Twelve hours after House lawmakers gave an initial nod to the state budget, they reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Friday to give it one more vote and send it to the Senate.
All attention now turns to how the two chambers, who carved very different budget plans, will find a way to compromise. House Speaker Thom Tillis says he isn’t concerned.
Gov. Pat McCrory is likely to favor the House’s plan. It includes a number of his priorities, including a so-called “puppy mill” provision added late Thursday by a House lawmaker who partnered with First Lady Ann McCrory to bring attention to the issue.
The House also added a film grant program to the budget as a place-holder, meaning House and Senate lawmakers will need to determine how much to give the program. One of the sponsors of the House amendment said the program would kill the film industry but acknowledged in the seven-hour debate that it was as far as his Republican colleagues would go.
Two major outstanding questions: What do lawmakers do with Medicaid? The House and Senate disagreed on the potential Medicaid overrun costs, who should manage the agency and who should be covered by the care. And what about pay raises for teachers and state employees? The House and Senate found unique ways to pay for it and provided much different salary hikes.
Asked earlier this week whether the House and Senate should negotiate in public this time, Tillis said no.
For more on the House budget debate, and the discussion of using lottery money to fund salary hikes for teachers, read here.
The House will begin final budget debate at 8:30 a.m.
Sloan Gibson visited the hospital to talk with employees, veterans service organizations and members of the North Carolina congressional delegation. On Monday, the VA released the results of a national audit of its facilities that found the Fayetteville medical center had one of the longest average wait times in the country – 83 days – for new patients trying to get primary care. The average wait to see a specialist was 62 days, and to get mental health care, 27 days. ...
Sen. Kay Hagan, who had requested that Gibson visit Fayetteville, said in a statement Thursday that while he had announced some positive steps to try to reduce the wait times for veterans there, “…much work remains to be done to restore the faith of our veterans.” Read more here.
Political polarization is now deeply embedded in the United States — more so than at any time in recent history, according to the Pew study — and has intensified in recent years. The percentage of Americans who hold either consistently conservative or consistently liberal positions on major issues has doubled over the past decade and now accounts for one-fifth of all Americans. Read more here.
The critics of the rules, which were adopted in early May, argue in the complaint that legislators crafted the measures to “criminalize constitutionally protected conduct.” A hearing on the complaint is set for Friday morning in Wake County Superior Court. Read more here.
But the most intense support of the scholarships came from two African American Democrats who co-sponsored the bill last year. Reps. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, and Edward Hanes Jr., D-Forsyth, argued that colleagues opposing the vouchers are denying children an alternative to failing schools. Read more here.
House Bill 1195 prevents employees and officials who make $100,000 or more annually from using the pension system to subsidize fatter pensions through dramatic increases in their pay as they near retirement. It comes after The News & Observer reported how four community college presidents and their boards converted tens of thousands of dollars in perks into salary money and greatly enhancing their pensions. Read more here.
Animal Control Director Lt. Leon Godlock with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said that on Monday the division acted on anonymous tips about a man having more animals than he could care for properly. Read more here.
Republican Sen. Tommy Tucker from Union County introduced the plan as a local bill for his county. GOP Sen. Buck Newton, who represents Nash County northeast of Raleigh, offered the amendment adding the other two districts. Read more here.
The spot paints Berger as “a tough prosecutor” and hits his 6th District Congressional rival Mark Walker. “My opponent Mark Walker promises to give amnesty to illegal aliens,” the 60-second spot says. “Walker supports creating a pathway to citizenship for the millions who broke the law and came to this country illegally. His legislation would only encourage more illegal immigration and would make our problem worse, not better.”
Walker’s campaign website says he opposes “all forms of immigration amnesty.” He wants to secure the nation’s borders and then overhaul the guest worker program and citizenship process, it reads.
The high court on Thursday ruled unanimously that state laws regulate highways and roads and that prohibits the town of Chapel Hill’s enforcement of the cellphone ban. Read more here.
NC lawmakers propose additional scrutiny of DSS operations statewide. Read more here.
N.C. Senate adjusts unemployment appeal board. Read more here.
A1 in Asheville: Moffitt moves to change law in wake of CTS ruling. Read more here.