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Morning Memo: Arrests near 500, Democrats debut anti-Tillis website

TOTAL ARRESTS NEAR 500: Eighty-four demonstrators were arrested by the N.C. General Assembly police on Monday, bringing the total since April 29 to more than 480. Holly Jordan, 29, a teacher at Hillside High School in Durham, said she decided to get arrested on Monday because she was thoroughly upset with the education policies and budgets proposed. She knew that some of the Republicans had described their naysayers as “aging hippies” and “outsiders” who considered it “en vogue” to get arrested.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The Senate will take a final vote on its tax plan, and send it to the House. The two chambers remain far apart on how to cut taxes. The House will consider Gov. Pat McCrory's transportation funding bill. In committees, House lawmakers will consider a bill to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on certain roads and a bill requiring cursive -- which is likely to be remade entirely at the last minute, given a similar bill passed earlier this session. Senate lawmakers will meet in committees to consider a bill requiring background checks on those who receive some public assistance and another measure to roll back energy efficiency regulations on building to 2009 levels.

Gov. Pat McCrory will visit another rotary club, this time in Winston-Salem, before meeting with unidentified business leaders in a private meeting at Womble Carlyle, a law firm that also has a lobbying practice.

***Below in the Dome Morning Memo -- U.S. Senate race news, remember Jim Holshouser and a legislative roundup.***

Tillis makes key committee chair appointments, emphasizing sophomore representatives

House Speaker Thom Tillis on Wednesday announced his choices to lead several key committees, elevating several second-term representatives to prominent positions.

Democratic House candidate's party affiliation mysteriously changes online

A candidate  for the state House was startled to discover she’s a Republican, as far as the state voter registration online database is concerned.  Not only is it not true, but Jenifer Bubenik is the Democratic candidate for state representative from Johnston County.

“I freaked out a little bit,” said Bubenik, a Clayton woman who is making her first run for public office, against longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Leo Daughtry.

Bru is back and other House chairs

Former House Speaker Harold Brubaker will be the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Brubaker,  an Asheboro real estate appraiser and cattle breeder served as speaker from 1995-1998, when the Republicans were last in control of the House. He has served in the House since 1977.

Speaker Designate Thom Tillis of Cornelius also anounced the appointment of Reps. Jeff Barnhart of Concord, Mitch Gillespie of Marion, and Linda Johnson of Kannapolis as appropriations chairs responsible for overall budget planning.

Named as co-chairs of the House Finance Committee were Julia Howard of Mocksville, Mitchell Setzer of Catawba, and Edgar Starnes of Hickory.

The three judiciary committees have been folded into one judiciary committee, chaired by Rep. Leo Daughtry of Smithfield, a former House majority leader.

Chairing the House Commerce Committee will be Rep. Danny McComas of Wilmington. McComas will name three subcommittee chairs for committees focused on Alcoholic Beverage Control, Business and Labor and Science and Technology.

Heading the Rules committee will be Reps. Tim Moore of Kings Mountain and Stephen LaRoque of Kinston.

Additional committees will be announced in the coming days.

Roche gets help in run for Congress

Frank Roche, a Republican candidate who wants to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. David Price, has enlisted some help.

Roche's campaign announced that state Rep. Leo Daughtry, a Smithfield Republican, will be Roche's honorary campaign chairman.

"Leo has the experience, dedication, and respect among his peers needed to advise and draw funds to my campaign," Roche said in a statement. "He is also a trusted friend. I look forward to working with him as I move toward formally representing North Carolina’s fourth district."

Daughtry, a lawyer, is serving his ninth term in the state House. He previously served two terms in the state Senate. Roche has taken time off from his job as a foreign exchange trader to run for Congress.

Death penalty bill gets final House vote

The House voted in favor of a bill that would allow death row inmates to challenge their sentence as racially motivated.

Opponents criticized the bill saying it would allow a flood of unnecessary and frivolous challenges from every inmate.

"We're fixing to put another road block in the path of those who believe in capital punishment," said Rep. Leo Daughtry, a Johnston County Republican.

