NC Legislature

Members of the Senate debating the abortion bill, legislature, general assembly,
screenshot, WRAL live coverage

House Bill 695 was originally designed to ban Sharia Law in North Carolina. But last week, the bill was amended to include new restrictions on abortions in the state. Families across North Carolina came out to protest against the bill when it was discussed in the senate; however, the bill was passed 29-12.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

The North Carolina General Assembly recently decided to implement cuts to unemployment benefits as well as the maximum number of weeks one can receive unemployment funds. But altering unemployment benefits before the end of 2013 means North Carolina has been disqualified from receiving federal unemployment funding.

The North Carolina Legislative Building
Dave Crosby / flickr

Rucho resigned his co-chairmanship of the finance committee in protest of Berger's plan, which passed the Senate Thursday.

Regardless of what ultimately passes, Jessica Jones, WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief, said on the State of Things that the implications could be far reaching.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

A sweeping reform of the tax code in North Carolina is poised to move to the Senate. The plan would reduce personal and corporate income tax while expanding the reach of sales tax.

A student at McDougle Elementary School.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

  A North Carolina House Committee approved yesterday a bill that would provide funding to low income families wanting to go to private or religious schools Host Frank Stasio talks about that and other education-related news with WUNC Raleigh Bureau Chief and Education Reporter Dave Dewitt.

A crowd od protesters in Miami rallies against the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito, who opposes abortion.
Danny Hammontree

Host Frank Stasio speaks to a panel of experts to discuss the fight over abortion legislation in North Carolina. Jessica Jones is WUNC’s Capitol Bureau Chief; Suzanne Buckley is the Executive Director of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice North Carolina; Tami Fitzgerald is the executive director of North Carolina Values Coalition; and Erika Levi is an OB/GYN and abortion provider in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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

Host Frank Stasio will speak with North Carolina reporters and Senator Josh Stein about the budget and how it will impact the Triangle, Western and Coastal North Carolina. Jessica Jones is WUNC's Capitol Bureau Chief; Democratic Senator Josh Stein represents Wake County; Kirk Ross is a contributing reporter for Carolina Public Press and a policy adviser to the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

The deadline for Crossover hit the North Carolina General Assembly yesterday, striking some bills dead for the session. The self-imposed deadline requires that legislation pass at least one chamber to stay under consideration.

A variety of legislation was pushed through this week, including measures that would reform the grievance process for fired state workers, allow health insurers in health exchanges to refuse coverage for abortion and a law that would ban the Muslim Sharia law in North Carolina.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

House lawmakers have passed a bill that would revamp teacher tenure in North Carolina. The measure has bipartisan support and passed 113 to 1.

North Carolina's Congressional District 12 in 1992.
http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us

In 2010, when Republicans won control of the state House and Senate, they radically redrew voting districts in favor of their own party.  In previous elections, Democrats have done the same.  Now, there's a bipartisan effort in the state House of Representatives to reform the redistricting process.

UNC Student Body President Paul Dickson introduces speaker Frank Wilkinson at the McCorkle Place wall
Jock Lauterer, unc.edu

Free speech is considered a hallmark of universities across the nation, but in the 1960s, that wasn't always true. At least not for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1963, the North Carolina legislature passed a speaker ban, prohibiting communists from speaking on campus.

Students on campus bristled at the notion that they could not listen to anybody they chose.

Senator Thom Goolsby, Republican, is the primary sponsor of a bill repealing the Racial Justice Act
thomgoolsby.com

This week the North Carolina Senate voted along party lines to repeal the Racial Justice Act. Also in the legislation are measures designed to restart executions, which have been unofficially on hold in the state since 2006.

Critics contend that eliminating the Racial Justice Act will prevent those unfairly sentenced to death because of racial bias from getting justice. More than 150 people in the state are awaiting execution.

Republican Senator Thom Goolsby of New Hanover County sponsored the legislation repealing the Racial Justice Act, and he said on The State of Things that the Act isn’t necessary.

ID card
edmv-ddl.dot.state.nc.us

Republican leaders in the state House have unveiled details of their long-awaited Voter ID bill.

The measure would require most North Carolinians to bring photo identification with them to the polls, beginning in 2016. It would allow residents to use a number of different kinds of IDs in order to vote.
Republican Speaker of the House Thom Tillis told a news conference earlier today that weeks of discussions have gone into creating this bill.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

A bill in the legislature would require county social services offices to conduct criminal background checks on people seeking and receiving federal benefits.

