With three weeks to go until a self-imposed deadline for adjournment, it’s unclear whether the Senate will be able to get the votes necessary to override the Governor’s veto of the state budget. It may not matter much as a number of mini-budgets have either gone to the Governor or are headed that way.
Next week will be another light week as no votes are planned in either chamber with just a handful of lawmakers staying in Raleigh to hammer out final details on bills.
State and Legislative Issues
On Thursday, Senate leader Phil Berger (R) said he wasn’t sure if or when a vote would take place in the Senate on the motion to override the Governor’s veto of the state budget. The House and Senate have passed a number of mini-budgets that they have sent to the Governor over the last few weeks. Berger indicated that the only remaining items on which there may be broad agreement are raises for teachers and employees of the university and community college systems. Also on Thursday, the Senate gave final approval to a bill deals with some non-controversial tax issues – most extending the life of provisions currently set to expire at the end of the year. That bill received unanimous bipartisan support in the Senate.
Hurricane Dorian Relief
The State was caught off guard by a determination by FEMA to deny Individual Assistance to residents of Ocracoke Island. The agency decided that there had been extensive damage to infrastructure on the island, but that the impact to households was not severe enough to warrant Individual Assistance. FEMA’s Individual Assistance program provides grants and low-interest loans to help uninsured disaster victims get back into safe housing. The FEMA determination was surprising given that earlier this month the agency approved Public Assistance, which provides aid for repairs to public buildings, for four counties. The Governor and Congressional delegation have vowed to work on getting FEMA to reverse its decision. State lawmakers have pledged to step in with additional assistance.
Ocracoke residents mystified after FEMA rejects individual Dorian aid for them (Charlotte Observer)
Local Issues – Raleigh
Earlier this year, Virgin Hyperloop and the Regional Transportation Alliance in the Triangle started a pre-feasibility analysis to test the hyperloop technology. Hyperloop could rapidly transport people and cargo by use of a new technology that moves pods through depressurized tubes by electromagnetic force. Theoretically, the trip from Raleigh to Washington DC could be a 30-minute commute. The Triangle is being considered as a possible site to demonstrate the safety of the technology along with other selected regions. Officials from Virgin Hyperloop were in the Triangle this week. A decision could be made as early as next spring.
Hyperloop: Futuristic transit system could come to the Triangle in ‘years, not decades’ (Triangle Business Journal)
Local Issues – Charlotte
CMPD Chief Retiring
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney plans to retire this year and will return in 2020 to assist with the Republican National Convention in Charlotte. Putney committed to leading the department through the RNC before retirement. It’s unclear what may have affected his decision to step away before 2020. State law reportedly requires Putney remain away from the job for at least 30 days before coming back, and he may only work 1,000 hours for the year as a retiree. Since the news broke earlier this week, State Treasurer Dale Folwell has said that Putney’s plan may violate state laws regarding retirement pension payout, and that his office could block the chief’s retirement.
- The gun lobby and the North Carolina legislature: How much money, how much influence? (Raleigh News & Observer)
- Democrat says Chuck Schumer told him to spend campaign in ‘windowless basement’ (Charlotte Observer)
- Climate change puts North Carolina birds in trouble, an Audubon Society report says (Raleigh News & Observer)
- UNC system, Vidant Health settle spat over who oversees ECU hospital (WRAL)