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Applicants for the federal assistance program known as Work First may soon have to pass a drug screen before being eligible for benefits under Senate Bill 594, which was introduced by Senator Jim Davis (R-50). The bill, which passed the Senate Monday night in a 35-15 vote, is now heading to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The bill requires those seeking benefits and those currently enrolled in the program to pay for the drug tests upfront. If the tests are negative, applicants would be reimbursed for the tests through an increase in Work First payments. For applicants who test positive for controlled substances, they would be ineligible for benefits for a minimum of one year.


When the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force announced they would suspend the Tuition Assistance program for servicemembers I knew we needed to take immediate action. Last year, 300,000 of our brave men and women in uniform used this program to advance their educations.

While I recognize that sequestration is forcing the Department of Defense to make tough budget decisions, denying educational opportunities to our servicemembers is the wrong way to find savings. We cannot put the burden of addressing our long-term fiscal challenges on the backs of the men and women who serve our country. That’s not the way we do things in North Carolina, and it shouldn’t be the way we do business in Washington, either.


Gov. Pat McCrory ran on a slew of promises when campaigning back in the fall, one of which was to reform the tax code in North Carolina, something that the N.C. General Assembly has been looking to do for years. His recent signing of House Bill 82, may be interpreted as his way of doing that. Each year N.C. updates its tax code to conform with federal changes. House Bill 82 was designed to update statutory references to the Internal Revenue Code (IRS), incorporating and conforming to many provisions contained in the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012.

“The reason for this bill is to coincide with federal regulations," said Sen. Jim Davis who voted in favor of the bill. “We want to make sure that people who don't pay in, don't get earned income credit. There's a lot of fraud that goes along with this.”


Macon County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution on Tuesday night, in hopes of sending a message to Raleigh to protect funds allocated to rural areas of the state, including Macon County.

Gov. Pat McCrory's proposed budget has called for a nearly 45 percent cut to the state’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. Each year, the trust fund is divided into three pools of money — 30 percent goes to recreation-related grants to counties, towns and cities; 65 percent to state park projects and five percent is used for shoreline access on the coast.


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