This Week

The sole focus for both chambers this week was the budget. Last weekend, budget writers from the two chambers remained in Raleigh over the Labor Day weekend to continue negotiations. Significant progress was made over the weekend and continued as the week developed, largely because the last few unresolved items were left for Speaker Moore (R-Cleveland) and Sen. Berger (R-Rockingham) to decide. The Speaker said that he and Sen. Berger met until roughly midnight on Tuesday and made real progress. He then announced on the floor Wednesday that he hoped the House would be voting on the budget next Wednesday or Thursday, which would meet the September 18th deadline on the current Continuing Resolution. House rules require a two day waiting period after the budget is read in before a vote can be taken. 

North Carolina lawmakers work through holiday on budget – ABC 11 

After leaders’ midnight meeting, NC budget vote possible next week – N&O 

Budget deal pushed to next week – WRAL

As negotiations pressed on, several of the agreements were made public. Tuesday evening, budget negotiators agreed to a $30 Million cap for the State’s film tax credit, an increase over the current $10 Million. Another agreement was reached to allow the approval of two additional terminal groins, hardened beach structures that are designed to prevent erosion. One would be built at the Bogue Inlet and one at the New River Inlet. Leaders from the two chambers also confirmed that driver’s education had been funded with nonrecurring dollars for the coming school year, but that it would need to be addressed again for the following year.

NC film grant program to get $30 million – Star News 

With $30M in film grants, N.C. studio will target 'long-term' TV series – TBJ 

Driver's ed compromise in the works – Winston-Salem Journal

The House and Senate reportedly had agreed to a $2 Billion bond proposal which the House wants on the March 2016 primary ballot. However, Sen. Brown (R-Onslow), the Senate’s chief budget writer said that the agreement was closer to $1.5 Billion. No confirmation on either number has been made, but both numbers are substantially less than the Governor’s roughly $3 Billion proposal. 

NC House, Senate leaders agree to hold bond vote next year – N&O

Discussions Thursday proved fruitful as leadership met throughout the day and into the evening. Although they did not have a finalized budget, Sen. Berger indicated that two chambers were very close to an agreement. Sen. Brown said that he felt confident that the budget would roll out on Monday. As of Friday afternoon however, a final budget deal had not been reached. Budget writers may work into the evening or possibly through the weekend again so that central staff has time to put the final product together before Monday. 

Budget deal within striking distance – WRAL

Apart from the budget, negotiations have also continued on Medicaid reform and the finance package which includes tax changes and the State’s business incentives. Finance chairs in both chambers do not appear to be much closer to an agreement than they were last week. Medicaid reform however has made significant progress. A broad agreement was allegedly reached Thursday evening, although no legislation has been presented as one or two issues reportedly remain in controversy. 

Governor again calls on lawmakers to separate incentives, sales taxes – CBJ 

The 6 issues that have slowed NC budget negotiations– Charlotte Observer

The only meeting that took place in public view was an unofficial roundtable on Wednesday regarding renewable energy in the State. The meeting was organized by House Majority Leader Rep. Hager (R-Rutherford), a longtime opponent of the renewable energy portfolio standards (REPS). REPS, which is set to expire at the end of the year, has reportedly has been a topic in the budget negotiations along with the solar tax credit, although there has been no official word as to the fate of either. Renewable energy advocates held a press conference Thursday to counter the meeting and make their case for the State maintaining REPS. 

Renewables critics sound off – WRAL 

Solar advocates make their case – WRAL 

State House lawmakers argue for keeping renewable energy policies and tax credits– N&O

Legislation in the News:

McCrory: Ride-share law 'encourages competition, innovation' – CBJ 

McCrory signing unemployment insurance bill in Gastonia – Charlotte Observer 

Legislative roundup: Single primary could save millions – Gaston Gazette 

Senate stalls bill to make GPS stalking illegal – N&O 

No tech oversight sought on glitchy NC health plan service – WRAL

In Other News

Former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker (D) is expected to formally announce his run for North Carolina Commissioner of Labor next Tuesday. Current Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry (R) has served in the role since 2000 and is expected to run for reelection.

In the News

Trifecta of Races headline N.C. election year - Charlotte Observer

North Carolina might loosen regulations on small air pollution emitters - TBJ

Environment poised for more notice in NC elections s - Citizen Times

Duke Energy projects help drive bright quarter for N.C. solar Industry - TBJ

Tillis: Eugenics compensation shouldn't affect benefits - WRAL

Jeb Bush unveils economic plan in Garner - N&O