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Morning Memo: Crossover week begins at #NCGA; Ben Carson to visit Raleigh

Welcome to Crossover Week on Jones Street. Think the action’s been fast so far? Well, hold onto our elephant ears, this week lawmakers will be shoveling as many bills as possible through committee and out to their floors for a vote to meet a Thursday deadline dubbed crossover.

The House and Senate rules say that bills that don’t raise or spend money or propose amendments to the state constitution must pass either the House or Senate by Thursday to be considered during the session. Of course, rules are made to be circumvented, so there are many ways to keep legislation alive. Dome’s favorite: Strip a bill that has already crossed over of its language and insert your bill of choice.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Read more about the issues hanging in the balance this week at the legislature. And send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com.***

Medical professionals push for Medicaid expansion

Killing the state's chance to get more people health insurance, mostly on the federal government's dime, is a rotten idea, said doctors, nurses and medical students who spoke at a news conference Monday.

They came to Raleigh to speak against a bill that would prevent the state from expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

'It's nutty," said Dr. Charles van der Horst, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. "It's terrible for the citizens of North Carolina."

The Senate passed a bill last week preventing expansion and a state House committee is set to debate it Tuesday.

About 500,000 more people would be insured under the expansion, with the federal government picking up all the costs for most of the new people for the first three years and 90 percent afterward.

Republican governors in Arizona, Michigan and Nevada are going for the expansion in their states, van der Horst noted, because they've determined it makes fiscal sense.

Dr. Mohan Chilukuri, a Durham family physician, called the Senate bill "a travesty of justice" and morally wrong."

State Rep. Jim Fulghum, a neurosurgeon from Wake County, said he did not know how he would vote on the bill, and was looking forward to more debate.

"I just think we have a lot more to learn," said Fulghum, a Republican.

Fulghum said the bill has enough votes to pass, and that the tone of the press conference speakers didn't help their cause.

Russell Capps begins political comeback

Former state Rep. Russell Capps is seeking a comeback running for the open House seat district 49 in West Raleigh.

That would set up a Republican primary with Dr. Jim Fulghum, the Raleigh neurosurgeon, who has also filed for the seat.

Capps, 80, who is president of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, served six terms in the state House before losing in 2006 to Democrat Ty Harrell.

Karlsson enters Raleigh House race against Fulghum

Keith Karlsson filed today for the Democratic nomination for N.C. House seat 49 in Northwest Raleigh. It is the open seat that Republican neurosurgeon Jim Fulghum plans to run for.

Karlsson, a retired computer programmer and a former teacher active in Democratic politics, served on the Education Committee of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

“The Republicans in the General Assembly have threatened the future of our children and our state by slashing funding for education at all levels, from pre-kindergarten through the University of North Carolina,” Karlsson said. “North Carolina must be able to offer employers a 21st century work force, but instead the Republicans have put North Carolina on the path to fewer jobs, now and in the future. We cannot cut our way to excellence.”

Raleigh neurosurgeon to run for state House

Dr. Jim Fulghum, a Raleigh neurosurgeon active in Republican politics for decades, plans to run for the newly-formed 49th House district.

Fulghum said he was running to keep the legislature in Republican hands and help turn around the economy.

“You cannot undo decades of liberal of the legislature in one legislative session,” Fulghum said. “It's a struggle that could go on for years. Republican majority control is essential to continuing the fight already started for real reform in state government.''

Fulghum and the late Dr. Bert Coffer often worked closely together on behalf of conservatives such as Sen. Jesse Helms.

The 49th House district lies in the northwest part of Raleigh, encompassing a large area stretching from Wade Avenue, up Creedmoor Road to I-540 and east to Falls of the Neuse Road.

Among the supporters of Fulghum's campaign are Reps. Marilyn Avila, Nelson Dollar, Tom Murry, Senators Neal Hunt and Richard Stevens, Jim Anthony, Elbert Boyd, Jeanne Coffer; former state Democratic chairman Lawrence Davis; Phil Kirk, the former head of the N.C. Chamber of Commerce, Jane Helms Knox, Helms' daughter; former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake, businessman Bob Luddy, Don Munford, Laura Neely, former Wake County commissioners chairman Gary Pendelton, Raleigh businessman and major conservative donor Art Pope, former mayoral candidate Billie Redmond, former City Councilman Kieran Shanahan, and businessman Steve Zelnak.

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