North Carolina legislators are toying with the idea of opening budget talks to the public. The reason? Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Hendersonville, says it would incentivize lawmakers to hammer out the differences between the Senate and House version more quickly. Opening such discussions has been done before, to some degree, but status quo is usually to negotiate behind closed doors.
In similar news, state lawmakers might finally agree on how to overhaul the state's Medicaid system. The way it currently stands, doctors get paid after a patient visits. Under the proposed new plan, the payment would happen on the front end and occasionally be managed by businesses or organizations.
Egypt has sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to prison for seven years. The men, including Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed, Australian Peter Greste, Al Jazeera's Kenya-based correspondent, and Canadian-Egyptian national Mohamed Fahmy, Cairo bureau chief of Al Jazeera English, are charged with helping a "terrorist organization" by "publishing lies that harmed national security and supplying money, equipment and information to a group of Egyptians."
New York's first openly gay congressman has married his partner. "Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney exchanged vows Saturday with Randy Gene Florke at the Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands in Cold Spring. Florke proposed in December after the youngest of their three children wrote to Santa wishing for her parents to be married.