This post has been corrected to reflect Gov. Pat McCrory's activities today.
TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: House lawmakers are expected to give final approval to their $20.6 billion budget. The debate starts at 9 a.m. Today's ground rules: no amendments, unlimited debate. Wednesday saw 27 amendments, 16 of which passed. Full story.
TIMEOUT: If the debate stretches into the afternoon, House Speaker Thom Tillis will have his eye on the clock. He's scheduled a 3 p.m. conference call with supporters/potential donors to discuss his campaign for the U.S. Senate. According to the email invite:
The U.S. Senate Race in North Carolina will be one of the top three races in the country as identified by the NRSC. It will be one of the best chances of picking up a seat on our way to taking back control of the U.S. Senate. Please consider hosting an event or contributing to Thom’s race so that we can continue to stay on the offensive!
The email touts Tillis' accomplishments, including being named "National Legislator of the Year by the American Legislative Exchange Council."
Welcome to Dome's Morning Memo, a quick look at the day ahead and a wrap-up of Wednesday's goings on.
YOU DON'T SAY: Speaking of running, Tillis will need to come up with some new lines for his stump speech, apparently one of his old ones was "factually not true," according to the speaker himself. WRAL quotes him as saying during Wednesday's budget debate on vouchers, WRAL quotes Tillis as saying: "I no longer say K through 12 education in NC is broken. It’s a great political stump speech, but it’s factually not true. There’s some great stuff happening – but it’s not happening everywhere."
OVER IN THE SENATE: Lawmakers convene at 11 a.m. to take up their revised tax plan. Senate President Phil Berger calls it a compromise between the two chambers but Dome hasn't heard House leaders use the "c" word.
Also on the agenda: final vote on the bill that expands gun owners rights and the governor's transportation bill.
McCRORY'S U-TURN: As mayor of Charlotte, the governor was an advocate of light rail but now that he's governor and can spread that vision over a much larger plain, he's decide highways are the way to go. It's a change apparent in his transportation plan and it's getting noticed. DC.Streetsblog.org calls his u-turn a mystery but notes that $3 billion in road projects will make some people very happy.
WHERE'S PAT?:The governor had a breakfast meeting with legislators and then was headed to the annual meeting of the NC Business Committee for Education. The nonpartisan, nonprofit has a board comprised of corporate leaders (Golden Corral, IBM, Cisco, BB&T, etc) who work to ensure that NC students graduate from high school "ready to work in a global society." (This is a correction. Earlier in the day Dome was under the impression that the governor had no official events today because an email went astray. We had assumed he was resting up after signing 30 bills Wednesday.)
FOUL BALL OR HOMER?: The governor made what some might see as a snide reference to ballgate Wednesday in a video he made congratulating NC State and UNC's baseball teams for making it to the College World Series. McCrory, baseball glove and ball in hand, starts by saying "You may have seen on the news lately that I've been playing a little catch in front of the state capitol …" He goes on to say it's because the teams have put him in the spirit.
McCrory has been called out by advocacy groups for taking the time to play catch on Monday rather than meeting with former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge and a group of school children who were delivering petitions calling on McCrory to support public education. The governor's office has denied the accusation.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Other stories of note today:
— Raleigh has to find $15.1 million for the train station hub it's planning for downtown after learning that NC DOT has pulled the money. Full story.
— Wake county officially has new election districts for school board members. Full story.
— The bill repealing the Racial Justice Act is headed to the governor's desk. For that and a wrap of other legislative action go <"a href="http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/13/2960449/senate-approves-bill-that-expands.html">here.
— Eight people were arrested at the General Assembly Wednesday as they sang spirituals outside the locked chamber where House members were debating the budget. Full story. For the national take on the weekly Moral Monday protests, see Kim Severson's article in The New York Times.