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Morning Memo: McCrory to announce DOT plan, votes on drug testing and a Medicaid debate

Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to tell us how he wants to pay for new roads at 9:30 today. The governor's office has been tight-lipped saying only that he'll be making a transportation policy announcement. Looking for clues in the location he's chosen for his announcement — the NC History Museum — Dome will point out that it houses Richard Petty's advertising-ladened stock car. For those playing McCrory bing, key words will be public, private, customer and service.

***Good morning, and with the end of the week in sight, welcome to Dome Morning Memo, a look at the day ahead and a roundup of the news you might have missed Wednesday.

Morning Memo: Games, guns and a whole lot of bluster

Advocates for children for promise a 32 foot by 40 foot Chutes and Ladders game on Halifax Mall behind the Legislative Building from 11 a.m. to noon today. Organizers — including Covenant with North Carolina's Children, Action for Children NC and the NC Pediatric Society — expect about 200 people to show up to help them lobby lawmakers on the importance of investing in children.

***And with that, Dome's Morning Memo says, let the games begin. Welcome to Wednesday, an action-packed day for politicians on Jones Street and beyond. Here's our look at the day ahead and a round-up of what's being said.***

Morning Memo: Education, voter ID dominate agenda; McCrory nears 100 days

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: A controversial voter ID measure gets a double billing Wednesday, appearing in a 1 p.m. House Election Committe meeting for discussion only and a 4 p.m. public hearing. A lawyer from the Indiana Secretary of State's Office and the N.C. NAACP's William Barber will present at the earlier meeting. The House will also unveil a major education bill at a 2 p.m. press conference, just hours after a Senate panel considers President Pro Tem Phil Berger's own overhaul plan at a 10 a.m.

Senate committees will also consider bills to increase the speed limit on some highways to 75 mph and provide tax money to the Carolina Panthers for stadium renovations. Gov. Pat McCrory will attend a private reception for the N.C. Homebuilders Association at 5 p.m. The group is advancing two controversial measures this session to limit local control of inspections and design standards for homes that are angering counties and cities. Wonder how Mayor Pat would have reacted to the legislation?

McCRORY'S FIRST 100 DAYS: The governor is nearing the 100-day mark of his term -- a benchmark that means little but will generate a media extravaganza. McCrory is sitting down with various media outlets this week, about 10 minutes at a time, to discuss his accomplishments. WRAL-TV is the first with an interview. Check it out here. 

***Good morning and thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. More North Carolina political news and analysis below.***

N.C. auto insurance rates third lowest, study finds

Look for a new study that reports the state's auto insurance rates are the third-lowest in the nation to be highlighted in the ongoing debate over the proposed overhaul of the state's regulatory system.

A study issued Monday by Insure.com concluded that only Iowa and Maine motorists currently pay lower auto insurance rates than North Carolina drivers for 2013 model cars. North Carolina drivers pay an average of $1,085 for insurance annually, versus $1,028 in Iowa and $934 in Maine. Louisiana drivers pay the most: $2,699.

"No one should look at (the average) as the number they are going to pay," said Amy Danise, a spokeswoman for Insure.com. She noted that the average rates are based on the rates of 750 vehicles in the 2013 model year, "everything from the cheapest to insure to the most expensive sports car."

Opponents of a major revamp of the way the state regulates auto insurance rates -- including Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, AARP and a group of insurers that includes Nationwide, the top auto insurer in North Carolina in terms of market share -- have been arguing that the state's low rates show that the system is working.

Morning Roundup: Auto insurers prepare for big push at General Assembly

As the legislative session approaches, interest groups are gearing up for a fight. A divided auto insurance industry will try again next year to change a unique regulatory system in North Carolina, which enjoys some of the lowest rates in the country. Read more here.

More political headlines below:

-- A former top Republican lawmaker faces new federal charges, including tax evasion, in connection with an alleged scheme to launder money from a government loan program to enrich himself and close associates.

--Advocates for injured workers say the state needs a safety net to catch vulnerable workers. They want state leaders to create a fund to pay for lost wages and medical bills quickly so these workers aren’t left destitute while their employers try to pay the claim.

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