2014 NC Legislature

Here's what NC's early vote looks like http://wapo.st/1x8ulLQ
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This is our election night blog. Complete election results can be found here.

NPR Politics Desk
NPR

This is NPR's blog following the hotly contested 2014 election:

Here are the latest 2014 mid-term election results from the North Carolina Board of Elections. (See a wider version of this information).

The run up to midterm elections has sparked many heated legal and ideological arguments over voting procedures and requirements. To understand the debate, I went to Charlotte, North Carolina for a live community conversation around these voting laws. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a North Carolina law to go into effect that eliminates same-day voter registration and reduces the number of early voting days.

This is the voter guide.
NC Center for Voter Education/UNC-TV

U.S. House, State Senate, District Attorney, Board of Commissioners, Register of Deeds, Sheriff, N.C. Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, N.C. District Court...there will be a lot more names on your ballot than those running for U.S. Senate.

In my county, there are 22 choices to be made.

Ahead of the midterm elections, Michel Martin is visiting Charlotte, N.C., to learn more about Latino voters' growing influence in the state. Join Michel for a Facebook chat from 4:30-5 p.m. ET today as she answers questions and shares more on her reporting.

There is a comprehensive, interactive Google map that shows early voting locations across the state.

Click here to see precise locations and hours, even directions. Most locations are open Monday-Friday until close of business. Saturday hours are also available.

You can vote in any of the early voting locations in your county.

Early voting continues until 11/1.

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Flickr user Erik Hersman

Friday was the deadline to register to vote in North Carolina. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the state's new voting law to be in place, eliminating same-day registration in the days before the election. In response, some groups increased their voter registration efforts. The Durham Board of Elections has been getting so many registrations that they doubled their staff from six to 12.

Judy Harwood usually works at the front desk, but the other day she was typing up names and addresses in an overflow room in the back of the building.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

A few members of the North Carolina House of Representatives will be back in Raleigh for a skeleton session today, but no real business is expected to be conducted. Technically, they need to be there to keep the legislature in session. That’s because they couldn’t agree with their colleagues in the Senate on one of their main priorities this summer – what to do about 33 coal ash dumps around the state.

This story starts in February this year, and you might have seen it on national newscasts.

Wright School
Dave DeWitt

Doris Tilley has driven by the Wright School, on Roxboro Street in Durham, for 50 some-odd years. Many times, she’s thought of turning into the gravel driveway, to re-visit the place that had such a significant impact on her family.

Last Friday, she did just that, meeting with students and staff.

Tilley’s daughter was one of the very first students here, in 1963. It was one of the few positive educational experiences she would ever have.

photo of the NC legislature
Wikimedia

    

Republican senators walked out of budget negotiations this morning at the General Assembly this morning. The move followed House Republican Senior Chairman Nelson Dollar's call for educators to speak to the joint body.

"One of the reasons why we felt it was important to bring folks forward is that if these are going to be public meetings, let's have some public input," Dollar said. 

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown said Representative Dollar overstepped when he called for outside testimony.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

  Budget writers in the General Assembly are moving forward with their negotiations, but it's still not clear when they might finish putting together a spending plan adjustment for the fiscal year that has already begun.

In an open conference committee Tuesday afternoon, legislators didn't reach an agreement on the size of teacher raises, though Senate budget writers have agreed to allow teachers to receive raises without forgoing career status protections. 

Promotional trailers: Homeland, Ironman 3, Hunger Games
Showtime, Marvel Studios, Lionsgate

North Carolina could see fewer hits like Iron Man 3 or Homeland filmed in the state. That’s because tax incentives that encourage the film industry to make movies here are set to expire in January. Some lawmakers are trying to pass a measure that would give grants to the film industry to keep production companies here. But while budget negotiations are underway, time is running out to pass legislation.

