MVA Monitor – October 4

The General Assembly came back this week after some time away but had a relatively light schedule. Senate leadership announced a plan to adjourn by October 31 regardless of whether there was a budget deal and indicated that more mini-budgets might come before the chamber soon.

Issue Insights

State and Legislative Issues

DOT Funding

On Wednesday the Senate approved a $3.9 billion spending bill for the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The bill essentially advanced the spending plan that has been held up as part of the budget stalemate. Notably, the bill did not address a significant cash shortfall for the department. DOT’s resources have been drained lately due to higher than average storm repair bills and payments related to a settlement of a lawsuit. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

DOT funding proposal won’t address cash crunch (WRAL)

Voter Rolls

On Wednesday, the House passed a bill that would clean up the state’s voter rolls based on jury excuses. Under the bill, clerks of court would report to the State Board of Elections the names of individuals who have gotten out of jury duty by claiming not to be U.S. citizens. The names of those individuals would be published, and the elections board would seek to determine whether those individuals are registered to vote and are in fact not U.S. citizens. Democrats have argued that the bill will disenfranchise a number of eligible voters either due to cases of mistaken identity or to cases where a person might lie about citizenship (on a non-sworn statement) to get out of jury duty. The bill passed along party lines.

Bill to scrub voter rolls based on jury excuses clears House (WRAL)

Electricity Rate Setting

A bill that could change the way electricity rates are set in North Carolina cleared the Senate on Wednesday. One part of the bill is noncontroversial and would allow utilities another option for financing repairs after a storm. The second part of the bill has drawn a great deal of attention. The Senate version of the bill would allow the Utilities Commission to set rates up to three years in advance and to allow utilities to earn a profit within a specified range. The House version of the bill would have set up a study of the second issue. The bill is likely to end up in a conference committee between the two bodies to resolve the issue.

Duke Energy bill to change rate-making process clears Senate (WRAL)

News Roundup