Senate Republicans say their bill to rework North Carolina's gasoline tax will provide a short-term break to motorists while making road-building revenues more stable. Opponents argue it's just a tax increase in disguise.
The full Senate meets Wednesday to debate and hold the first of two required votes on a measure that reformulates the tax.
First, the bill would reduce the gas tax from 37.5 cents per gallon to 35 cents starting March 1 through the rest of 2015. The tax floor would be 35 cents moving forward.
The North Carolina Democratic Party is promoting the party's No. 2 administrative leader to its top job heading into the critical 2016 elections.
Hundreds of party activists meeting Saturday at a Pittsboro high school elected Patsy Keever of Asheville as chair. She got a majority of the votes cast among the five seeking to succeed outgoing Chair Randy Voller.
Keever has been 1st vice chair since 2013. She's been a state House member, county commissioner and two-time congressional candidate.
In what one group is calling a violation of state law, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is charging fees to view public records. The Southern Environmental Law Center made a request to view public documents related to Governor Pat McCrory’s 25-year transportation plan and a proposed billion-dollar transportation bond. SELC attorney Kym Hunter says they were told they would have to pay a fee of $468 to view the files.
Representative Chuck McGrady has landed an influential committee chair. Carolina Public Press reports the Hendersonville Republican will be among four chairs in the House Appropriations Committee. That committee takes charge of writing the state budget. McGrady is in his third term and will also serve as a vice chair of the House Environment Committee and as a vice chair of the Judiciary II Committee.
Abortion-rights groups are worried that Republican legislators will try to override rules proposed for North Carolina abortion clinics that activists contend balance patient safety with access to the procedure.
A local legislator in the General Assembly is taking a stand for same-sex couples. Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn of Buncumbe County joined a press conference this morning denouncing a bill that sponsors say protects religious freedom. Senate leader Phil Berger introduced the bill that would allow magistrates to opt out of weddings if they have conflicting religious beliefs. That could mean anyone, but Van Duyn says same-sex couples are the ones being targeted.
Gay marriage is front and center on this year's first real work day at the North Carolina General Assembly.
Senate leader Phil Berger filed a bill Wednesday that would allow magistrates to refuse to preside at same-sex weddings and assistant registers of deeds to not issue licenses based on religious convictions. But they wouldn't be involved in traditional marriages either.
Berger had said he'd file a recusal bill after judges last October struck down North Carolina's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
The North Carolina legislature is back in town and ready to work for the year following a two-week break.
The House and Senate planned to reconvene the General Assembly session at midday Wednesday. Little debate was expected on the first day, but lawmakers were expected to file an early flurry of bills. Two chambers elected Republican favorites Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger to their leadership posts on Jan. 14, then went home.