North Carolina Legislative Update

July 3, 2008

Pardon Our Dust

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Legislative leaders said late Thursday that budget negotiators have eliminated most House and Senate differences, but no floor votes on a final spending plan will come before the holiday weekend. House Speaker Joe Hackney, D-Orange, and Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, D-Dare, met several times to work out conflicts in competing budget bills to adjust the second year of a two-year budget that began Tuesday. Hackney said the major differences between the chambers on education spending and construction projects had been settled. The two sides are also considering whether to adjust proposed tax breaks.

Other Legislative News

  • George Stokes, the top administrator of the State Health Plan, has been fired. Stokes was told by Insurance Commissioner Jim Long on Tuesday that he had been terminated after Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, and House Majority Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, co-chairs of the Select Committee on Employee Hospital and Medical Benefits sent a letter saying that they wanted him removed. The two said the firing was the result of projections showing that an expected $50 million surplus for the plan would instead be a $65 million loss.
  • A House judiciary committee approved Governor Easley’s foreclosure plan Thursday. The vote sends the bill to an appropriations panel for more review. The proposal would give the banking commissioner more power to negotiate with mortgage providers and homeowners who are struggling to pay high-rate mortgages. The commissioner also would be allowed to pause foreclosure proceedings for one month.
  • House members approved a 9 month-moratorium on involuntary annexations. Cities and towns would be temporarily barred from annexing county land without residents’ approval.
  • The Senate Finance Committee recommended approval for a bill that would allow internet resellers, with the permission of the original sales outlet, to resale sporting event and concert tickets above their face value price.


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