RALEIGH – Amid a flurry of activity surrounding today’s NCGOP Convention kickoff, the General Assembly and the Governor still have a notable to-do list for the day ahead. The House will meet at 7 p.m. tonight to take up a potential veto override, SB 2, – Magistrate Recusal for Civil Ceremonies. The Senate readily passed the override earlier in the week 32-16, but the House delayed the vote for two days.
The measure would allow magistrates and other officials to recuse themselves from performing civil ceremonies in light of their religious beliefs. The House is also weighing HB 562, Amend Firearms Laws, which would removes the Pistol Purchase Permit requirement. Federal background check laws would stay in place, but gun customers would no longer have to be approved by their county sheriff to purchase a handgun. The measure made it out of committee on Wednesday by one vote.
Meanwhile across the hall, the Senate will convene at 1:30 this afternoon to take up a Committee Substitute for Teacher Attrition Data (SB333). The bill directs the State Board of Education to include data on teacher employment in its annual report. Specifically, lawmakers want more information on why North Carolina teachers leave their post, where they go, and which schools and subjects are hardest to staff.
On Blount Street, Governor McCrory is preparing to welcome some of the biggest names on the GOP national stage to the state convention. Included in the line up this weekend are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Dr. Ben Carson, N.C. Sen. Thom Tillis, Donald Trump and others.
“It’s unusual that we have more presidential candidates who want to attend than we can have here,” said N.C. GOP Chairman Claude Pope. “We haven’t had that kind of influence since the 1976 election.” [More from Claude Pope here.]
Meanwhile, the veto override of HB 405 hit McCrory’s desk. The measure is aimed at giving companies legal recourse against employees who steal documents and merchandise or secretly take pictures at work. Opponents call it “ag-gag,” saying it punishes whistleblowers, while supporters say it protects the rights of employees and their employers. The override means that the bill will become law despite McCrory’s objections. If the House passes SB 2 today, another override might be right behind it.