NC General Assembly

NC General Assembly

State lawmakers in Raleigh held a meeting Tuesday to discuss moving funding from some non-profit groups to the state Department of Commerce. The joint oversight commission included an update on the shrinking of the state’s Rural Economic Development Center, a formerly powerful organization that provided grants to rural areas. Most of the center’s assets are in the process of shifting to the Department of Commerce.

Prescription drugs at a pharmacy.
Aunti P via Flickr, Creative Commons

Orange County health officials say they will soon begin distributing kits that will help to prevent certain drug overdoses. 

State legislators passed a law that allows the drug Naloxone to be prescribed to patients.  Naloxone can reverse overdoses caused by painkillers like Oxycontin and hydrocodone.  

Orange County health director Colleen Bridger says making the kits available can help reduce what was a high number of deaths in the state since 1999 from abuse of these powerful pain medications.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services deleted staff rebuttals from a report that gave a harsh assessment of the state’s Medicaid program, according to a report by North Carolina Health News. Critics allege that this paints the Medicaid program in a negative light. Host Frank Stasio talks to North Carolina Health News editor and founder Rose Hoban; and Associated Press reporter Michael Biesecker.

Police stand outside the capitol during a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver testified recently that law enforcement officers collected intelligence on participants in Moral Monday protests. Police officials say the measures were necessary to ensure public safety. Critics say the move went too far.

Beth Wood
NC Auditor's Office

State Auditor Beth Wood says she and other officials from her office did their best to warn Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos that it would be better to wait to go live with a new system to process Medicaid claims.

The system, called NCTracks, went live on July 1st of this year. Health care providers cite numerous problems. Many say they haven't received payments from the state in months. Auditor Wood says the previous administration had a timeline of 22 months to go live.

NC General Assembly, DHHS, Secretary Aldona Wos
Jessica Jones

The head of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, Aldona Wos, and other department leaders were grilled by lawmakers at an oversight committee meeting Tuesday in Raleigh.

Lawmakers and some members of the public questioned the department’s hiring policies, new payment systems and future plans for the state’s Medicaid program.  Wos fielded tough questions from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle all day.

Moral Monday
Jessica Jones

The first Moral Monday activist to be tried has been found guilty by a Raleigh court.

Wake County District Court Judge Joy Hamilton found Saladin Muammad guilty on three counts Friday afternoon. They were misdemeanor charges for trespassing, failing to disperse and violating building rules at a protest on May thirteenth.

Another protester, Patrick O'Neill, said he wasn't surprised at today's guilty charge. But Muammad and his attorney plan to appeal, and O'Neill thinks that could have a better result.

Gun
Megathon Charlie via Flickr, Creative Commons

Beginning Tuesday, residents with concealed carry permits will be able to legally bring handguns into restaurants and bars across the state.  The new measure also allows concealed guns on state property such as public schools and college campuses, provided the weapons are locked in a vehicle. Restaurant and bar owners can opt out of the new law by posting a sign that prohibits concealed weapons in the establishments.

school bus maintenance
Dave DeWitt

Consider the school bus. It’s big and yellow, a loud diesel engine spewing black smoke into the air. Lots of old gum under the seats. Maybe a surly but lovable driver. And plenty of spirited kids climbing on at the end of another long school day.

Coal fired power plant
eutrophication&hypoxia via Flickr, Creative Commons

A bill passed in the General Assembly last year could ease environmental restrictions on some industries including paper mills and power plants that are sources of air pollution.

If approved by state agencies, the measure would allow those industries to comply only with federal regulations and bypass separate state air toxins rules created in 1989. Environmental and community groups hope to stop the plan from going forward.

Office of Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

State lawmakers have successfully overridden two bills that Governor Pat McCrory vetoed.

One is a measure that would require welfare recipients to be tested for drugs. The other expands an exception designed to allow farmers and other employers to skip a requirement to verify workers' immigration status.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

This week, the General Assembly overrode two of Governor McCrory’s vetoes on high profile measures. One measure requires drug testing for certain welfare recipients and the other loosens restrictions for seasonal workers. Host Frank Stasio speaks with WUNC's Capitol bureau chief Jessica Jones about the response to legislature's moves. In other political news, the State Board of Elections ruled yesterday on two controversial decisions by local elections boards. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC’s Raleigh bureau chief Dave DeWitt about the decisions. 

