NC Legislature

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.

House lawmakers have passed a measure that would restrict the ability of state officials to go after corporations that may be underreporting their income in the Tar Heel state.

Republican Majority Leader Paul Stam says House Bill 619 will help create jobs by encouraging companies to do more business in North Carolina.

Paul Stam: "The passage of this bill is probably more important to the economic development and prospects of this state as far as seeking investment from other states or even other countries than everything else we do in economic development."

House lawmakers have approved a bill that would bring North Carolina closer to allowing a controversial natural gas extraction practice known as "fracking." Senate Bill 709 would also approve studying the potential of drilling for natural gas both on land and offshore. The measure would also require officials to set up the regulatory framework needed to produce the resource. Proponents of the bill say it would make the state more independent of foreign oil. But Democratic Minority Leader Joe Hackney says this measure would move too fast.

State house lawmakers have tentatively passed a controversial tort reform bill.

Senate Bill 33's Republican sponsors say capping non-economic damages for patients who're suing their doctors for malpractice would help create a friendlier climate for doctors to come to the Tar Heel state. They say the measure would rein in skyrocketing insurance costs for doctors. But Democratic representative Bill Faison- who's a well-known plaintiff's attorney- disputes that. 

State lawmakers have tentatively voted to block two municipal annexations and postpone a third. The group of House bills are part of a broader effort to reform involuntary annexations on the books for more than 50 years. The trend is spurred by constituents who don't like paying higher taxes and city fees when their county properties are annexed by neighboring municipalities.

House Considers Tort Reform

Apr 1, 2011

Members of the state house heard arguments from both sides yesterday on a tort reform bill making it's way through the legislature. The bill mirrors much of the medical malpractice bill passed recently by the state Senate. It would place a cap on non-economic damages and limit liability for emergency doctors. The bill also would make it harder to sue manufacturers for defective products.  Attorney Janet Ward Black from Greensboro opposes it. In a committee hearing webcast on WRAL, she said no other state has such sweeping product liability language on its books:

The North Carolina legislature has begun a new session at a historic time in its history. Republicans now hold a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly for the first time in more than a century. But it's going to be a difficult year. Lawmakers face a potential 3-point-7 billion dollar budget deficit. Jessica Jones reports they say they're ready to meet that challenge.

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