NCGA

Photo: Protesters gathered at the North Carolina General Assembly building on the second anniversary of what's become known as "Moral Monday" rallies.
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Hundreds of protesters returned to the North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, renewing a call on Republican state leaders to reverse several landmark pieces of legislation approved since 2011.

On the second anniversary of what’s become known as “Moral Monday” rallies, protesters gathered outside the legislative building, while some chanted inside the building beside the Senate and House chamber doors.

NC State House
NCGA

Policymakers at the General Assembly are pushing through dozens of measures with a Thursday deadline looming.

On Tuesday, Representatives pushed through about 30 measures. Most of the bills now heading to the Senate passed following little contention or debate, and with overwhelming support. Among the proposals:

School Boards Keep Power To Sue

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

Republican lawmakers are proposing changes to North Carolina abortion laws. A bill filed Wednesday would ban employees at state university medical schools from performing abortions and require a longer waiting period before the procedure is allowed.

Rep. Tim Moore is the GOP's choice for Speaker of the House
NC General Assembly

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore says a religious freedom bill is not moving forward anytime soon.

The controversial measure filed last week would give private business owners the ability to deny service to someone based on their personal religious beliefs.

Opponents say it will lead to discrimination against gays, lesbians, and potentially others in the state. During a hastily called news conference Tuesday afternoon, Moore said he needs to see how the bill would help North Carolina's brand.

A Rooms To Go billboard.
Jeff Tiberii

They’ve been called a deal breaker, a necessary evil, and largely useless.

Lawmakers are debating the role of economic incentives. Growing the economy is a complicated and arduous process. Senators approved a short-term allocation for incentives yesterday. The long-term funding plan is not as clear.

All vehicles traveling north on I-95 about halfway between Raleigh and Fayetteville pass a massive construction site in Dunn.  The unfinished building is longer than a football field.

Wake County
www.wakegov.com

At the Capitol, two controversial redistricting bills are heading for debate on the Senate floor. One would modify the boundaries for Wake County Commissioner seats. The other would change the maps for Greensboro City Council districts. Supporters say these measures improve representation. Opponents want state lawmakers to leave local governments alone.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory is proposing raises for new teachers, tax incentives for corporations and a cut to the University system. On Thursday morning, the governor laid out his budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
 

Governor McCrory detailed his spending blueprint for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. His 298-page, $21.5 billion proposal is just the first step in a long process.

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

State legislators sparred over job incentives and a change to the gas tax during finance and appropriation committees meetings Tuesday. The bills eventually made it out.

There was opposition from both liberals and some conservatives over the tax breaks designed to lure jobs.

Secretary of Commerce John Skvarla told one committee nobody likes incentives, but that the state must be competitive. The Governor has been pushing for extended and expanded incentives.

snow at the General Assembly building, Raleigh
Dave DeWitt

Some Republicans are calling on leaders at the General Assembly to again change when the state will hold its presidential primary.  Two years ago lawmakers decided to make the primary earlier - on the first Tuesday after South Carolina's, next February. State GOP Chairman Claude Pope now wants the primary moved to March 1st. He says the national Republican Party is threatening to take away delegates from North Carolina for the earlier primary. Republican state Senator Andrew Brock disagrees.

A 7-hour committee meeting carried on Wednesday at the Capitol. Refugees, open meetings and prison maintenance contracts were among the topics.
Jeff Tiberii

House Republicans filed an economic incentives bill at the General Assembly Tuesday.

This proposed measure would double the amount of incentive money available for the Job Development Investment Grant program, also known as J-DIG. Legislators want to make $45 million  in job incentives available over the next two years. The measure would require all employers seeking grant money to provide health coverage for all of its full-time employees; and, it would change the name of the program.

Political Junkie Ken Rudin

Feb 13, 2015

The governor and the legislature are at odds over changes at the Department of Transportation concerning layoffs and the gas tax. 

Plus, President Obama chose North Carolina native Loretta Lynch to fill the attorney general position, but her confirmation hearings have been delayed. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about these stories and other political news around the state.

Gasoline prices at the Carrboro Food Mart gas station in April 2013
Laura Candler

Lawmakers at the General Assembly have re-written a bill that would mean short-term savings on gas but could eventually lead to higher taxes and the elimination of 500 jobs.

During a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, Republicans said this would cut the gas tax and stabilize an uncertain gas tax revenue stream situation.

"And we need to stabilize the volatility of the gas tax," said bill sponsor Bill Rabon. "That guarantees us adequate funds to maintain our roads, improve our roads and meet our transportation needs."

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory is calling for Medicaid reform, a $1 billion transportation project, and fewer tests for students.  McCrory delivered his State of the State address to lawmakers last night in Raleigh.

The governor’s 80-minute speech before a packed house chamber on Wednesday offered more praise and pomp than policy and proposals.

He touted the first two years of his administration before laying out an occasionally detailed vision about what he hopes is next.

rainbow flag
Ted via Flickr/Creative Commons

At the North Carolina State Legislature, Senate Leader Phil Berger introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow magistrates across North Carolina to opt-out of performing same-sex marriages. He wants government officials such as magistrates and registers of deeds, who object to same-sex marriage, to receive protection.

Some North Carolina legislators say they were surprised and upset to hear that their House Chamber is undergoing renovations.

They say they didn’t green light the $125,000 expense, and that it didn't go through the legislative services commission. The project received approval from the office of House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is transitioning to U.S. senator.

“Quite a surprise,” said House Republican Representative Julia Howard. “I am shocked that they’re taking the red curtains down, that’s a piece of our history. It does disturb me.”

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

  After a prolonged legislative session marked by delayed talks and Republican infighting, the General Assembly has finished its work and adjourned for the year.

The short session dragged on as lawmakers struggled to compromise over key issues, including teacher pay and coal ash. Legislators managed to strike a last-minute deal on Wednesday that would work to remove coal ash from 33 ponds across the state.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

State lawmakers are at odds over intertwined bills that many argue are postponing the adjournment of the legislative session.

One of those measures -- House Bill 1224 -- is loaded with job-creation incentives aimed at luring businesses to the state. It would also cap local sales taxes. 

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