The North Carolina Republican party issued a call for State Senator Lisa Grafstein (D-Wake) to resign her seat after her announcement that she is moving to seek re-election in the newly created Senate District 13. Republicans had drawn the new maps so that Grafstein lived in the same district as fellow Democrat Jay Chaudhri (a process called “double-bunking”), and Grafstein announced her plan to move in response. Republicans say that she can’t continue to serve her current district while living outside it, but Grafstein said she does not intend to step down.
On Tuesday a federal court heard a case in which voting rights advocates argued that people on felony probation should not be charged with a felony if they illegally register to vote because they did not know it was illegal. Because the laws have changed so much recently, people who have finished serving felony sentences are confused about their voting eligibility even when they are eligible, according to a lawyer for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. State leaders and the Magistrate Judge hearing the case pointed out that, in general, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
Health Care Policy
How the state spent $1.6 billion in federal Medicaid incentives: When North Carolina agreed to expand Medicaid this year, it came with a special sweetener from the federal government--a signing bonus of $1.6 billion. Lawmakers could spend it on whatever they wanted. So where did it go? – Laura Leslie, WRAL News
On Wednesday the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced new Medicaid reimbursement rates for behavioral health care. This is the first behavioral health care Medicaid reimbursement rate increase in the state since 2012, and the new rates will apply to most Medicaid-covered mental health treatments, substance use disorder, services for patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and services for patients living with traumatic brain injury. As NC Sen. Sydney Batch pointed out, behavioral health care has historically been reimbursed at much lower rates than physical health care, which has led to a shortage of providers.
Gun Violence Prevention
On Wednesday the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission met to review proposed rule changes for concealed carry permit training. Among the rules the commission approved were that training must take place in person and that all people participating in a training must be given a copy of the state-approved training manual. The commission is part of the NC Department of Justice, which is led by Attorney General Josh Stein. NC’s Rules Reviews Commission will now review the approved rules changes.