May 22nd - 6:59 am
Foxx is a one step closer to becoming the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
People across the state are keeping a close eye on Foxx’s D.C. debut. President Barack Obama nominated Foxx in April to be his next transportation secretary.
This afternoon, Foxx will make his first appearance before the Senate commerce committee.
Foxx will be introduced to the committee by North Carolina Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr.
He’s expected to answer questions about his background and views on transportation, including the administration’s commitment to high-speed rail.
The committee will vote on whether to recommend Foxx for the cabinet position at a later date.
If approved, he could be confirmed by the full Senate in June, and at age 42, would become the youngest member of the Cabinet.
- Erin Roberts
May 21st - 5:37 pm
Capital Tonight anchor Tim Boyum sits down with Gov. Pat McCrory to discuss the Senate budget, Gov. McCrory’s legislative priorities, and what the governor sees as his role in state government.
Watch the clip here.
May 21st - 2:40 pm
On Capital Tonight: The Senate has released its proposed two-year budget. Sen. Pete Brunstetter joins Tim Boyum to discuss the details. Plus, the Greensboro News & Record’s Travis Fain and NC Health News’ Rose Hoban join the reporters roundtable. Watch the full episode here.
May 20th - 11:52 am
Gov. Pat McCrory said in statement that he agrees with the proposed Senate budget on “specific goals with jobs, energy, transportation and Medicaid,” but he disagrees on other areas. He wrote:
“However, there are several areas that need further dialogue as they differ from the budget and policies I have previously laid out.”
Several areas for further review include:
- Elimination of Special Superior Court judges
- Transfer of the SBI
- Exclusion of drug treatment courts
- No salary increases for state employees
- No expansion of pre-K
- No eugenics compensation
- Does not allow for routine legal services in each agency
“Today is the second step of a four-part budget process. These differences are still within the general parameters of our goals, and we look forward to working with the Senate and also reviewing the House budget proposal in the coming weeks.”
May 19th - 9:47 pm
The plan was released late Sunday evening.
It is almost identical to the bottom line of Gov. Pat McCrory’sbudget proposal on matters such as education reform and health care.
It includes more than $1 billion in additional state dollars to control Medicaid costs.
The proposal would provide $53.6 million dollars for education reform while eliminating a K-12 flex cut for local school districts.
The Senate plans to push the budget through committee and the Senate floor this week.
The current budget is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on June 30.
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger’s office said the budget will be made available to the public on the General Assembly’s website late Sunday night.
May 19th - 9:41 pm
On Capital Tonight: Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist barnstormed North Carolina this week. He talks with Tim Boyum about North Carolina’s proposals on tax reform. Plus, the Bow Tie Caucus convenes to wrap up the week in politics.
Watch the episode here.
May 17th - 10:34 am
State lawmakers had to meet a self-imposed deadline this week to complete all work that began in their own chamber. And by 2:30 p.m. Thursday, the House had sent all of its bills to the Senate and the Senate did the same for the House.
Lawmakers worked long hours in committees on the floor debating and voting to get hundreds of pieces of legislation approved by their respective chambers.
Legislators were working to meet the crossover deadline when anything that started in the House had to be sent across the hall to the Senate, and vice versa before midnight Thursday. Otherwise, the legislation died for the year.
While it may have resulted in a few late nights, it was an early adjournment Thursday.
“I think our members have done a very good job this week, staying here when we need them, paying attention to what has to get done, and controlling their exuberance in trying to push things that they know there is not a lot of support for,” said President Pro-Tem Sen. Phil Berger.
In the last week, bills have cleared chambers that get rid of some environmental restrictions that lawmakers say aren’t working, fix the several hundred million dollar hole in medicaid funding, and restricts some coverage of abortions.
“It expands the number of people who can take part now in denying healthcare to women and it prevents women from purchasing insurance on the healthcare exchange with abortion coverage,” said Rep. Alma Adams, a Guilford County Democrat.
Leaders said they are pleased with the efficiency lawmakers used to over 100 bills through this part of the process. However, long hours and decisions to restrict some debate did bother some lawmakers.
“That we have undermined the functions of this House. The House is here to debate the issues of our communities, 120 of us to cut off debate after two three speakers is outrageous,” said Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham County Democrat.
With crossover complete, the calendar is now essentially set for the rest of the legislative session, except for some bills that deal with finance issues. Legislative leaders say they believe they have accomplished what they needed and wanted to this session.
“The bills that we’ve passed are bills that do have some, or a good deal of support on the senate side and our bills that our members feel are good policy,” said Sen. Berger.
Any bills revolving around spending or creating revenue are not subject to crossover and legislators do have safeties built into the rules to allow other bills to be considered if they need to be.
- Loretta Boniti
May 17th - 10:33 am
RALEIGH — The state House has now released its proposal for how to overhaul the state’s tax structure, while one of the nation’s leaders in tax reform — Grover Norquist — rallied folks on the Republican ideas to lower tax rates for most North Carolinians.
Conservative groups were talking tax reform at the Legislative Building in Raleigh Thursday, including Grover Norquist, the founder of the national group Americans for Tax Reform.
“What would I urge people in North Carolina, in the House and the Senate, to do: lower rates. And when the rates are lower? Then, yes, lower rates, and when you get to zero, probably stop there,” said Norquist.
Norquist was standing side by side with leaders in the state Senate to applaud the tax reform plan they outlined last week, which lowers corporate, income and sales taxes, while expanding the base.
“Both the economy based on the 1930 model and our tax policy have failed us with income,” said Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, “which means people’s paychecks have declined, with poverty increasing and the fifth highest unemployment rate in the country.”
But the Senate is now not the only with a plan for reform. On Thursday afternoon, House leaders put out their own plan. Contrary to the Senate, the House is only expanding the tax base by a smaller margin, and not closing all current loopholes.
House leadership tweeted a picture of themselves meeting with Norquist, who said even though the House and Senate aren’t on the exact same page for tax reform, he believes the state is heading in the right direction.
“When we are having a conversation of how to go quickly to get that way and the Senate and the House are both going in the same direction of lower rates, that is a healthy competition in the right direction,” said Norquist.
State lawmakers have said they intend to pass some sort of tax reform before the end of this year’s legislative session.
- Loretta Boniti
May 17th - 10:32 am
Watch the episode here.
May 16th - 1:18 pm
Democratic strategist Frank Eaton is calling for an investigation into NC Democratic Party chairman Randy Voller, ahead of district conventions this weekend.
Eaton brings up growing questions about Voller’s leadership in a video to state Democrats: Firing the interim director and installing himself as executive director, possible misuse of funds, and intimidation of staff members.
A group of Democrats filed a petition last week asking the executive council to remove Voller as interim director.