On Tuesday the Republican-controlled NCGA voted to override Governor Cooper’s vetoes of bills that would increase voting restrictions (SB 747), change appointment powers for state and local boards of elections (SB 749) and other state boards (SB 512), and weaken environmental protections (HB 600). SB 747 limits when mail-in ballots can be counted and gives partisan election observers greater leeway to move around polling places, SB 749 takes election board appointment power from the governor and gives it to state legislators, and HB 600 rolls back hog and poultry industry regulations, among other provisions. Lawsuits were immediately filed to challenge two of the new laws, SB 512 and SB 747 (see below).
On Tuesday Governor Cooper announced that he is suing Republican state legislators over a new law they passed, describing it as a “blatantly unconstitutional legislative power grab.” SB 512 takes away the governor’s appointment powers for many state boards, giving them instead to the state legislature.
Immediately after the NCGA voted Tuesday to override Governor Cooper’s veto and pass a new law restricting voting rights, prominent Democratic attorney Marc Elias and the National Democratic Party both independently sued North Carolina over the law in federal court. Elias is representing multiple voting rights groups in the suit over SB 747 (see update in Governance above for details), highlighting provisions of the law that will disenfranchise many voters trying to use same-day registration. The DNC, while also challenging multiple parts of the bill, noted that the law would encourage voter intimidation.
Health Care Policy
On Friday the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that the federal government has formally approved North Carolina’s Medicaid expansion plans. The approval means the program’s expansion is on schedule to begin on December 1, with roughly 300,000 people added on the first day and another 300,000 added soon after.
On Wednesday families and doctors of transgender youth filed a federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The law bans gender-affirming treatment for patients under 18, even when their doctors recommend such treatment and they and their parents consent to the treatment. The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of a 9-year-old transgender boy who is afraid of going through a puberty that doesn’t match his gender identity.