On Wednesday the NC House approved a rules change that would provide less notice of veto override votes than in previous years. The adopted rule, which allows for a same-day override vote when either the governor vetoes a bill or the Senate votes to override a veto, was a “compromise” solution that provides more notice than the temporary rule change Republicans approved last month. Other veto override votes will need to be put on the House calendar and therefore scheduled at least one day in advance.
Voting Rights and Fair Representation
The NC Supreme Court set dates in mid-March to rehear cases on voter ID and redistricting. Both cases were decided recently when the court had a Democratic majority; once Republicans controlled the court, they made the unprecedented decision to rehear the two controversial cases. The redistricting case, in which the court previously found that the state Senate map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered, will be reheard at 12:45pm on March 14, while the case governing Republicans’ voter ID law will be reheard at 12:45pm on March 15. Watch HERE
On Tuesday the NC House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that could make the NC State Board of Education an elected body rather than one appointed by the governor. HB 17, which would put on the ballot a constitutional amendment to change the way the Board is selected, passed the committee without debate.
On Tuesday a bill that would require NC high school students to take computer science passed the NC House Education Committee in a divided vote. The bill would replace one of three science courses required for NC Public School students to graduate from high school with a computer science course; Democratic lawmakers objected to reducing science requirements for graduation.
Economic and Housing Policy
A group of Democrats in the NC House filed a bill that would limit corporate landlords from buying up too much housing stock in one place. HB 114 would prevent anyone or any company from buying a single family home in a county of 150,000 or more people where they already own and rent out 100 or more homes. Republicans in the majority say the bill stands no chance of passing the House.
The NC House Environment Committee passed a bill that would reduce the use of single-use plastics by state agencies, but they added a controversial amendment that would promote chemical recycling. HB 28 would require public agencies to annually report their use of recycled materials, require the General Assembly to reduce its use of disposable food ware, and establish pilot recycling programs in some agencies. The amendment specifies that “nonrecyclable” products do not include those processed at an “advanced recycling facility” – including facilities that perform chemical recycling. Critics of the amendment object because chemical recycling produces toxic waste and air pollution.
Health Care Policy
On Thursday the NC House passed a bill to expand Medicaid in a 92-22 vote. HB 76, which moved through the House in just three days, now goes to the NC Senate, where its fate is uncertain given that the House version of the bill did not include regulatory rollbacks the Senate has previously supported as part of expanding Medicaid.
Gun Violence Prevention
On Thursday the NC Senate passed a bill eliminating the state’s pistol permit requirement and allowing concealed carry in places of worship that serve as schools or are attached to schools. SB 41 packages together three bills that were originally filed separately and would allow North Carolinians to purchase a handgun without a permit from a sheriff, expand concealed carry, and develop an awareness campaign around safe gun storage. The NC House also passed a bill on Wednesday that overlaps with the Senate package, allowing concealed carry in places of worship that serve as schools or have attached schools. A separate bill to repeal the state’s pistol purchase permit advanced in the House last week.
On Monday NC Attorney General Josh Stein announced that he would not defend state restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone in a suit challenging those restrictions. Stein agrees with Dr. Amy Bryant, who brought the suit, that federal rules allowing the FDA to regulate the drug preempt state restrictions. FDA approval of mifepristone is under threat from a Texas lawsuit.
On Wednesday Democrats in the NC House filed a bill that would give people sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole a chance to earn release after 20 years, provided that they meet certain educational, vocational, and work requirements. HB 126 was written by two men serving life sentences, and it was considered in the 2021-2022 legislative session.
On Thursday a bill was filed in the NC House that would increase felony penalties for public school system employees who engage in a sexual act or take indecent liberties with students. HB 142 would raise sexual misconduct with a student from a Class I felony to a Class G felony, and it would also make school and district administrators’ failure to promptly report employee sexual misconduct to the State Board of Education Class I felony.