Image of NC General Assembly where lawmakers are considering two controversial bills.
Credit NC General Assembly

Lawmakers in the state House have voted to override Governor McCrory's vetoes on two bills.

One measure contains a provision designed to give farmers more leeway to check the immigration status of their workers. Democratic Representative Larry Hall says that's something farmers need.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Lawmakers will be back in session Tuesday to consider overriding Governor McCrory's vetoes of two bills.

Image of NC General Assembly where lawmakers are considering two controversial bills.
Credit NC General Assembly

The North Carolina General Assembly goes back into session Tuesday. Lawmakers will consider Governor Pat McCrory’s vetoes of two bills. One requires drug testing for certain welfare recipients. The other grants immigration exemptions for some seasonal workers.

www.ncga.state.nc.us
www.ncga.state.nc.us / North Carolina General Assembly

For 17 years, North Carolina Senator Ellie Kinnaird represented the constituents in Orange and Chatham Counties with passion.


Democratic Senator Ellie Kinnaird announced her resignation Monday. She had served nine terms.
elliekinnaird.org

Nine-term Democratic Senator Ellie Kinnaird has announced she's resigning. Representing Orange and Chatham Counties, the 81-year-old Kinnaird served 17 years in the state Senate and was also once mayor of Carrboro. Kinnaird says there's no greater privilege than to make public policy, but she says she was frustrated at not being able to influence legislation. She was one of only 17 Democrats in the 50-member Senate.

A teacher reads to elementary school students.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

Michael Martin is a teacher. His wife is a teacher’s assistant. They love their jobs and work in adjacent rooms in their school in Buncombe County, teaching special needs students and raising three kids of their own. But their life’s work comes with a real-world sacrifice, here in the state that ranks 48th in the country in teacher salaries.

Megalodon tooth with two great white shark teeth.
Brocken Inaglory & Parzi via Flickr, Creative Commons

Many bills brought before this year’s General Assembly were hotly debated and heavily protested. But one bill that sailed through both chambers without a hitch was HB 830, which designates six new official state symbols. Gov. Pat McCrory signed it into law in June. If you’re a Tar Heel, here are your newest state designations:

A woman advocates for abortion and reproductive rights at a Moral Mondays protest rally at the capitol.
Matthew Lenard

Earlier this week, Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill that would impose stricter regulations on clinics that provide abortions.

Among other things, the law requires state health officials to develop more regulations that will govern the clinics. It also contains a clause in which health officials may issue temporary rules during that rule making process.

electronic cigarettes
dikiy via Flickr, Creative Commons

Tobacco shop retailers are following a new law that keeps them from selling electronic cigarettes to minors. Many smokers use e-cigarettes as a replacement for tobacco cigarettes. The battery-operated devices heat small amounts of a nicotine solution. Smokers then inhale the vapors. 

Donnie Angelini runs a tobacco shop in Raleigh.  He says his policy has always been to market his store's products to adults only.

UNC-TV
UNC-TV

July was an anxious month for many state-funded (or partially state-funded) agencies, as leaders in the Legislature hashed out a final budget. That was true for one of the most high-profile: UNC-TV, with four million viewers statewide.

NC General Assembly, Moral Mondays
Jessica Jones

Organizers of the "Moral Monday" protests held one of their largest marches at the legislature Monday.

Police watching the rally estimated there were between 4,000 and 5,000 protesters there. Many were teachers, who were wearing red clothing.

Governor McCrory signs first bill February 18, 2013
Governor's office

Dozens of bills passed by the State Legislature in the last few days are sitting on Governor Pat McCrory’s desk. McCrory says he will sign most, but wants to take a closer look at a few.

Those bills include one that requires welfare recipients to be drug tested, and another that deals with billboards along highways.

The Governor said he is most proud of the tax reform law he signed earlier this week.

Police stand outside the capitol during a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

The North Carolina Legislature stayed up late last night to make a few last minute decisions before the end of session. The Senate finished it's business at 2 am, and the House reconvened this morning to squeeze a few final votes in. Now an abortion bill and an election bill are both headed to Governor Pat McCrory.

Pages