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Senate | February 13, 2013 | Chamber | Session

Full MP3 Audio File

Senate will come to order. Sargent of Arms close the doors. Members will go to their seats. Members and guests of the gallery please silence all of your electronic devices. Leading the Senate in prayer is the Reverend Peter Milner, Senate Chaplain. All the members and guests in the gallery will please stand. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God you love everything that you have created and you have created all that we see and hear and taste. Forgive us your children for assuming that we can live our lives without you. You are the vine and we are the branches. Thank you for that. Thank you for your amazing grace. How sweet the sound. May we carry the tune of your grace with us throughout our lives, the tune of when you showed us your grace. And Jesus help us to believe what you said as your ancestors said love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. May our worldly duties, our laws here, reflect your perfect law, may it spread the fragrance of thy love O Lord. It’s in Christ’s name that we pray, amen. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca is recognized for the motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President the journal of Tuesday February 12 has been read and examined and is found to be correct. I move that the Senate dispense with the reading of the journal and that it stand approved as written. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection the journal for February 12 stands approved as written. Senator’s leave of absence is granted for Senator Brown today. Ratification of bills the clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ratification of bills enrolled bills enrolling clerk will post the following resolutions duly ratified properly enrolled and presented to the office of the Secretary of State. Senate journal resolution 47 a joint resolution informing his excellency Governor Pat McCrory that the General Assembly is organized and ready to proceed with public business and inviting the governor to address a joint session of the senate and the house of representatives. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Reports of standing committees. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Apodaca what purpose do you arise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To send forth my committee report [SPEAKER CHANGES] You can send forth your committee report Senator [SPEAKER CHANGES] The clerk will read [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca the select committee on unc board of governors submit for passage Senate Resolution 46 election of unc board of governors unfavorable as to resolution but favorable as to committee substitute resolution [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate resolution 46 to calendar. Our newest of the day with us is Karen Lemmons, Karen will you please stand in the back, Karen is from Asheboro, North Carolina, we thank you for your service, we thank you for being here today. Senators we’re moving to our calendar into public bills will be on our third reading roll call this is house bill 4 the clerk will read [SPEAKER CHANGES] House bill 4 unemployment insurance insolvency and program changes [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rucho would you like to add any comments to the bill? Any further discussion or debate on house bill 4 [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick for what purpose do you arise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick you have the floor to speaker on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Frequently I don’t say anything when these bills come up for the third reading however I did have two..really..having been contacted by a senior

Senator Apodaca said I didn’t qualify for that. He said that was for amateurs. In any case, I was contacted by two district court judges, one of which was a senior district court judge, who felt that it was important to bring to the attention of this body that when unemployment benefits get reduced, it also affects the ability of people to pay child support. He thought it would have impact on those who receive child support through our system. I told him that I would bring that to the attention of this body. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is there any further discussion or debate? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I rarely speak at this chamber so I wanted to have this opportunity to stand and debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, you have the floor to debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Members of the Senate, we have a real problem here, a $2.5 billion shortfall that we owe the Federal government. There are a lot of causes and we heard a good debate yesterday as to what those causes were that got us in this hole. But we all agree that this is a big hole and one that it’s essential we get out of. The fund must be solvent. If you put too much of the burden on the businesses then tax rates, which North Carolina is one of the lowest in the country on our city taxes, I think we’re 42nd, 43rd in the country, we put too much on the business and our tax rate gets out of whack, it makes it hard on those businesses to compete, it makes it hard for North Carolina to compete. Similarly, if we put too much burden on people who lost their job through no fault of their own and are actively looking for work, which is who we’re talking about, and their families, you create real hardships for those families but also for their local communities, their landlords, their supermarkets, their gas stations, everywhere where they spend their little bit of money that they need in order to keep their families going for the periods of weeks that they’re unemployed. A problem, I guess, requires a balanced approach. What I regret is that the bill that is before us now is not balanced. It is not a bill of shared sacrifice. For every one dollar that is borne by the business there are two dollars in permanent cuts for unemployed workers. The number of weeks, we’re going from 26 weeks to 12-to-20-week sliding scale. Only one other state in the country uses 12 to 20 weeks. 45 states use 26 weeks. We had a very reasonable amendment yesterday to settle on 20 weeks. It would put us at the very bottom of the country. Everyone else is at 26 but you all rejected 20 weeks and went 12 to 20. The way you calculate the income on what the unemployment rate is paid, is we’re the only state in the country that does that and it results in the lowest amount in the country. We put in amendments to make this bill fair. They were rejected. Then there was the issue about the sunset. Let’s put a sunset on this. If the business taxes go away when the debts are paid, let’s have these benefit reductions borne by workers go away. Then we can reevaluate what the system should look like. That was rejected. That’s the most surprising, most harmful, or most telling was your rejection of the amendment that simply moved the effective date on all these drastic cuts you all are proposing to the beginning of next year so that we can continue to draw down long-term unemployment benefits for people who are having a very tough time finding a job. We heard about counties where there are 17 and 18 percent unemployment. There are two or three applicants for every empty job in North Carolina and to pretend that they’re just not finding jobs because they don’t want them is really callous. It also is just shocking that you all are willing to forgo at no cost to the North Carolina taxpayer $780 million in economic transfer to unemployed workers which results in $1.5 billion in economic activity in counties where there are unemployed people. We have an unemployment problem in North Carolina and you all are rejecting $1.5 billion in economic activity at zero cost to the North Carolina taxpayer. We’ve taken up three major bills and so far, I’ve got a little tally going, that’s $3.5 billion in economic activity this year at no cost to the North Carolina taxpayer that you all are forgoing. We should be about getting the economy going again. I urge you to vote against this bill on third reading. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca for what purpose do you rise?

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committee substitute to Senate Bill 50 on its third reading. All in favor will say aye, opposed no. The ayes have it and Senate Bill 50 will be sent to the House. Notices and announcements. Senator Allran, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To make an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, you have the floor to make an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] There will be a meeting of the J2 Committee tomorrow at 10:00 in the regular room. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further notices and announcements? Is there any other business to come before the Senate? If not, the Chair recognizes Senator Berger for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Senate do now adjourn, subject to the introduction of bills and resolutions, the receipt and referral of committee reports, and the receipt of messages from the House and the governor, to reconvene tomorrow, Thursday, February 14th, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The motion is that the Senate do now adjourn, subject to the stipulations stated by the senator and the ratification of bills, to reconvene Thursday, February 14th at 11:00 a.m., seconded by Senator Tillman. All in favor say aye, opposed no. The ayes have it and the Senate stands adjourned.