Politics & Government

Political news

State lawmakers charged with redistricting will meet for the first time today.  State lawmakers redraw congressional and state legislative districts every ten years, after the US Census releases new data on population changes.

State employees may have to pay more for their health care next year. A bill in the legislature seeks to plug a budget hole of more than 500 million dollars in the state health plan by requiring all state workers to pay monthly premiums. The measure would also move oversight of the system from the General Assembly to the state treasurer’s office.

Mary O’Neill and Jonathan Stevenson are old hands at lobbying legislators. Last week at the General Assembly, they were ruffling through a directory of legislators’ offices, figuring out where to go next:

Triangle Transit Authority wants to hear from residents about plans for expanding bus and rail lines as the population grows. Transit experts will be on hand at a series of meetings this week to present a proposals for Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties. The U.S. Census Bureau expects more than a million more people will be in the Triangle by 2030. Brad Schulz of Triangle Transit says this week's meetings get under way tonight in Raleigh:

A bill that would move the oversight of the state health plan to the treasurer's office tentatively passed the Senate today.

State senators have voted unanimously to approve reforms that would rename the state's crime laboratory and toughen up standards.  Under the bill, the state crime lab would be known as the North Carolina Crime laboratory. Lawmakers say it's a symbolic gesture designed to help give the beleagured institution a fresh start.

State senators have passed a bill that would allow law enforcement agencies to release transcripts or altered voice reproductions of 911 calls, instead of the original recordings.

Under state law, the names and addresses of 911 callers must be withheld from released recordings of those calls. But their voices are sometimes recognizable to criminal perpetrators, says Democrat Floyd McKissick of Durham.

Legislators have passed a bill that would block transportation officials from considering a proposed route for a toll road through Garner. The so-called red route would essentially cut the town of Garner in half. State officials say they don't want to build the road on that route.

A bill in the legislature that would require North Carolinians to show a photo ID at the polls has become a flashpoint of controversy among lawmakers. The measure’s Republican sponsors say the bill aims to fight voter fraud and ensure that every vote is counted. But Democrats believe the proposal is a regressive measure aimed at keeping many of their supporters away from the polls.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker gave his annual State of the City address today. Speaking at a Rotary Club meeting, Meeker summarized some of the city’s recent successes, including hosting the NHL All-Star game. He also laid out goals to continue expanding efforts at sustainability and transportation. Meeker says with unemployment rates dropping and sales stabilizing, it’s time to look ahead.

 

Duke Energy Corporation is providing a $10 million line of credit for next year's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. The credit was required by the Democratic National Committee as part of the agreement to bring the convention to the Queen City. The contract also says the convention's host committee must raise more than $36 million to cover production expenses. 

State senators have tentatively agreed to allow building new jetties along the Outer Banks.

State lawmakers tried to override two measures the governor has already vetoed during this legislative session.

North Carolina is facing one of the largest potential budget shortfalls in its history. Right now it amounts to 2.4 billion dollars, but that number could change. Two years ago, the Democratic-controlled legislature enacted temporary tax increases- including a one cent sales tax increase- to help balance the state budget. But Republican leaders who’re now in control say they don’t need the tax increase this time.

Governor Perdue plans to move nearly five hundred million dollars into the state's general fund to help pay tax refunds.

The governor says reserves are running low and that's why she needs to borrow from about a dozen different pots of money in order to pay North Carolinians their tax refunds. Republicans have cried foul, saying the governor has chosen to use money they'd like to access to ease the state's impending budget shortfall. Thom Tillis is the Speaker of the House:

Governor Bev Perdue plans to borrow five hundred million dollars from several state accounts to help pay tax refunds.

Governor Perdue says there's not enough money in the state's rainy day fund to cover the cost of all the tax refunds the state has begun to process. But she says there is enough money in about a dozen other funds that she can use.

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