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State lottery debate hits big question: Are people dumb?

The debate on a bill to neuter the state lottery hinged on one question Wednesday as a House panel considered the measure. "Do you really think the people of North Carolina are dumb?" state Rep. Mickey Michaux asked. "What you are trying to do here is regulate people's actions."

Michaux, a Durham Democrat, meant it as a serious question and Republican Paul "Skip" Stam said he considered it a good one. "It's variable," said Stam, a lead sponsor. "Even the smartest person given false information will act in a different way."

The measure -- dubbed "The Honest Lottery Act", or HB156 -- is aimed at limiting the N.C. Education Lottery's advertising and games, which the bill sponsors consider misleading. Stam agreed to remove a provision to change the lottery's name to the N.C. State Lottery because it would cost $6 million to rebrand.

Morning Memo: McCrory to sign Medicaid bill, three others

McCRORY TO SIGN MEDICAID BILL, THREE OTHERS: Much like the bill to cut unemployment benefits, Gov. Pat McCrory will hold a private signing at the Capitol for a bill to block the expansion of Medicaid health care coverage to roughly 500,000, the majority of which are uninsured. The measure also blocks a state-based health insurance exchange and generated a heated debate in the N.C. General Assembly, where it passed largely along party lines. McCrory said the state is not ready for either part of the federal health care law at this point. The Republican governor will also sign the possum drop bill (HB66), a funding fix for group homes (SB4) and a measure to impose great penalties for protests that disturb military funerals (HB19) at 4:30 p.m.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: A House Judiciary subcommittee looks at a bill (HB156) to limit the N.C. Education Lottery's ability to advertise and offer new types of games, as well as take the word "education" from its official name. The issue is likely to split Republicans and Democrats, much as the original lottery vote did. Another House subcommittee will consider a measure to open campus police records held by private colleges to public inspection. The Senate Education Committee will take up two bills related to digital learning. Both chambers convene at 2 p.m. McCrory and state officials are participating in a hurricane drill Wednesday morning.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- a must-read to start any day in the North Carolina political world.***

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