February 20, 2015
Welcome to the Nexsen Pruet Weekly Legislative Update! The Nexsen Pruet Public Policy team provides attorneys and clients with a newsletter summarizing the week's activities and conveying the inner workings of the legislative process and state government in Raleigh. Please feel free to pass this along to your clients or other interested parties, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list.
The North Carolina General Assembly this week did not live up to Speaker Moore’s (R-Cleveland) warning that the “quiet days” at the NCGA were done. Inclement weather postponed any planned legislative action on Tuesday and most of the day on Wednesday. The House was also expected to unveil an omnibus economic incentives bill, the introduction of which has now been postponed until next week. Rep. Brawley (R-Mecklenburg), a senior co-chair of the House Finance committee and one of the anticipated sponsors of the legislation, said Wednesday that the bill is still in draft form and that he hoped the bill would be introduced next week.
The House returned Wednesday afternoon for a full Appropriations committee meeting to hear Senate Bill 14, sponsored by Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow). The bill quickly passed through the Senate last week and would transfer $100,000 from the Department of Public Instruction to cover litigation costs for the Rules Review Commission, which is being sued by the Board of Education. The bill would also take $275,000 in unused funding for vacant positions, to cover staff costs for the Academic Standards Review Commission. It also ensures adequate funding for the Coal Ash Commission to carry out its responsibilities. The House held no-vote sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, the bill is expected be heard in the full House early next week.
Budget tweaks pass House committee – WRAL
The Senate Wednesday held a Workforce and Economic Development committee meeting, which received an update from the Program Evaluation Division on the status of the state’s current workforce development system. According to the report, there are 17 workforce development programs administered by 5 different state agencies. Senate Majority Whip Sen. Tillman (R-Randolph) suggested that he would like to see all of these programs put under one roof in the community college system and suggested that he may introduce legislation to do so.
Unlike the House, the Senate did have action on the floor this week. In a vote of 40-6, Senators passed Senate Bill 15, the unemployment insurance legislation which had been withdrawn from the calendar last week. The bill would make changes to a state board that reviews unemployment insurance appeals. It would also require recipients to show a photo ID to collect their benefits as well as increase the number of weekly required job contacts for individuals receiving unemployment insurance from two to five. This legislation is very similar to a bill that the Governor vetoed last session and the General Assembly failed to override.
Unemployment changes clear first vote in Senate– WRAL
NC Senate OKs unemployment bill; McCrory vetoed similar bill – WNCN
In the News
North Carolina CIO Sees Restructuring as Key to Success – Gov Tech
Elaine Marshall to head National Association of Secretaries of State – N&O
NC Rep. Paul Stam: 'There is no revenue shortfall' – N&O
McCrory waiting for Supreme Court before NC insurance choice – WRAL
No NC Governor Has Lost Reelection Since 1892 – Politics NC
State’s top auditor has Craven County roots – Sun-Journal
McCrory aims to put all N.C. attractions under one department – Star News
Why 'Ways and Means' is funny – WRAL
Money Talks – Talking About Politics
Colleges and universities estimate their value to N.C.: $63.5 billion – TBJ
Film leaders: Working to increase grant program, not incentives – WWAY
In Other News
- Former U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger passed away earlier this week at age 88. Rep. Ballenger served 18 years in Congress representing the western part of North Carolina. The Charlotte Observer has a nice piece on his legacy here.
- #JustOneLegislator. The only legislator to show up for work in the ice on Tuesday was Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg). He had some fun on social media, “taking over” the NCGA which garnered the attention of a few national media outlets. The News & Record has compiled his posts here.
- Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Wake) is said to be considering a run for statewide office. Speculation is that Barringer, an attorney, is eyeing the office of Attorney General. That office is likely to be an open-seat race in 2016, as sitting Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) has all but announced a run for Governor. She offered no specifics, saying “all are in the mix”.
- Linda Coleman, who lost the 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s election to now sitting Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) announced Wednesday that she will again seek the post in 2016. This sets up a potential rematch as Lt. Gov. Forest's campaign said that he intends to seek reelection. Read more in the N&O.