On Wednesday the NC General Assembly reconvened for its long legislative session after a two-week break. Some of the first bills filed on Wednesday were similar to bills filed in previous sessions that were either not passed by both chambers or vetoed by Governor Cooper. These included:
a bill that would legalize medical marijuana, which previously passed the NC Senate but stalled in the NC House, and
a bill that would require sheriffs to cooperate with ICE, which has been passed and vetoed twice previously.
loosening regulations for pistol permits,
prohibiting teaching about systemic racism in public schools,
requiring teachers to inform parents about students’ gender identities,
and making rioting a felony.
Finally, Republican leaders signaled an interest in passing more restrictive abortion laws, while Democrats introduced a bill on Thursday to codify Roe v. Wade in state law.
On Wednesday a Republican in the NC House (Rep. Hugh Blackwell, Burke County) filed a bill that would limit the governor’s power to shape the State Board of Education. HB 17 would propose a constitutional amendment to make most of the seats on the State Board of Education open for election rather than appointed by the governor and would make the elected state superintendent the chair of the State Board of Education.
Health Care Policy
Top NC Republican legislator will push for medical marijuana again this year “The new legislative session began Wednesday morning, and the very first bill filed in the N.C. Senate was Sen. Bill Rabon’s ‘Compassionate Care Act.’ It would allow medical — but not recreational — marijuana use statewide.” - by Will Doran and Luciana Perez Uribe Guinassi, News and Observer
Dr. Amy Bryant, an OB-GYN in Orange County, filed suit in federal court on Wednesday over state restrictions on abortion pills. Naming both state and county attorney generals and state health agency figures as defendants in their official capacities, the suit charges that North Carolina’s restrictions on the prescription of mifepristone that go beyond those imposed by the FDA are burdensome to physicians and patients.
On Wednesday the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in a case over the State Health Plan’s illegal denial of gender-affirming care for transgender people covered by the plan. While the case, Kadel v. Folwell, was originally decided in the plaintiff’s favor in 2019, with a federal judge ruling that the State Health Plan’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender people violated the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act by discriminating on the basis of sex and transgender status, State Treasurer Dale Folwell has continued to appeal the ruling.
Despite expected failure, NC Democrats push to protect abortion by codifying Roe v. Wade "Democrats in both chambers of the General Assembly filed a bill Wednesday to codify Roe v. Wade into North Carolina law.” - by Kyle Ingram, News and Observer
In response to an attack in December on two Duke Energy substations in Moore County and a recent attack on a substation in Randolph County, Rep. Ben Moss, Jr. (a Republican who represents Moore and Richmond counties) introduced a bill to add 24-hour security systems to power stations. Other power stations around the country have been similarly targeted in what federal investigators believe might be the work of far-right extremists.