Supporters say the bill is necessary to ensure that the penalty is carried out fairly. Rep. Grier Martin, a Raleigh Democrat, said support for the bill and support for capital punishment are not contradictory because both are about justice.

"It is not a paradox," Martin said. "In fact it is entirely consistent with that same sense of justice."

The bill now returns to the Senate.

House votes for builder tax break

The House gave preliminary approval to a bill that would give home builders a temporary reprieve from property taxes on unsold homes.

The bill allows builders to defer for up to three years the portion of property tax generated by building a new home. The builder would still have to continue to pay tax on the value of the land. The increased property taxes generated by improving the land with a home would be due when the home is sold.

The bill only applies to homes that have never been occupied. All taxes would be due in 2013.

The bill is meant to provide "temporary relief for a segment of North Carolina's economy that we all know has been hit hard," said Rep. Margaret Highsmith Dickson, a Fayetteville Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill.

Rep. Leo Daughtry, a Johnston County Republican, said his county officials told him the bill would delay payment of $1 million in taxes.

"My county commissioners asked me to give y'all a message and that is it's good to be generous and help your fellow man," Daughtry said. "They want you to do it with your own money."

The bill passed a key House vote 106-8. It needs another vote in the chamber before it can go to the Senate.

Update: The House took its final vote on the bill, which will now head to the Senate. 

Costly district split has little support

In the section of the House budget proposal covering justice and public safety spending just one item represents increased spending: a plan to split the 11th prosecutorial district, which covers Harnett, Johnston and Lee counties.

The proposal would spend $164,459 in the 2010-2011 fiscal year to add a new district attorney and two staff positions to serve Harnett and Lee counties, Dan Kane reports. Johnston would become its own prosecutorial district, which is where the current district attorney resides.

Given the tough fiscal times, you'd think the proposal would need solid support and justification. But it doesn't have it.

The state Administrative Office of the Courts hasn't requested it, nor has a state judicial council that looks into staffing needs. The Johnston County Bar Association adamantly opposes it. Minutes reflect that the association shot the proposal down by a 24 to 2 vote, calling it "fiscally irresponsible."

"Isn't that ridiculous, in this time when people are losing jobs and everything's being cut back, to spend money in that way?" said Robert Denning, a Johnston County defense attorney and bar member.

More after the jump.

Perdue: I trust Garrett not to lobby

Garrett PerdueGov. Beverly Perdue said she trusts her son.

Asked about Garrett Perdue's recent attendance at the "Rush the Growler" event in Raleigh, the governor said she does not think he is lobbying, according to a story on WRAL:

"I'm not aware of the specific events, but Garrett assures me he's not lobbying in Raleigh, and I take his word for it," she said in a statement.

Garrett Perdue declined to comment, but Womble Carlyle spokesman Russell Thomas said he wasn't lobbying and attended the event solely because he knew others there.

"Garrett attended a social event – nothing more, nothing less," Thomas said.

State Rep. Leo Daughtry, a Johnston County Republican, told the station that Garrett Perdue's attendance was not "good judgment." 

More House bills

A few notable House bills filed:

H.B. 132: Jury Duty Tax Deduction, Rep. Timothy Spear

H.B. 133: Prudent Management of Institutional Funds, Rep. Deborah Ross

H.B. 134: Assault State or Local Officer or Employee, Rep. Russell Tucker

H.B. 135: Broadband Service Providers, Reps. Bill Faison, Joe Tolson, Phil Haire and Thom Tillis

H.B. 137: Capital Procedure / Severe Mental Disability, Reps. Verla Insko, Pricey Harrison, Larry Womble and Paul Luebke

H.B. 149: Require Arts Educ. Credit for Graduation, Reps. Becky Carney, Rick Glazier, Alma Adams and Linda Johnson

H.B. 154: Appoint State Superintendent, Rep. Leo Daughtry

H.B. 155: Appoint State School Superintendent, Reps. Haire, Harold Brubaker, Johnson and Marvin Lucas

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