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Headline Roundup: NC House Voting On Tax Revisions, Bills To Toughen NC DWI Laws Up For Vote, More

The North Carolina House of Representatives will vote today on a series of revisions to last session’s major tax overhaul. One change would force power companies to pass savings from a lower corporate tax rate on to customers. Representative Mike Hager says it fixes a loophole.

"The utilities actually got a lower corporate rate. But what we didn't mandate was that that lowers corporate rate and that lower cost of business got passed onto the rate payers. Well, we're going in and cleaning that up this year."

Duke Energy already passes along its savings from the lower rate to its customers, but could stand to gain millions a year if it chose to hold onto them. Dominion Power, which operates in the Northeast part of the state, has held onto the savings and stands to earn about $400,000 a year off them, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

NC Republican Party Chair Won't Seek Another Term
The North Carolina Republican Party chairman says he won't seek another two years at the job when his term expires in June. Claude Pope, Jr. announced today he won't run for re-election. He did not give a reason in his statement but mentioned looking forward to getting back to his business interests, which includes a Bald Head Island grocery, and spending time at home after lots of traveling. 

Pope was essentially Gov. Pat McCrory's hand-picked choice as chairman in 2013. The governor endorsed Pope the day after his announced candidacy and political workers close to McCrory ran Pope's campaign. His successor will be chosen at the party convention in June.

Two Bills To Toughen NC DWI Laws Up For Vote
Two other bills up for vote in the state house would toughen North Carolina’s Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) laws. The first bill would require drivers convicted of a DWI to have no alcohol in their system after their license is restored. The current rules require a blood alcohol level lower than 0.04. The bill would also require that interlocks—where drivers must blow into a system that checks their blood alcohol level before their car will start—also adjust to check for that 0.00 level. The second bill would make two convictions within 10 years a felony offense with a minimum of one year in jail—currently it takes three convictions.