Politics & Government

Political news

A voter ID bill that would require residents to show photo identification cards at the polls continues to move through the legislature.

Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr have joined several lawmakers who want the federal government to adopt a budget process similar to North Carolina's. Hagan and Burr have co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would require Congress to write budgets every two years rather than annually. Lawmakers face a government shutdown if they don't agree on a spending plan before this weekend.

The state’s extended benefits program for the long-term unemployed is about to end. About 37-thousand people will lose their benefits.

The 9-1-1 center for Guilford County and Greensboro will test its disaster readiness beginning today.  Guilford Metro will relocate to a backup facility across town until Friday morning.

State lawmakers have tentatively voted to block two municipal annexations and postpone a third. The group of House bills are part of a broader effort to reform involuntary annexations on the books for more than 50 years. The trend is spurred by constituents who don't like paying higher taxes and city fees when their county properties are annexed by neighboring municipalities.

House Considers Tort Reform

Apr 1, 2011

Members of the state house heard arguments from both sides yesterday on a tort reform bill making it's way through the legislature. The bill mirrors much of the medical malpractice bill passed recently by the state Senate. It would place a cap on non-economic damages and limit liability for emergency doctors. The bill also would make it harder to sue manufacturers for defective products.  Attorney Janet Ward Black from Greensboro opposes it. In a committee hearing webcast on WRAL, she said no other state has such sweeping product liability language on its books:

A bill passed in the state House would allow residents with concealed handgun permits to carry them into more public places. The measure would allow people with "concealed carry" handgun permits to bring their weapons into restaurants. This includes establishments that serve alcohol.

Republican representative Mark Hilton of Conover says the bill isn't unusual:

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.

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