On Wednesday the NCGA began its long session. Though the lawmakers are now taking a legally-required two-week break, reconvening on January 25, the first day of the session included a controversial temporary rule change in the NC House eliminating a provision requiring advance notice of veto override votes. Republicans, who are one vote short of the supermajority required to override a veto from Governor Cooper, will seek to make the rule change permanent once the break is over. Important issues expected to come up in this session of the NCGA include Medicaid expansion, Republican-driven restrictions on abortion, and public school spending. In addition, lawmakers will draw two new electoral maps (for US House and NC Senate races) and likely rewrite the state’s voter ID law.
On Thursday Governor Cooper announced a ban of the app TikTok on state-owned mobile phones. The decision follows TikTok bans on government devices by the federal government and many other states due to TikTok’s ownership by Chinese company ByteDance and its status as a security risk.
Health Care Policy
On January 4 the NC treasurer’s office announced that the State Health Plan – the health insurance plan for NC government employees and teachers – will switch from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Aetna. State Treasurer Dale Folwell said that costs to employees will not change, but which providers are considered in-network may change. On January 12, Blue Cross NC filed a complaint that the request for proposals (RFP) put out by the treasurer’s office was inadequate. The office must either deny the appeal within ten days or schedule a meeting with Blue Cross NC to discuss their complaint.