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Voting Rights


Voting Rights


Education Policy and Economic Policy

  • In a Wednesday news conference, Senate leader Phil Berger announced that the Senate will propose an anti-affirmative-action constitutional amendment. The amendment uses language from a similar California ballot initiative in 1996 that banned affirmative action: “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, an individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.” The proposed amendment would appear on the next primary ballot and, if passed, is expected to significantly impact the number of underrepresented minority students attending the University of North Carolina as well as the percentage of state contracts awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses.


  • During the same news conference, Berger also promoted a new bill that would ban North Carolina public schools from “promoting the idea that one race or gender is inherently superior to another and that someone is inherently racist or sexist because of their race or gender.” Berger spoke against “indoctrinating students” with critical race theory, even though critical race theory is not taught in any K-12 schools. The bill would be the NC Senate version of an anti-critical-race-theory bill already passed by the NC House (HB 324).


Environmental Policy


Criminal Justice

  • A criminal justice reform bill that previously included changes to the rules governing release of body camera footage has dropped those measures. In earlier iterations, SB 300 would have mandated the release of body camera footage upon request to families of those shot by police, a reform from the current law that requires families to receive approval from a judge to gain access to the footage. Despite passing the NC Senate unanimously with those reforms intact in May, the bill’s language was changed in response to law enforcement pressure before it began its process through the House this week. After a discussion in committee, the body camera language was stripped completely from the bill, meaning that current rules would stay in place if the bill passed without further changes.



Governance


Education Policy




Economic and Housing Policy



Environmental Policy

  • Governor Cooper signed the North Carolina Farm Act of 2021 into law. The only provision of the new law (SB 605) that received strong Democratic pushback makes it easier for state hog farmers to manage methane gas from waste lagoons by granting a general permit from the state regulatory agency instead of requiring individual permits. Republicans said the creation of a general permit is “a step in the right direction.” Democrats and environmental groups objected to the provision because of the potential harm to the environment from methane and other hog waste leaking into groundwater and the harmful effects for the health and safety of low-income communities, including many communities of color, living near the farms. Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) said, “We are establishing a general permit that doesn’t allow for site-specific reviews; it actually doesn’t allow for water quality considerations or air quality considerations… This proposal will concentrate the toxins and contaminants that are in hog waste.” The bill had received the support of a handful of Democrats in both the House and Senate.

  • The North Carolina Utilities Commission will delay approval of Duke Energy’s long-term energy plan in order to do further review of the energy company’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP lays out a decade or more of proposed construction projects and expenses. State regulators must approve the plan before it can be put into place. Environmental groups have argued that the plan leans too much on natural gas and nuclear power as replacements for coal at the expense of other cheaper renewable resources. The Utilities Commission indicated it would soon issue a new order defining what it wants Duke Energy to provide for further review.

  • Governor Cooper signed HB 272, a bill that lowers the legal standard for hazardous lead levels in drinking water from 15 to 10 parts per billion.

Health Care Policy


Women’s Rights and LGBTQ Rights

Criminal Justice