A move to speed the timeline for fracking in North Carolina is dividing Republican lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory.
The Senate approved a fracking bill Wednesday that would lift the state's moratorium on shale gas drilling. But House lawmakers are concerned about the push and Gov. Pat McCrory released a statement that stopped short of saying he’d sign the bill.
It sets up a replay of last year’s political showdown in the state House that prompted Republicans to join Democrats and keep the moratorium in place – and may threaten the short session timeline if no agreement is reached.
“The House is not on board with the date certain,” Republican Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherfordton, the House leader on energy issues, said of expiring the moratorium. “The major concern is we want to make sure the rules are what we want them to be before we go out and frack. It's gotta be rules first and then moratorium. You don't want to go flying blind.”
Gov. Pat McCrory also has concerns about the legislation and is negotiating with lawmakers to change some provisions before the House debate, which could take place as early as next week.
“We are still considering the implications of several provisions regarding governance and the potential impact on city and county governments,” said Josh Ellis, a spokesman for the governor. “We will work with the Senate and the House to ensure that the final bill protects the environment and promotes responsible exploration of our energy and mineral resources.” Read more here.
At the Capitol, the House will meet in the old House chambers to celebrate its 220th anniversary. It will also take a vote – sans electronic board and microphones at the desk – about an occupancy tax provision related to the U.S. Open in Pinehurst. The House convenes at 11 a.m.
The Senate will remain at the legislative building for its session at 11 a.m.
Earlier in the morning, two committee meetings are scheduled: Senate Judiciary I will consider a measure to limit lawsuits against businesses (10 a.m.) and House Rules will vote to confirm two appointees of Gov. Pat McCrory (despite Democratic objections to one) and look at a bill allowing a possum drop in Clay County.
Ten minutes after the session, House Banking will meet to consider House Bill 1117.
The State Board of Elections meets at 1 p.m. to certify the results of the May primary elections and fill a county board vacancy.
Ask people whom they would rather see in charge on Capitol Hill, and Republicans finish in a dead heat with “doesn’t matter.”
Democrats fare only a little better: 37 percent would prefer their leadership, compared with 31 percent each for the GOP and whatever.
“I’ve never really noticed any difference in my life depending on which party is in,” said Bob Augusto, 39, an oil refinery worker in Woodstown, N.J. He doesn’t expect to vote in this fall’s midterm election. Read more here.
Members of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the federal government and media organizations participate in the annual race, which is sponsored by the American Council of Life Insurers. Participants lead teams of five runners.
Hagan was the only North Carolina member of Congress listed as a participant. She finished in 35:15, and her team included her husband, Chip. The group wore T-shirts that said “Ragin’ Hagans.”
“I’m a believer that facts ultimately prevail among most reasonable people,” said former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who helped lead the development of the standards and continues to support them. “I think it’s incumbent on us to speak out and defeat rumors and innuendo and allegations with facts about how the Common Core began, what its purpose is and how we believe it can be positive for American society.”
He said he was puzzled by the criticism from the right. “I don’t know how in America you can be against higher standards,” he said.
Critics call the standards a national curriculum and a federal takeover of education. The governors at the gathering said they were neither.
The federal government wasn’t involved in developing the standards. The Obama administration later gave states credit for adopting higher standards in its Race to the Top grants program. Read more here.
A WRAP: The legislative action from Wednesday. Read more here.
Republican City Council member Ed Driggs spoke to the Mecklenburg delegation Wednesday morning as he continued making the rounds of legislators. Read more here.
Morton, a football and wrestling coach at Apex High School, is one of many teachers leaving Wake County schools due to low pay.
Frustrated and hoping for better wages, about 40 teachers dressed in red marched outside Apex High School before classes began Wednesday morning. One sign read: “N.C. State Education First in Teacher Flight,” a play on the state’s license plate logo. Read more here.
North Carolina’s network of about 350 local medical examiners, operating virtually as volunteers, is partly modeled after Maryland’s office. But North Carolina doesn’t offer the same protections. Read more here.
Democratic lawmakers wants voters to decide on medical marijuana. Read more here.
Ostracized Republican files bill to give lawmakers a 158 percent raise. Read more here.
Former N.C. Rep. Jim Gulley dies. Read more here.
Bill would broaden carbon monoxide rules. Read more here.
N.C. lawmakers consider new patent abuse rules. Read more here.