After months of watching the action from the sidelines Gov. Bev Perdue is back at center stage. Three weighty issues are on her desk, and state employees, natural gas companies, environmentalists, prosecutors and teachers are watching to see if she will get out her veto stamp. So far she isn't tipping her hand. Read more here.
More political headlines:
--North Carolina ranked 45th in the nation in per-student spending on public schools in 2010, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Thursday. The state’s public school systems spent an average of $8,409 per-student in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, according to the report. That compares to national per-student spending of $10,615.
--An adviser to Gov. Bev Perdue apologized Thursday for causing the state transportation department to send false letters to lawmakers last week. He called it a mistake and said he wished he had been more careful. Pryor Gibson, Perdue’s senior adviser and her chief lobbyist in the legislature, also provided a glimpse into the sometimes messy budget writing and deal-making process while addressing a Senate committee conducting an inquiry.
--A bill that would ease state air toxics restrictions has been passed by both the House and the Senate. Under the legislation, certain industrial plants – such as paper mills and power plants – will now only have to comply with federal regulations, rather than the North Carolina-specific restrictions that were set in place in 1989.
--Rielle Hunter says she took a liking to Charlotte the moment she arrived – its tree-lined streets seemed like a nice place to raise a child, she says in her book due out next week, and she came to find her new neighbors on Park Road not only sympathetic, but even helpful allies in shooing away reporters. Hunter will appear on ABC’s “20/20” Friday (10 p.m., Channel 9) in her first broadcast interview since John Edwards’ federal case ended in a mistrial.
--So far this year, six insurance companies have obtained approval from state regulators for premium hikes on long-term care insurance ranging from a low of 10 percent to a high of 32 percent.
--A law passed last year that allowed billboard companies to cut more trees around their signs would be tempered under a bill that began moving in the General Assembly on Thursday. The proposal by Rep. Becky Carney, a Democrat from Charlotte, would return some control to local towns and cities.
--Absent from the budget approved Wednesday by legislators is a previously included $664,000 appropriation that would have automatically released around $4 million of federal funds to maintain and improve the state’s election system.
--Amid the hullabaloo over education laws in Raleigh, one school bill slipped by almost unnoticed. The state law, passed last June, gives parents the final say in deciding whether twins, triplets and other “multiples” are separated or placed in the same class.