    Certificate of Need Process and Related Hospital Issues, House Select Committee on
  • 1:00 PM               The State's Role in Immigration Policy, House Select Committee on

Fri, December 07, 2012

  • 9:00 AM               Joint Leg. Transportation Committee
  • 10:00 AM             General Statutes Commission

Mon, December 10, 2012

  • 10:00 AM             Child Fatality Task Force
  • 10:00 AM             Joint Mental Health Subcommittee

Tue, December 11, 2012

  • 10:00 AM             Leg Oversight Comm on Health and Human Services

Wed, December 12, 2012

  • 10:00 AM             Program Evaluation Oversight Comm., Jt. Leg.
  • 10:00 AM             Career and Technical Education Committee (LRC)(2011)
  • 10:00 AM             Blue Ribbon Commission Sub-Com on Adult Care Transitions
  • 10:00 AM             Blue Ribbon Commission - Sub-Com on Housing
  • 11:00 AM             Education Oversight Committee, Jt Leg

Thu, December 13, 2012

  • 9:30 AM               Environmental Review Commission

Tue, December 18, 2012

  • 1:00 PM               Mental Health Subcommittee
  • 2:00 UNTIL 4:00 P.M.     LRC Age of Juvenile Offender Cmte.

Wed, December 19, 2012

  • 9:00 AM               Administrative Procedure Oversight Comm, Jt Leg
  • 10:00 AM             Blue Ribbon Commission

Tue, January 08, 2013

  • 9:00 AM               Revenue Law Study Committee
  • 2:00 PM               Health and Human Services, Jt. Leg. Oversight Comm

Wed, January 09, 2013

  • 9:00 AM               Session Convenes (House)
  • 9:00 AM               Session Convenes (Senate)