North Carolina Representatives and Senators gathered in the House chambers last Wednesday evening to receive Governor Pat McCrory’s biennial State of the State Address. Governor McCrory outlined his 2015 agenda, which includes reforms in education, funding of transportation projects, and economic development proposals. Aside from the State of the State Address, it was a quiet week at the legislature. House legislators temporarily passed a measure that would ask voters in 2016 to choose whether eminent domain should be banned, through an amendment to the State Constitution. After the House gives final approval to the bill this week, it will go over to the Senate for debate.
 

State of the State

PRESS RELEASE: Governor McCrory Outlines Ambitious Agenda to Continue Economic Revival 
After a very successful two years since entering office, Governor Pat McCrory will present a broad set of reforms and policies in his 2015 State of the State address.

TRANSCRIPT: 2015 State of the State Address 
As we have grown to become the 9th most populous state in the nation, let's continue together to fulfill our potential, and create opportunity for all of North Carolina.

Education

ABC 11: North Carolina school board approves online charter schools experiment 
North Carolina's statewide school board is approving the first online schools run by for-profit companies and with the flexibility that goes with being charter schools.

FOX 46 CAROLINAS: North Carolina Public School Performance Grades Released 
North Carolina's first Public School Performance Grades were released Thursday, February 5, by the North Carolina State Board of Education.

NEWS & OBSERVER: Study: Early childhood programs in NC reduce special education 
Children enrolled in North Carolina’s state-supported early education programs have a reduced chance of being placed in special education by third grade, Duke University researchers say.

Health Care

WRAL: Answers on Medicaid expansion waiting on Supreme Court 
Gov. Pat McCrory did his best in Wednesday's State of the State speech to talk about expanding the state's Medicaid health insurance program for the poor and disabled without actually saying the words "Medicaid" or "expansion."

USA Today: Underage drinking pilot program launched at six North Carolina universities 
Underage drinking and illegal drug use are seemingly present on many college campuses, generating a party stigma that has been associated with a student’s college years.

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: Brakes put on Medicaid bill
A controversial Medicaid reform bill will not face a key recommendation vote by a legislative oversight committee Monday.

NEWS & OBSERVER: NC paying for AIDS drugs for residents insured under ACA
But this month the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services endorsed the federal health care law, albeit in a small way: North Carolina is paying for drug coverage for HIV-positive residents who have purchased health coverage through the federal insurance exchange.

Private Property

WRAL: House tries again to limit eminent domain 
State House lawmakers have once again given tentative approval to a proposed constitutional amendment limiting government 's powers to take private property.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: ACLU pushes for state law restricting cellphone tracking by CMPD, other agencies 
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina on Thursday called for new laws that would stop CMPD and other police departments from secretly tracking cellphones without a search warrant.

State Finances

FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER: Audit finds state does poor job of tracking IT projects benefits 
North Carolina state government does a poor job of keeping track of whether information technology projects are actually saving money, State Auditor Beth Wood's office said Tuesday.

WRAL: Senate approves funding fixes 
The Senate approved legislation Wednesday that provides funding for two new state commissions and requires the Department of Public Instruction to help pay the state's legal fees to fight a State Board of Education lawsuit.

THE ROBESONIAN: NC better position to take on debt 
The amount North Carolina could borrow without losing its top credit rating continues to grow as revenues rebound and the legislature has kept to a no-new-debt diet since the Great Recession, according to an annual report released Monday by State Treasurer Janet Cowell.

Transportation

NEWS & OBSERVER: Gov. Pat McCrory’s roads, buildings bonds would go to statewide vote 
Anyone who has listened to him over the past two years knows it’s the little things that bug Gov. Pat McCrory: dry fountains, broken elevators, traffic jams.