NC General Assembly

Renee Ellmers
http://beta.congress.gov/

Another battle over abortion regulations played out in Washington this week. This time, the conflict was within the Republican Party over a bill in the House that would have banned abortions beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) led the opposition, but put her support behind a new measure that would cut all federal funding for the procedures.

Meanwhile, a North Carolina judge heard arguments about new proficiency standards for public schools. He's considering whether they meet the constitutional mandate of a "sound, basic education."

North Carolina Legislature passes a tax reform bill.
W Edward Callis III

State lawmakers will be back in Raleigh Wednesday for a one-day organizational session. The most important task at hand for legislators is to formally elect the heads of the state House and Senate. And there shouldn't be any surprises.

The previous session's President Pro Tem of the Senate, Republican Phil Berger of Eden, is expected to be re-elected easily. He's scheduled to hold a news conference later in the morning.

Image of Student Protesters
Jeff Tiberii

    

Members of the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors heard presentations Wednesday and Thursday from centers and institutes across the system as they consider possible cuts. 

A picture of a stethoscope.
jasleen_kaur / Flickr/Creative Commons

A Medicaid oversight subcommittee has approved recommendations laying out goals for reform of the state's health insurance program for low-income residents. But support for the measure was not unanimous among Republicans. 

The recommendations approved Tuesday will now go before the full Health and Human Services oversight committee.

Two-pages of findings sketch out general goals for Medicaid reform in the state. Overall, it reiterates the feeling among some lawmakers- including Senator Ralph Hise- that the primary goal in reforming Medicaid should be to cut costs.

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

North Carolina Republicans maintained their super majority in the state House and Senate after Tuesday night’s election, meaning they will continue to have the ability to override gubernatorial vetoes and pass laws without a single vote from Democrats.

In the Senate, Republicans gained one seat, raising their majority to 34 seats in the 50-member changer. In the House, Democrats gained as many as four seats, likely lowering the Republican majority to 73 seats in the 120-member house.

Beth Wood
NC Auditor's Office

The state auditor's office is preparing detailed audits of six state government agencies in order to comply with a request from state lawmakers. Earlier this week, lawmakers on the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee asked for the audits. The request will provide specific line item details on how state funds are actually spent, says State Auditor Beth Wood.

A woman is arrested at the state capitol as a part of a Moral Mondays protest.
NAACP

In the above interview, host Catherine Brand speaks with Capitol Reporter Jorge Valencia about Raleigh's top prosecutor's decision to dismiss hundreds of cases against people who were arrested for protesting at the state Capitol last year.

In talking about the decision, District Attorney Ned Mangum referenced a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Massachusetts law limiting protests outside abortion clinics. He says the District and Superior courts in Wake County have cited the case to dismiss some protest cases here.

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

Gov. Pat McCrory released a video Friday stating, he will not call the General Assembly back to Raleigh for a special session.  In it he says he doesn't see the need to bring legislators back after a long and at time contentious short session. 

“It would be counter- productive and a waste of taxpayer money to bring the General Assembly back when there is no agreement in place on issues already voted on," McCrory said in the video release.  "And after a lengthy session, they need a break and frankly, I need a break from them.”

Harold Brubaker
Wikipedia

The most influential lobbyist in North Carolina is former state House speaker Harold Brubaker, according to a report from the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Brubaker, a Republican who represented Randolph County for 18 terms, counts Alliance for Access to Dental Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and 21st Century Oncology among his current clients.

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

Governor Pat McCrory says he plans to sign a bill to manage North Carolina’s coal ash ponds. But he may also challenge a key part of it.

The governor played a role this summer when members of the House and Senate were crafting the  plan. He made suggestions of his own on what to do with Duke Energy's 100 million tons of coal ash.

The bill is now on his desk. Over the weekend, on the talk show NC Spin, his support for it was cautious.

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