Under the Dome

Dome: Innovation Center to solve state’s IT problems

From Staff ReportsApril 25, 2013 

Gov. Pat McCrory Thursday announced the creation of an Innovation Center in state government that will work to improve the state’s information technology systems.

The center will be on the ground floor of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

At a news conference, McCrory said the new center would seek to make state government more efficient by improving communication between state agencies. It also would test new technology equipment before the state purchases it, and would make it easier for citizens to access state government websites.

“This collaborative approach allows us to share facilities, test the latest technology and it does not require any more taxpayers dollars,” McCrory said.

He said he hoped the center would help avoid cost overruns such as the Medicaid management Information System which was estimated to cost $93 million but actually cost $230 million.

Earlier this week, the state auditor released a report that said the state spent $356.3 million more than expected on 84 IT projects during Gov. Bev Perdue’s administration. It also found that the projects took longer to complete than initially estimated.

Bryant regrets marathon tweet

Democratic state Sen. Angela Bryant says she regrets making a remark on Twitter linking the Boston tragedy to Republican lawmakers legislative agenda.

Bryant compared the poor’s survival efforts to a marathon and GOP legislation to require drug tests and criminal background checks for public assistance and voter identification to the “pressure cooker bombs” exploded at the marathon.

“GOP political terrorism on poor along marathon survival route with pressure cooker bombs: pay 4 drug test, IDs, crim check,” @angelareb tweeted Tuesday at 9:29 a.m. Bryant later deleted the tweet but Republican operatives captured it and called for an explanation.

Asked about it by Dome on Thursday, Bryant said: “I regret really making a connection between the Boston tragedy and what’s happening here. I was frustrated and am frustrated about the incessant attacks on the poor. ... It was not a good thing to do, given the tragedy, because there is no comparison to people losing their lives in that kind of incident.”

The Nash County GOP in Bryant’s district called on her to apologize Thursday for her “shameful public comment.”

McCrory signed ‘emotional’ bill

Gov. Pat McCrory signed four bills Wednesday but acknowledged that House Bill 75, dubbed “Kilah’s Law,” would be “the most emotional bill I’ll sign as governor.”

He was joined by Kilah Davenport, who suffered severe brain damage after her skull was fractured during a beating. Authorities in Union County have accused her stepfather, Joshua Houser.

The bill increases penalties for five child abuse felonies.

The bill had unanimous support in both chambers.

A similar bill has been introduced in Congress by U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, a Charlotte Republican.

Duggars coming to GOP’s party

Jim Bob Duggar and his wife Michelle, of the reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” will keynote the state Republican’ Party’s second annual Faith and Freedom Coalition Prayer Breakfast at its state convention in June. They will apparently be bringing some of the kids with them. Duggar, a former Arkansas state representative, took his family around the country last year in support of Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign.

One more honor for ‘Doc’

Ahead of this weekend’s MerleFest, the N.C. House honored founder Doc Watson on Thursday for his “lasting legacy of his music.”

The Deep Gap native and legendary musician known for his flat-picking guitar style started the festival in 1988 as a tribute to his son who died in a tractor accident.

This weekend’s festival at Wilkes Community College is the first since the elder Watson’s death last May at the age of 89.

Staff writers Rob Christensen, Lynn Bonner, John Frank and Charlotte Observer staff writer Jim Morrill

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