On Friday NC House Speaker Tim Moore announced that House Republicans plan to introduce legislation to eliminate mask requirements in NC public schools. While there is no statewide school mask mandate, 75 out of 114 school districts in the state currently follow the recommendation of the NC Department of Health and Human Services to require indoor masking.
NC state legislators have until this coming Friday (February 18) to provide new U.S. House and state legislative district maps to a three-judge trial court panel, following the NC Supreme Court’s February 4 order striking down the original district maps. On Tuesday the trial court panel announced they would hire a special master to evaluate the new maps, and both Republican legislators and plaintiffs in the case have submitted names for their candidates to fill that role. Republicans proposed the court appoint John Morgan, a conservative demographer whose candidacy is strongly opposed by voting rights groups, while the plaintiffs proposed the court appoint Nathan Persily, who has previously served in the special master role in North Carolina. Republican lawmakers, who have remained secretive about their redrawing process, also suggested that they are considering appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose recent decision upholding a racial gerrymander in Alabama has “emboldened [their] case,” according to House Speaker Tim Moore.
On Monday the NC Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could decide the fate of two state constitutional amendments that appeared on the ballot in 2018. The North Carolina branch of the NAACP, the plaintiff in the case, argues that the two amendments – a voter ID requirement and an income tax cap of 7% – are illegitimate because they were placed on the ballot by an illegally gerrymandered state legislature. While a Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, the decision was then overturned in a split decision by the Court of Appeals.
Health Care Policy
From WRAL: “Deep in the 2021 state budget bill was a provision requiring lawmakers to study the issue of Medicaid expansion. That resulted in the creation of the Joint Legislative Committee on Access to Healthcare and Medicaid expansion, which is scheduled to hold its first meeting next Friday, Feb. 18.”