Bill to restrict local government fails

September 30, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A late bill that would have banned local governments from regulating housing and rental practices and changing employment rules such as raising the minimum wage was kept off the House floor by the Rules Committee.

House votes to remove cap on light-rail spending

September 29, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. House voted 81-28 to remove a $500,000 cap on light-rail spending, a measure that would restore funding for a proposed Durham-Chapel Hill line. The 17-mile project was set to receive $138 million from the N.C. Department of Transportation before legislators added the cap to the state budget bill. The Senate could vote on the change Tuesday.

Price tag for legislative overrun: $2 million

September 28, 2015

(News & Record, Greensboro)

The N.C. General Assembly is expected to wrap up its current session this week, nearly three months after the fiscal year ended June 30 and making it the longest and most expensive session in more than a decade. The cost of the overrun is more than $2 million.

US Attorney's Office investigating DHHS

September 28, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services received subpoenas requesting information on several high-ranking employees as part of a federal criminal investigation. The subpoenas were served in late July, prior to the Aug. 4 resignation of DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos.

Claims of secrecy, disagreements mar search for UNC president

September 25, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Some members of the UNC Board of Governors feel they are being left in the dark regarding the system's search for a new president. Jim Holmes, who represented the board during state budget negotiations, resigned this week as chairman of the board's public affairs committee. Holmes said in an email that the chairwoman of the 11-member search committee unfairly accused him of trying to build a coalition to influence the search.

Urban legislators criticize light-rail funding cap

September 24, 2015

(The Charlotte Observer)

Legislators from North Carolina's urban counties are seeking to repeal a state budget provision that prevents the N.C. DOT from contributing more than $500,000 to any light-rail project. A 17-mile proposed Durham-Chapel light-rail line could be affected; Charlotte's Blue Line extension, already under construction, isn't subject to the new law.

$2 billion bond referendum moved to March

September 23, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The Senate Finance Committee moved a bond vote from November 2016 to March in an effort to take advantage of lower interest rates. The revised $2 billion bond package increases university spending from $921 million to $980 million and restores funding for a science-building renovation at Fayetteville State and new business schools at N.C. Central and UNC Pembroke.

State legislature votes to privatize Medicaid

September 23, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Under the bill approved by both chambers on Tuesday, North Carolina would contract with three companies that would offer statewide health-insurance plans for Medicaid recipients plus up to 10 companies that would offer regional plans. The conversion is expected to take years.

Senate votes to restore funds for business incentives

September 22, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. Senate unanimously approved on Monday a measure that would replenish the state's main jobs incentives fund. The bill would cap incentives at $20 million a year for the next two years, though that cap could be extended to $35 million if a major employer promises to invest at least $500 million and create at least 1,750 jobs. A final Senate vote and House vote are set for Tuesday.

NC budget lowers income taxes, adds more taxes on services

September 21, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The $21.74 billion budget Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law on Friday includes new sales taxes on car repairs, appliance installation and other services. Those taxes will be offset about $400 million in personal income tax cuts.
Also: 2015 budget deal changes taxes and fees