Abortion and autism bills pass General Assembly ahead of Thursday's "crossover deadline"
House lawmakers passed a bill imposing restrictions on abortions as lawmakers neared the "crossover deadline" in the General Assembly
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A bill broadening restrictions on
abortion through the federal health care law and so-called conscience
protections has gained initial approval from the North Carolina House.
The bill tentatively approved Wednesday outlaws health
care plans that include abortion services from future online marketplaces of
private plans offered under the federal Affordable Care Act.
It also allows any medical professional to refuse to
participate in an abortion and allows any business to refuse to provide
contraception coverage on religious or moral grounds. Current law only refers
to doctors and nurses but would now extend to pharmacists and technicians.
A provision exempting private businesses from refusing to
cover contraception was removed.
Opponents say the bill tramples women's rights.
The bill needs another vote before Thursday night to move
to the Senate.
House lawmakers want to require North Carolina health
insurance providers - including the plan for state employees and teachers - to
cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism for children of their members.
The chamber voted by a wide margin for the final bill
Wednesday night that applies to children age 23 and under and would limit
behavioral health treatment to $36,000 annually. The 105-7 margin came after
vigorous debate on several amendments.
The bill would exempt small-employer carriers from the
requirement if the new mandate raises annual premiums by more than 1 percent. A
bill sponsor has said premiums went up by a few dollars a year in other states.
An amendment that would have exempted more small businesses was defeated.
The measure now heads to the Senate.
A bill giving North Carolina students with disabilities a
grant to attend private school secured initial approval in the state House.
The House tentatively approved Wednesday a bill that
replaces a similar tax credit program with a $3,000-per-semester grant that
sponsors say will broaden eligibility to poorer residents.
Backers of the bipartisan bill say the original program
passed last session excluded parents who don't pay income taxes from taking
advantage of the credit.
Democratic lawmakers argued $6,000 a year isn't enough
for poor families when tuition costs far more, so the bill subsidizes more
middle-income families. Supporters of the bill said it still offers the
opportunity for parents to make the choice for themselves.
The bill requires another vote for approval before
heading to the Senate.
The Senate on Wednesday passed bills repealing rules
aimed at improving water quality in Jordan Lake and lifting a cap on new
jetties along the coast.
Republican Sen. Rick Gunn of Burlington said his bill
repealing Jordan Lake rules and commissioning a study for new ones will help
improve methods for curbing pollutants. Democratic lawmakers said those rules
haven't had a chance to work because the legislature has repeatedly delayed
Republican senators favoring an end to caps and many
restrictions on jetties argued many coastal communities want the structures to
protect their inlets but existing law is too strict. Democrats worried about
their appearance and the potential damage they cause to neighboring property.
The House rejected an effort to create a new kind of
corporate structure in North Carolina that would focus on benefiting the public
in addition to making a profit.
The House voted 52-60 Wednesday night against a measure
called the North Carolina Benefit Corporation Act. It would allow the formation
of what's known as a "B-corp," in addition to the current
"S-corp" and "C-corp" formats under which corporations can
Bill sponsor Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville says
the new type of corporation is already permitted in other states and would
allow a younger generation of entrepreneurs to promote the good of society or
But critics say the measure encourages a move away from
capitalism and isn't necessary under the state's current corporate structure.
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Thursday, December 12 2013 7:54 AM EST2013-12-12 12:54:48 GMT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina legislator has been arrested on felony tax charges. The N.C. Department of Revenue announced Wednesday that Rep. Deborah H. McManus, D-Chatham, faces three countsMore >>
A first-term lawmaker has resigned after her arrest on embezzlement charges. Deborah McManus resigned effective Wednesday from representing District 54 in the NC House, according to the General Assembly website.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 2:44 PM EST2013-12-10 19:44:55 GMT
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Friday, December 6 2013 1:52 PM EST2013-12-06 18:52:58 GMT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A lawsuit filed more than a decade ago against Attorney General Roy Cooper and his campaign for a television commercial aired during his first winning run for the job may finally goMore >>
A lawsuit dating back to 2000 against NC Attorney General Roy Cooper has received a trial date for spring of 2014.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 4:00 PM EST2013-12-05 21:00:12 GMT
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The Senate Majority PAC has launched a new ad campaign, supporting Sen. Kay Hagan and criticizing the candidate many consider the front-runner to oppose her bid for re-election in 2014. Click on the link inside this story to see the ad.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 4:53 PM EST2013-12-04 21:53:34 GMT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A judge has found North Carolina NAACP President William Barber and 11 others guilty of second-degree trespassing and violating building rules while protesting in April at the stateMore >>
A judge today found a dozen "Moral Monday" protestors, including the state NAACP President, guilty of trespassing for their demonstration at the General Assembly building in April. More >>
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