Senate will come to order. Sergeant-at-arms would close the doors. Members will go to their seats. Members and guests of the gallery, please silence all your electronic devices. Leading the Senate in prayer is the reverent Peter Milner, Senate Chaplain. All members and guests in the gallery will please stand. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let us pray. Oh mighty 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 when you showed us your grace and Jesus, help us to believe what you said as your ancestor said, love the lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. May our worldly duties, our laws here reflect your perfect law and may it spread the fragrance of thy love, our lord. It’s in Christ’s name that we pray. Amen. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca is recognized for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. The journal, Tuesday February 12th 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 12th stands approved as written. Senators, 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 reports the following resolutions duly ratified, properly enrolled and presented to the office of the Secretary of State. Senate Joint 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 house of representatives. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Reports of the standing committees. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Send forth a committee report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You can send forth your committee report, Senator. The clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca for the select committee on UNC board of governors submits for passage, Senate resolution 46: Election of UNC Board of Governors. Unfavorable as to resolution but favorable as to the committee substitute resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate resolution 46. Calendar. Our nurse of the day with us is Karen Lemmons. Karen, would you please stand in the back. Karen is from Ashville, North Carolina. We thank you for your service. We thank you for being here with us today. Senators, we’re moving to our calendar and the public bills will be on third reading roll call. This is House Bill 4. The clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] House Bill 4, Unemployment Insurance Fund Solvency & Program Changes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rucho, would you like to add any comments to the bill? Is there any further discussion or debate? House Bill 4. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick, you have the floor to speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Frequently I don’t say anything when these bills come up for third reading. However, I did have two; however, 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 who was a senior 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. And he thought it would have an impact on those who receive child support through our system. So I told him I would bring that to the attention of this body. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGE]: Is there any further discussion or debate? [SPEAKER CHANGE]: Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGE]: Senator Stein, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGE]: I rarely speak at this chamber so I wanted to have this opportunity to stand and debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGE]: Senator, you have the floor to debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGE]: Thank you. Members of the Senate, we have a real problem here. $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’s essential we get out of. The fun 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 suited 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. Makes it hard on those businesses to compete, makes it hard for North Carolina to compete. Similarly, if you 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 hardship 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, they need in order to keep their families going for the period of weeks that they are unemployed. A problem like this requires a balanced approach. And 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 $1 that is borne by the business, there are $2 in permanent cuts for unemployed workers. The number of weeks, we’re going from 26 weeks, to 12 to a 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 that set along 20 states, It would put us at the very bottom of the country. Everybody else is at 26, but ya’ll 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 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 debt’s repaid, let’s have these cuts, I mean these benefit reductions borne by workers go away. Then we can reevaluate what the system should look like. That was rejected. And that’s the most surprising, most harmful, or most telling, was your rejection of the amendment, that simply knew the effective date on all these drastic cuts ya’ll are proposing to the beginning of next year so that we could 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’s 17-18% unemployment. There are two or three applicants for every empty job in North Carolina. And to pretend that they’re not just 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 ya’ll 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 got a little tally going, that’s $3.5 billion in economic activity this year at no cost to the North Carolina taxpayer that ya’ll 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 CHANGE]: Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGE]: Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise?
Speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca has the floor to speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You know it’s amazing to me that someone says something long enough they believe it to be the truth. And I heard a lot of talk yesterday from folks that we didn’t care about people. One, we didn’t care about people, number two that we accused unemployed people of not looking for work. I don’t believe I ever heard that uttered out of one majority mouth yesterday. I think we’re all very concerned, we all believe the best thing we can do to help someone unemployed is help find suitable employment. Find more jobs. Create more jobs. We have had testimony in Committee where companies have come to North Carolina, very interested in coming here but stopped short and said have you corrected your unemployment problem? And we could not tell them yes. And I think that companies held back, I’m not sure but it’s my understanding Senator Rucho, that they have not made a commitment to come yet. We’re still hoping they do. Because it is in an area of the state that we really need. So to say that we don’t care about people, it’s just totally false and wrong and I just wanted to bring that up because I heard we were saying folks don’t want to work. We never said that. We believe everyone wants to work and they want a good job and to provide for their families. It takes care of most problems we’re facing. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further discussion or debate? Senators, I want to just let you know,, a leave of absence has been granted for Senator Nesbitt as well today. There’s no further discussion or debate, the question before the Senate is the passage of Committee Substitute to House Bill 4 on its third reading. All in favor will vote aye, oppose the vote no. Five seconds will be allowed for the voting and the clerk will record the vote. 36 having voted in the affirmative and 12 in the negative. Committee Substitute to House Bill 4 passes its third reading. It will be ordered enrolled and sent to the Governor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rucho, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Would Senator Apodaca yield for a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca do you yield for a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, he yields. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator Rucho, yes? [SPEAKER CHANGES] From past history, and even today don’t you think this oximeter deserves a new home? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No, Senator I think it’s displayed where it needs to be displayed and I’ve said this over and over and Senator McKissick mentioned it, we do not award to professionals. It violates the amateur status of the oximeter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 50. The clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 50. Discharge veterans, identity theft protection. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bingham is recognized to explain the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate. The registered deeds in Montgomery, Davidson had brought this to my attention. There had been some incidences where folks had taken identity of veterans when it comes common knowledge of a 50 years from their DD214 or social security number. This in fact corrects that. There was also a technical correction when we got into this and found some of the letters to be incorrect in statutes and this is also the technical correction that will be included in this bill. I appreciate your support and would be happy to answer any questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of Committee Substitute to Senate Bill 50 on its second reading. All those in favor will vote aye, oppose the vote no. Five seconds will be allowed for the voting and the clerk will record the vote. Jenkins, aye. Cook, Cook, aye. Tillman, aye. 48 having voted in the affirmative and ero in the negative. The Committee Substitute to Senate Bill 50 passes its second reading without objection. It will be read a third time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] North Carolina General Assembly enacts. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage.
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.