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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Sunday, March 9 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-03-09 10:00:10 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – School safety and education spending were two of the most talked about issues at three forums of Republican candidates running for office in New Hanover County. The Lower Cape FearMore >>
Republicans currently hold six of the seven seats on the 2014 ballot for County Commission, School Board and Sheriff in New Hanover County. Candidates seeking to fill those seats met at a forum discussing education spending, school safety, gang violence and economic development.More >>
Friday, March 7 2014 8:10 AM EST2014-03-07 13:10:59 GMT
SWANNANOA, N.C. (AP/WECT) - State Sen. Martin Nesbitt, who this week stepped down as minority leader because of illness, has died. He was 67. Senate Democratic Caucus Director Ford Porter said NesbittMore >>
Just days after stepping down as the Senate Minority Leader in the General Assembly, state Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D-Buncombe) passed away from stomach cancer.More >>
Wednesday, March 5 2014 8:03 AM EST2014-03-05 13:03:49 GMT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina state Sen. Martin Nesbitt has stepped down as the Senate's minority leader because of a recent medical diagnosis. Sen. Dan Blue is taking his place. The Senate DemocraticMore >>
State Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D-Buncombe) has stepped down from his position of Minority Leader because of a health issue. Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake) will be filling the role.More >>
Sunday, March 2 2014 10:02 AM EST2014-03-02 15:02:31 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A flurry of final-day filings on Friday added candidates to races for seats in Washington DC, Raleigh and southeastern North Carolina. New Hanover County Commissioner JonathanMore >>
Several last-minute filings set up primary challenges for candidates seeking office in Raleigh and Washington, DC. Nearly all Sheriffs in southeastern North Carolina will also have primary challenges in 2014.More >>
Friday, February 28 2014 12:00 AM EST2014-02-28 05:00:12 GMT
FLORENCE, SC (WECT) – Will Breazeale, the 2008 Republican nominee for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District seat, has decided not to run for the same office in 2014. In a news release sent out lateMore >>
Will Breazeale, who won the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District in 2008, has decided not to make another run for the office in 2014.More >>
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