Politics & Government

Political news

Lawmakers in the state House have approved a bill that would impose specialized counseling and a 24-hour waiting period on women who seek abortions. The measure would require that they receive state sponsored information about the procedure and alternatives to it. It would also mandate that the same health providers performing the abortion offer the woman an ultrasound beforehand. Republican Representative Ruth Samuelson of Charlotte is a sponsor of the measure. 

A group of African American residents in Brunswick County have taken their claims of environmental injustice to court. 

The Royal Oak community has a history going back to slavery.  Today, there are about 300 African American residents living in this unincorporated section of Brunswick County.  But their community also houses a waste transfer station, a sewage treatment plant, the animal shelter and the county’s only landfill.  Lewis Dozier is president of the Royal Oak Concerned Citizens Association.

Gov. Bev Perdue
Office of the Gov.

  Governor Bev Perdue and state education officials are touting the state’s improved high school graduation rate  - and criticizing Republicans for making cuts. 

Gov. Bev Perdue
bevperdue.com

  Governor Bev Perdue is studying the budget plan sent to her over the weekend by the Republican controlled General Assembly. It spends about $500 million less than the budget she proposed. 

 Lawmakers in the state House have approved a bill that would allow companies offering small loans to increase their interest rates. Jessica Jones reports the companies often target military customers. 

Earlier today, lawmakers in the state Senate tentatively approved a 19-point-7 billion dollar spending plan for the next two years. The framework of the plan was a reworked budget proposal released earlier this week after negotiations between Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate.

Republican budget writer Richard Stevens was the first lawmaker to speak about the plan- otherwise known as House Bill 200- on the Senate floor earlier today. He told his colleagues that he and other Republicans have produced the kind of plan they promised they would.

 Republican leaders in the legislature have come up with a new budget they hope members of both parties will pass. 

Two bonds being considered by the Raleigh City Council may end up on the ballot this fall. If passed, they would total $52 million for transportation and housing projects.

The transportation bond would be the largest, at $37 million. It would include the usual road paving projects, but for the first time, a transportation bond would also include money for greenways and bike lanes. Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker explained the need when he gave his state of the city address in March.

Democratic leaders at the legislature say they're unhappy with the Republican-authored Senate budget proposal that would cut Smart Start. It's a nationally recognized early childhood program for low-income families across the state. The Senate plan would strip funding for the program by 20 percent, as does the House budget proposal passed a few weeks ago. But the Senate proposal would also dissolve the parent organization that oversees Smart Start and shift its administration to the Division of Child Development. Democrat Joe Hackney is the Minority Leader in the House.

Republican leaders in the state Senate have released a $19.4 billion dollar budget that would still make deep cuts to education. The Senate plan would give more money to public schools and universities than a House plan passed a few weeks ago, but community colleges would receive less funding. The proposed Senate budget would also lower personal income taxes, exempt small businesses from paying some taxes and establish merit pay for teachers. Phil Berger is the President Pro Tem of the Senate.

A bill that opponents of abortion rights have pushed for years is moving through the state legislature. House Bill 854, known as the "Woman's Right to Know Act," would mandate counseling, a waiting period, and an ultrasound before a woman could receive an abortion. Supporters of the bill say the measure would give women more information to make an informed choice. But opponents say the measure is designed to intimidate women.

 The governor and Republican legislative leaders have reached an agreement on how to fund the State Health Plan.

 Governor Perdue vetoed a health plan bill last month because she wasn't happy with the idea of teachers paying premiums. Under that plan, all state employees would've had to pay premiums for the first time. But now the governor and Republican leaders have agreed not to charge healthy workers any premiums at all.

Durham health officials want to ban smoking in a number of public places, including all county and city grounds, athletic fields, playgrounds, and bus stops. Gayle Harris is director of the Durham County Health Department.

State senators have passed a bill that would promote a controversial method of extracting natural gas popularly known as fracking. Senate Bill 709 would also open the coast to offshore natural gas drilling in conjunction with other states. Republican Senator Bob Rucho is the bill's main sponsor.

 State lawmakers have passed a measure that would make it harder for cities and towns to build their own Internet broadband systems. 

 The controversial bill passed the Senate earlier this week and returned yesterday to the House for concurrence. Supporters say it's not fair that municipalities don't have to follow the same regulations that commercial providers do. But a few Democratic lawmakers still fired whatever shots they could at the measure. Democrat Bill Faison represents Caswell and Orange counties. 

Pages