Right now, social services workers may ask applicants for food stamps or cash payments if they have any outstanding warrants. But they're not allowed to disclose that information to local law enforcement officials.

An increasing number of families each year in the United States decide to have home births. But in North Carolina, having a home birth conducted by a single Certified Professional Midwife is illegal.

Republican Senators are seeking to decriminalize Certified Professional Midwife practices as well as build a licensing process for midwives.They've recently introduced the Home Birth Freedom Act and a move to decriminalize direct entry midwifery.The bills have received a lot of criticism for allowing midwives without nursing credentials to practice independently. WUNC's Capitol Bureau Chief, Jessica Jones, joins Host Frank Stasio to discuss the perspectives surrounding Senate Bills 106 and 017.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

House lawmakers have tentatively passed a bill that would overhaul state boards and commissions, but with some disagreement. Senate Bill 10 would clear out the membership of many important commissions, but House lawmakers have changed the bill to restore some scientific expertise to the Coastal Resources Commission. The House version also does not eliminate 12 special Superior Court judge positions.

House Speaker Thom Tillis
N.C. General Assembly

State legislators have invited groups of educators to visit Raleigh this week in order to get more input on measures that would affect the state's schools. House Speaker Thom Tillis says he and other leaders want to know what educators consider their most pressing issues.

North Carolina's newest Congressional districts are among those up for debate in Wake County Superior Court Monday and Tuesday.
NC Legislature / ncleg.net

A panel of judges is set to hear arguments Monday about whether to uphold or reject North Carolina's newest legislative and congressional districts.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that would block an expansion of North Carolina's Medicaid program. It passed on third reading Thursday. Republican lawmakers are opposed to enlarging Medicaid to help cover about 500,000 uninsured residents under the Affordable Care Act. Representative John Blust says the state would end up covering too many costs.

State officials say they plan to reform the health department ahead of their budget proposal to the General Assembly.  Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos told lawmakers yesterday her priorities are to overhaul the state's Medicaid program and improve her office's computer system.  Wos said in committee testimony aired on WRAL.com that she's cleaning up a department whose employees have filled out incomprehensible reports and wasted money through poor communication.

A bill that would immediately fire members of some of the most important state boards and commissions has advanced in the state Senate. Senate Bill 10 would sack members of the Utilities, Environmental Management, Industrial, and Wildlife Resources Commissions, among others. Democrats call it a blatant power grab, but Republicans say it will streamline state government.

A bill approved today by the Senate Rules Committee would eliminate and retool a number of key state boards and commissions. It would end members' terms on the Utilities Commission, Industrial Commission, and Coastal Resources Commission, among others. The bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Bill Rabon, says it will allow several key boards to be run by political appointees. Democratic Senator Josh Stein says the measure is a power grab.

North Carolina House of Representatives, North Carolina General Assembly
www.ncleg.net

Aside from a few lobbyists checking their cell phones, the halls of the General Assembly were quiet and free of protestors Wednesday. But in the House, legislators wasted no time getting down to business. An unemployment insurance bill many are watching closely will be discussed in a committee meeting today. It seeks to lower unemployment benefits so employers won't have to shoulder insurance increases.

State lawmakers convened in Raleigh today for the official first day of the 2013 legislative session. In the Senate, lawmakers re-elected Republican Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger for another two years. In the House, Speaker Thom Tillis- also a Republican- will also serve for two more years. He told lawmakers he's looking forward to this session.

State senators gave tentative approval today to two bills that would make it harder for cities to annex land outside their previous limits.

There’s a renewed fight over education funding. Dave DeWitt reports that the loss of federal stimulus money has republicans and democrats picking sides ahead of the legislature coming back to Raleigh.

A legislative committee that's studying a method of natural gas drilling sometimes called fracking met in Raleigh today. Representatives of oil and gas interest groups as well as environmental non-profits spoke at the meeting. Ray Covington of Lee County is a co-founder of a company that has entered into mineral rights agreements with many landowners in the area.

Republican leaders in the state legislature are considering measures that could end the estate tax for North Carolinians. The Revenue Laws Study Committee met today to discuss taxes in the state. The committee plans to hold a full discussion on repealing the estate tax at its next meeting. Republican Senator Robert Rucho is a co-chair of the committee.

State lawmakers are back in Raleigh this week for a special session to vote on potential amendments to the state constitution.

State lawmakers have overriden two of Governor Perdue's vetoes during a special session today.

Lawmakers are back in session to vote on proposed redistricting maps as they do every ten years. But they're also working to resurrect a number of bills the Governor red-stamped earlier this year.

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