May 23rd - 11:22 am
UPDATED: McCrory release below Berger release
Sen. Phil Berger just sent a release on the House bill that they believe resolves the lease deal between the City of Raleigh and lawmakers. McCrory supports it as well.
Check out that story here.
Sen. Berger doesn’t appear to be on board with the House plan. Below is from the news release.
Raleigh, N.C. – Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement Thursday in response to Gov. Pat McCrory’s press conference on his plan for the Dorothea Dix campus:
“We appreciate that the governor and Raleigh mayor are attempting to make things right for the taxpayers of North Carolina and the state’s mentally ill. But it is difficult to understand why they are extending an unlawful lease. This proposed agreement delays doing the right thing until 2014 – why not do the right thing today?”
Berger also questioned the logic of giving the City of Raleigh a preference to purchase the valuable Governor Morehead School property, saying “the purpose of the Senate’s bill was to put the state on equal negotiating footing with the City of Raleigh. Instead the executive branch has ceded more ground.”
Here is the release from Gov. Pat McCrory
Raleigh, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane have asked the General Assembly to set the effective date of the Dorothea Dix lease bill to next year, in order to give the State of North Carolina and the City of Raleigh time to negotiate an improved deal.
“Mayor McFarlane and I strongly believe that we must move ahead to reach a mutual agreement,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “We look forward to working with the General Assembly to give us the time to come to an agreement that will allow us to create a destination park that will also accommodate the State’s needs.”
The two parties enter into the negotiations sharing the common goals of providing funds for mental health care and space for facilities for the Department of Health and Human Services consistent with a development of a destination park for the people of Raleigh and North Carolina.
“I appreciate the opportunity to work with the governor over the next year to come to an agreement that will result in the realization of a world-class park on the Dorothea Dix Campus,” said Mayor Nancy McFarlane. “While the Governor and I respectfully disagree on the validity of the existing lease, I believe that we will be able to come to an agreement that will be in the best interest of the citizens of Raleigh and the State of North Carolina.”
Governor McCrory and Mayor McFarlane have asked the effective date on SB334 be April 1, 2014 to allow the State and City of Raleigh time to execute a new agreement based on the following terms:
1. The City of Raleigh may lease or purchase, including by an installment sale, the Dorothea Dix property and other parcels subject to the December 28, 2012 Lease, less approximately thirty acres to be retained by the State of North Carolina for use by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
2. The State of North Carolina will discuss the additional lease, sale or grant of an easement of other state property to the City of Raleigh, including the Governor Morehead School property.
3. The purchase price will be for the fair market value of the property based on a new independent appraisal, and subject to a survey, environmental inspection and other due diligence by the City of Raleigh.
4. The proceeds of the lease or purchase will be utilized by the State of North Carolina for providing mental health services to the people of North Carolina.
5. In order to provide time for the appraisal and execution of a definitive lease or purchase agreement, the State of North Carolina and the City of Raleigh will enter into a temporary “Standstill Agreement” which will preserve the legal rights of each party without prejudice.
If the State of North Carolina and the City of Raleigh come to a new agreement, the Council of State and Raleigh City Council would have to approve the deal.
May 23rd - 10:00 am
RALEIGH—More details came to light Thursday about a compromise bill on the lease for the Dorothea Dix campus property.
Gov. Pat McCrory and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane held a news conference about the proposal.
When the 75 year lease was originally signed by former Gov. Bev Perdue at the end of 2012 in order to transform the property into a park, the move was heavily criticized by Republicans.
However on Thursday there was more of a bi-partisan approach as McCrory and McFarlane said they are working together. A House Committee advanced a proposal on Tuesday that extends renegotiation until April 2014 to determine how the land can be used.
The bill could give the City of Raleigh more land to work with while allowing the state to hold on to some of the Dorothea Dix property. This will require more appraisals and environmental assessments to be conducted to determine how much the City of Raleigh will pay.
McCrory said the new negotiation is a step in the right direction.
“This gives both parties more opportunities to really develop a comprehensive, integrated plan which meets the needs of both the state and the city,” said McCrory.
The bill has only advanced out of the House committee. However, the Senate writers have said that the are not sure if they believe that they are in agreement with the renegotiation.
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