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Morning Memo: House goes into OT, GOP pushes major bills in final moments

OVERTIME AT THE STATEHOUSE: What day is it again? The legislation continues its Friday session later this morning -- the one it started at 12:01 a.m. “Good morning, everybody,” House Speaker Thom Tillis said as he gavel in a new legislative day. The 9 a.m. session is one more than expected but House lawmakers didn’t want to stay past 1 a.m. to finish their work like the Senate, expecting lengthy debates. The House session is expected to last a couple hours. On the calendar: the “technical corrections” state budget bill that includes $2 million for the governor’s office to spend on innovative education programs -- a last-minute request from State Budget Director Art Pope’s office, budget writers said. Also: a final vote on a sweeping regulatory overhaul measure.

The big item left unfinished: Gov. Pat McCrory’s commerce bill. The fracking language added to the reorganization measure in conference doomed its chances in the house. (Special session, anyone?)

LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDS WITH A FLURRY OF ACTION: Abortion. Voter ID. Massive changes to state regulations. Charlotte airport. It’s all headed to Gov. Pat McCrory. If you went to bed too soon, read it all below in the ***Dome Morning Memo.*** Along with Tillis campaign news.

Major regulatory reform gets tentative O.K. from Senate, House

UPDATED: Regulatory reform passed in the House in a 76-36 vote after arguments against it from members of both parties.

A big kahuna of a regulatory reform bill got Senate approval on Thursday.

House Bill 74 has 60 sections, about a dozen of which have been criticized by environmental groups, municipalities and counties, and lawmakers.

Drug testing bill, regulatory reform bill denied concurrence

Lawmakers asked the House not to concur on two big bills Monday so the sponsors could work out issues. With session days dwindling down, and a budget left to debate, it’ll be tough to work out remaining differences and get these two complicated pieces of legislation passed.

A wide-spanning regulatory reform bill’s sponsor, Rep. Timothy Moffitt of Asheville, a Republican, asked the House not to concur because the bill came back from the Senate with measures from two other regulatory bills incorporated into it. Segments deregulating the billboard industry, and affecting environmental issues, the living wage, city ordinances and more are now under the 60-provision bill’s umbrella.

Morning Memo: House, Senate leaders claim victories in budget deal

BUDGET DEAL UNVEILED: House and Senate leaders released the compromise $20.6 billion budget plan Sunday evening. House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger can claim wins. Eugenics compensation and vouchers are priorities for Tillis, a candidate for U.S. Senate. Berger has tried for more than a year to end teacher tenure. The two men's victories speak volumes about their political leanings and strategy and how a potential race between them would look. Berger will decide by the end of the month whether he will challenge Tillis in the GOP primary.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The 12th "Moral Monday" demonstration at the legislature will focus on a new voter ID measure. More than 800 protesters have been arrested so far with more expected Monday.

The Senate worked Friday and left the House quite a to-do list. The House calendar today includes bills pertaining to private school vouchers, a massive rewrite of state regulations, drug testing and background checks for public assistance recipients, fracking and charter schools. A bill to further delay Jordan Lake water quality standards is also on the agenda. The Senate won't take any votes Monday -- allowing Senate leader Phil Berger to attend the Republican State Leadership Committee meeting in California. He is chairman of the organization's campaign committee.

***Get more on the state state budget and a North Carolina political news roundup to start the final week of the legislative session below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Omnibus regulatory reform bill gets OK in Senate

An omnibus regulatory reform bill would address environmental regulations, city ordinances, wages and other areas of government. The Senate passed the bill Friday in a 26-7 vote.

Several senators raised concerns with portions of the 60-provision bill, House Bill 74.

“It would prohibit livable wage ordinances by communities,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat. “Overall there are some good portions (in the bill), but some portions give me very deep concerns.”

Sweeping regulatory reform legislation taking shape

Some sort of regulatory reform could emerge from the General Assembly in its waning days, but right now the details are a fast-moving target.

On Wednesday, a new version unexpectedly materialized in the Senate Rules Committee, adding more than two dozen new sections to a bill that the House had put together.

Both bills – SB112 and HB74 – address a grab-bag of regulatory issues, from environmental to workplace and more. Since HB74 is so extensive and committee members didn’t have copies of it until the meeting, the bill will return to Rules on Thursday and likely voted on.