Gov. Pat McCrory stands at a podium and speaks to the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday.
Dave DeWitt

Gov. Pat McCrory says he and budget negotiators in the state House and Senate have serious differences over Medicaid budget forecasts and education spending. He spoke with reporters on Monday, saying he was taking precautions in case lawmakers aren't able to put together a budget before July 1st. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory is relatively new to Raleigh but is an old hand at politics.

He was first elected to the Charlotte City Council in 1989. He went on to serve for fourteen years as the mayor of North Carolina’s largest city.  McCrory first ran for governor against Beverly Perdue, but lost in 2008. 

Four years later, he ran again, and won. It was the first time since Reconstruction that North Carolina had both a Republican governor and GOP majorities in both houses. 

McCrory spoke about his decision to sign HB 589 in a video.
NC Governor's Office

Thursday afternoon, Capitol Bureau Chief Jessica Jones sat down with Governor Pat McCrory for a one-on-one interview.

The governor continued to advocate for teacher raises, but says he has some differences with the General Assembly on how to get that done.

Those differences will have to get worked out soon if lawmakers hope to meet the July 1st deadline for the next fiscal year.

But as the governor discussed with Jessica Jones, the budget is not the only issue facing his administration.

Budget
openclipart.org

 

North Carolina House leadership has proposed a $21.1 billion budget. The plan gives teachers a five percent pay raise and does not require educators to give up career status. The Senate plan offers a larger raise but eliminates career status. The House and Senate plans also differ on Medicaid management. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau chief Jessica Jones about the budget proposals.

NC House Chamber
Wikipedia

    

State lawmakers continue to plod forward on a budget in the short session while pushing policy changes on fracking, Common Core standards and coal ash clean-up.

Photo: The old North Carolina State Capitol building.
Bill Dickinson via Flickr

The North Carolina legislature is set this week to begin the third step in preparing adjustments for the state's annual budget. Members of the House of Representatives are expected to prepare their proposal in subcommittees, members of the full Appropriations Committee may then go over it next week, and the full chamber may vote on it also next week, Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) told WRAL-TV.

A Marcellus Shale drill rig in Pennsylvania used in the fracking process.
Ken Skipper, USGS

Members of the North Carolina General Assembly sent Gov. Pat McCrory a bill on Thursday night that would allow the state to issue permits for hydraulic fracturing as early as May 2015, effectively lifting the state’s de-facto moratorium on the controversial shale gas drilling method.

McCrory is a long-time supporter of hydraulic fracturing and is likely to sign the bill into law.

photo of the North Carolina Senate
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / Flickr

Senate leaders have released their proposed budget for the next fiscal year. They’re looking to spend about 21 billion dollars. Their plan would make substantial changes to the Medicaid program - and would scale back several state agencies, including the Department of Justice. Senate leaders also proposed hefty pay raises for public school teachers. 

For months now, Senate leaders have made it very clear that they want to give teachers pay raises. But they’ve been pretty coy about the details until this week.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

The biggest piece of legislation expected when North Carolina law makers return from the Memorial Day weekend is the Senate’s budget proposal for the fiscal year, which starts July 1. The office of Rules Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville) said on Friday that a budget could be made public this week, and the office of Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger Jr. (R-Eden) similarly said a budget will be released “in the coming days.”

Triad News Update

May 20, 2014
The Dan River flows through Danville, VA 22 miles down stream from the site of a coal ash spill in Eden. Officials say treated water there remains safe to drink.
Jeff Tiberii

    

Two Republican lawmakers introduced a bill to the North Carolina Senate last week to cut back on the threat of coal ash pollution in North Carolina. 

A Carlie C's grocery store parking lot
Charlie C's

Some North Carolina lawmakers want to limit a tax cities can charge local businesses.

State lawmakers have been trying to resolve this for more than 10 years: A tax that businesses have to pay cities to set up shop there.

On Thursday, a committee sent a bill to the House of Representatives limiting the tax to $100.

But some cities say that cuts an important source of revenue. Charlotte, for instance, would lose more than $8 million.