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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 Bingo, listen for the words 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.

TODAY IN POLITICS: The state Senate convents at noon and the House at 1 p.m.

Before that a select group of lawmakers will be having breakfast with the governor at 7:30 this morning. No word on the invitees but Dome would have suggested the budget writers who will be discussing his plan to privatize Medicaid in committee this morning. The Joint Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee starts at 8:30 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's "Back to Work North Carolina Jobs Fair" starts at this morning at 9 a.m. at Nash Community College. More than 50 employers, all with jobs to fill, will be there. Employers will be in Brown Auditorium until noon.

ON THE AGENDA: The Senate will debate and vote on a bill that requires welfare recipients and applicants to take a drug test at their own expense to receive benefits from the state's Work First program. Expect debate to fall along party lines. In committee Democrats have argued that it unfairly targets a group of people. If it becomes law expect a court challenge. AP reports that a federal court struck down a similar Florida law.

Senate lawmakers also are expected to vote on a bill that would let auto insurers offer discounts and a bill that would let municipalities post public record announcements on their own city websites rather than in newspapers.

In case you missed these stories:

EMOTIONS HIGH: The House committee debate on whether or not to require a photo ID to vote was long and emotional but in the end the measure passed as expected. It will be voted on by the full house next week. FULL STORY.

THEY GIVETH AND THEY TAKETH AWAY: Saying they wanted to give local school boards the freedom to decide how best to spend state money for teaching positions, the Senate Education Committee approved a bill that ends limits on class size. FULL STORY. Meanwhile the Senate Redistricting Committee, approved a bill that changes how Wake residents vote on their school board members. The bill moves Wake elections to even-numbered years, redraws current boundaries and creates two new regional seats. For both bills, the votes split along party lines with Republicans approving and Democrats voting no. FULL STORY.

FIRST THERE WERE TWO: A bipartisan measure first introduced by Wake Reps. Deborah Ross, a Democrat, and Paul Stam, a Republican, proposing independent redistricting now has 61 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle in the House. But that show of strength may not help it in the Senate. Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Henderson County and chair of the Rules Committee, told the Charlotte Observer's Jim Morrill: "We've waited 140 years to have this (redistricting power). I'm not ready to give away what we fought so hard to get." FULL STORY.

TIGHTER CONTROLS: NC Attorney General Roy Cooper wants the legislature to put more restrictions on hospitals. Among his desires: easier to understand bills, a requirement that his office be notified before one hospital buys another hospital or physician practices and the end of aggressive collection efforts. FULL STORY.


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