Morning Memo: McCrory raises eyebrows; Tillis' watches late amendment fail

GOV. McCRORY SAID WHAT? The Wilson Times reported this week that Gov. Pat McCrory said he has often entered the crowds that gather in the capital city to protest the Republican agenda and policies. He said he even got a good cussing by protesters. But in the age of mobile phone cameras and instant posting to social media, the governor seems to have moved in and out of the throngs without anyone capturing his interaction on video or film.

DID HE MISSPEAK?: Repeated efforts Thursday to reach McCrory’s spokeswoman, Kim Genardo, were unsuccessful. More here.

UPDATED: WITH TILLIS WATCHING, COMMERCE COMMITTEE REJECTS LATE CHANGE TO WORKERS COMP BILL: Late Thursday, after seven hours of legislative debate, the House commerce committee held an impromptu meeting to hear a measure that attracted the attention of House Speaker Thom Tillis, who attended the meeting. (No reporters were in the room, so this first report comes from lobbyists who were there.) Republican leaders apparently wanted to amend a worker's compensation bill (SB 614) to prohibit professional athletes from filing injury claims. But the attempt to add the language failed by a 10-27 vote in the Republican-dominated committee. Harold Brubaker, a former House speaker and now lobbyist who represents the NFL Players Association, helped defeat the effort. Tillis represents the Charlotte area and the Carolina Panthers supposedly wanted this bill. But a Tillis spokesman said Friday the speaker wasn't pushing the bill.

ALSO LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: The contentious House RECLAIM NC Act -- an immigration bill that gives driving permits to those in the country illegally but also subjects some immigrants to temporary detention -- is now on the House calendar for Monday.

***This is the Dome Morning Memo -- the source for N.C. political news. The New York Times is taking another deep look at North Carolina. Read more about it below.***

Morning Memo: As House votes on abortion bill, what will McCrory do?

ABORTION DEBATE DOMINATES AGENDA: N.C. House lawmakers will focus on social issues Thursday, scheduling a three-hour debate on an abortion bill that critics say will restrict access but supporters argue is aimed at safety standards. Republicans will get one hour to push the measure while Democrats will get two hours to rebutt the controversial bill that is putting North Carolina in the national spotlight along with Texas. The House convenes at 11 a.m.

VETO THREAT: Pandering or real? Republican Gov. Pat McCrory publicly warned on Wednesday morning that he would reject the Senate’s bill unless his public health agency’s concerns about it were resolved. The threat came even as his administration and key House members were signing off on a rewrite of the bill, which was unveiled less than two hours later in a legislative committee. His statement came at 8:30 a.m. A House committee took up the new bill two hours later. The move allowed McCrory to appear like a hero to womens rights groups who had pushed him to uphold his campaign pledge not to sign new abortion restrictions into law. But his legislative team likewise worked with House members to craft the new measure those groups oppose. The question now: Will he sign or allow the newest bill to become law?

***Read a scene-setter on the abortion legislation and more North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Senate GOP targets more environmental regulations

Another round of shaving environmental regulations is proposed in a bill introduced by a group of Republican state senators this week.

SB612 would do several things, including:

Prohibit cities and counties from enacting ordinances that are more stringent than state or federal regulations.

Eliminate riparian buffer protections that prohibit development on private property along the Neuse River and the Tar-Pamlico River basins.

Fast-track some stormwater management system permits, and erosion and sedimentation control plans.

Extend water and air quality permits from eight years to 10 years, and allow third parties to contest state regulators’ decisions.

The Regulatory Reform Act of 2013 continues the GOP-controlled legislature’s mission begun last session of stripping away environmental protections, which they say in some cases unreasonably hinder economic growth. The primary sponsors are Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville – who led last year’s regulatory charge in the Senate – along with Sen. Brent Jackson of Autryville, and Sen. Andrew Brock of Davie County.

McCrory takes his pro-business message to tobacco growers

Gov. Pat McCrory pitched his pro-business agenda to a receptive audience Friday morning: the annual meeting of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina at the State Fairgrounds.

His remarks were bookended by standing ovations and interrupted by applause three times, as he assured several hundred in attendance that their industry represented the kind of business people that he is trying to help.

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