NC General Assembly

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.

Protesters crowd the capitol for a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

It seems like a long time ago, but it’s really been just seven months since newly-inaugurated Governor Pat McCrory sounded this hopeful tone:

“North Carolina’s greatest strength and asset remains its people,” he said during his inauguration speech.

“On those main streets across this state, it’s the people that count and that make a difference. People will come from different backgrounds but share a common set of principles. Self-starters and hard workers.”

Protesters take a stand for abortion and women's rights at a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

The North Carolina Legislature has passed new regulations for clinics that perform abortions. It was one of the final bills passed last night by the Senate.

On a day of contentious debates in both the Senate and House, arguments over the bill with the title “Motorcycle Safety Act” stood out as especially passionate.

The North Carolina State Seal.
NC Department Of Transportation

At the start of this legislative session, the General Assembly was jam-packed with bills to alter ultra-local affairs.

vote
Dave DeWitt

The House today is expected to take up a bill that makes major changes to how North Carolina will conduct elections. The Voter Verification Information Act includes shorter early voting periods and the elimination of same-day voter registration.

Other changes include no longer pre-registering young voters and increasing the maximum campaign donation per election. That’s in addition to the original purpose of the bill, to create a voter ID requirement.

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

Both houses of the State Legislature have passed a final $20.6 billion dollar budget. Much of today's debate in the House and Senate centered on the cuts to public education. Those cuts include eliminating about 2,000 teacher assistant positions and ending teacher tenure.

"You cut a half a billion dollars out of education in this budget in order to make up for the tax giveaway that you did for the wealthy and the out-of-state corporations," said Democrat Martin Nesbitt,  the Senate Minority Leader.

vote
Dave DeWitt

If you plan to vote in a future election in North Carolina, the Voter Information Verification Act – if it passes – affects you. That goes double if you are a younger voter, don’t have a driver’s license, like to vote early, or may ever be subject to a random challenge of your status as a voter.

Gov. McCrory signs tax reform into law.
Dave DeWitt

It was all smiles inside the Governor’s mansion today. Flanked by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and his own budget director Art Pope, the Governor praised his fellow Republicans for their leadership in passing wide-ranging tax reform.

He says it will help the state recruit new businesses.

"There are a lot of people unemployed right now," McCrory said. "There are a lot of people looking for work and there are a lot of companies looking at other states to go to create new jobs. And they’re beating out North Carolina."

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

The North Carolina General Assembly is set to vote on a budget this week, one that has defenders of public education up in arms. The proposed budget ends teacher tenure, holds teacher salary flat and cuts funding for teacher assistants.

Reverend William Barber led another Moral Mondays protest at the capitol.
Matthew Lenard

For many lawmakers and lobbyists, the culmination of five months of work during this biennial long session came when a final budget was released late Sunday night. More than 500 pages and $20.5 billion, the budget was finalized behind closed doors by two men, both Republicans – Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

A busy week at the General Assembly starts today. Republican Leaders in the House and Senate hope to wrap up the session this week. But first they will have to approve a final budget.

That budget was posted online last night (pdf). It contains some provisions that are close to Senate President pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis, who have been meeting behind closed doors for several weeks to hammer it out.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are busy negotiating over a budget.

It's July 19th and state legislators know the clock is ticking. They're traditionally expected to come out with a budget for North Carolina by July first, when the new fiscal year starts.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers in the state Senate have released a new version of a measure that would require residents to present photo IDs at the polls.

The bill was posted on the legislature's website this morning. It would require residents to use one of only seven qualifying forms of photo IDs in order to vote. It does not include university IDs.

The House's version of the bill, which passed three months ago, would allow UNC system and community college students to use their campus ID cards, though it excludes students at private colleges.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State lawmakers have formally approved a tax reform package that would lower the personal and corporate income tax rates and end the estate tax.

Republican leaders and Governor McCrory have hailed the bill as one that will help bring more jobs to the state. Democrats say the tax cuts will cause great damage to education and health care.

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

The cost of policing Moral Mondays is growing, and some aren't happy about who is picking up the bill.  Usually, protests on state property are handled by the State Capitol Police and the General Assembly Police.  But since a 2011 budget cut, state capitol police have been down 40 staff members—almost half the force.

State Police Chief Glenn Allen says the cut limits what his force can do.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

A tax plan agreed upon by legislative leaders and the governor has tentatively passed the state Senate, just hours after tentatively passing the House.

The plan would reduce personal and corporate income tax rates, but, unlike an earlier proposal, it does not significantly broaden the sales tax base.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The happenings at the North Carolina General Assembly have put the state solidly in the national focus. Major network news stations, as well as the New York Times editorial board, have begun to point a finger at the state.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

Lawmakers in the state House have passed a bill that would place more requirements on clinics that provide abortions in North Carolina.

While some legislators say the measure is not as restrictive as a similar bill passed in the Senate last week, abortion-rights advocates say this measure could seriously restrict womens’ access to the procedure.

The House debated SB 353 today.
Screen Shot, WRAL Broadcast

The State House has passed a bill imposing new restrictions on clinics that perform abortions. The bill passed 74-41. Republicans say the measure is meant to protect the health of women. Republican Jim Fulgium of Wake County is a physician. He says this legislation will provide the rules to protect a woman's health.

Protesters gather outside the legislative building to protest the abortion bill passed by the Senate Wednesday morning.
Jessica Jones

There are a range of facilities in North Carolina where a woman can get an abortion: a stand-alone clinic, a physician’s office, an ambulatory surgical facility, a hospital, and a hospital-affiliated clinic or health center. According to a report released by the Guttmacher Institute in 2011, the most common abortion providers in the state are stand-alone clinics, which are licensed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Most clinics that provide abortions also offer a range of other services related to reproductive health.  In addition to clinics, all hospitals and obstetrics/gynecology doctors are legally licensed to perform abortions, although not all do.

How would House Bill 695 affect abortion providers in NC?

On July 3, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill (HB 695) that, if signed into law, would likely shut down all 15 clinics that provide abortions in the state. It would not affect the one abortion-performing ambulatory surgical center in Asheville, nor would it threaten hospitals or hospital-affiliated women’s health centers.

NC House
Jessica Jones

House lawmakers have passed their own version of a bill to regulate abortion clinics in a committee meeting. This comes after Governor McCrory said he would veto a similar bill passed by the Senate.

The House's bill was worked into an unrelated measure and passed in a Judiciary committee meeting this morning. The new bill shares some features of a previously passed Senate measure that places tighter restrictions on clinics that provide abortions.

Protesters gather outside the legislative building to protest the abortion bill passed by the Senate Wednesday morning.
Jessica Jones

A bill that would require abortion clinics in North Carolina to have the same building codes and standards as ambulatory surgery centers has received final approval from the state Senate.  All of Planned Parenthood's clinics in North Carolina would not meet those standards.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

Lawmakers in the state Senate have tentatively passed a measure that would require all abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.

The rules that would regulate abortion clinics were inserted Tuesday evening into another bill prohibiting the application of foreign laws in state courtrooms. The proposed regulations also include a measure requiring a physician to be present during an abortion. That could make it complicated for doctors to provide non-surgical abortions in which patients take pills to end a pregnancy.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Lawmakers in the state Senate have tentatively approved a bill that would cut personal income tax rates and phase out the corporate income tax.

It would set the personal income tax rate at 5.75 percent, and it would cap the gas tax rate for two years.

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