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Neighbors on Call’s NC Policy Update for 4/24/23

Education Policy

  • House approves bill giving school leaders more discretion to expel, suspend students

    • “A bill that strips language from current law providing examples of student conduct serious enough for suspension or expulsion has been approved by the House. The removal of specific examples of serious offenses would give principals and school boards more discretion to suspend or expel students for misconduct if House Bill 188 becomes law. The bill is sponsored by a team of Republicans… [and] was approved this week on a 71-42 vote largely along party lines.” – Greg Childress, NC Newsline

  • N.C. Community College Board chooses new president as GOP looks to change process

    • “The State Board of Community Colleges chose a new president for the 58-campus community college system Friday, making the decision ahead of a looming bill that would require the General Assembly to approve the system’s top leader. Jeff Cox, president of Wilkes Community College, will be the system’s new president... Senate Bill 692, filed earlier this month, would change community college governance, giving the General Assembly’s GOP majority confirmation of the system president and granting the president the power to fire individual campus presidents and diminishing the power of local campus leaders and the governor.” – Joe Killian, NC Newsline

Economic and Housing Policy

  • Banks, credit union league at odds over impact of proposed changes

    • “Credit unions are non-profits, exempt from many taxes, and the law restricts who they can take on as customers. The latest version of House Bill 410 widens credit unions' potential customer bases by letting them serve any person whose income falls below the federal poverty line, plus anyone who lives in an area without a bank branch in an 8-mile radius of the local population center.” – Travis Fain, WRAL

Environmental Policy

Health Care Policy

  • Legislation seeks to find out [how] many people in NC are involuntarily committed for mental health treatment

    • “A bill filed this week would require the state to track and report how many people are forced into psychiatric treatment…Rep. John Autry, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, is the primary sponsor of a bill filed this week to require the collection of data on how many people meet criteria for involuntary commitment, how many are released based on petitions for outpatient treatment, and other information. The information would be reported to regional government mental health agencies.” – Lynn Bonner, NC Newsline

  • Advocates, experts tout proposals to reduce Black maternal deaths in North Carolina

    • “...Senate Bill 467 and its companion House Bill 552 would require the state to develop an implicit bias training program for health care professionals who provide maternal care, would appropriate $500,000 to train a diverse workforce of lactation consultants, and establish a Maternal Mortality Prevention grant program. Bills aimed at improving Black maternal health have been filed in previous sessions, but have not made it out of legislative committees. In those years, North Carolina’s maternal mortality rate has gotten worse… Although supporters held signs proclaiming “Black Maternal Health is Nonpartisan” on Wednesday, no Republicans had signed on to sponsor the Senate bill or its House companion.” – Lynn Bonner, NC Newsline

  • NC Senate committee approves caps on medical debt interest, limits on aggressive collection tactics

    • “A bill that would limit aggressive medical debt collection tactics got its first affirmative vote in the legislature Thursday as it moved through a Senate committee with little discussion…The bill would prohibit medical debt collectors from foreclosing on property or garnishing wages. Large health care facilities, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and outpatient clinics with annual revenues of at least $20 million, would have to post price information on their websites and make sure patients know of financial assistance policies. The bill caps the interest on medical debt.” – Lynn Bonner, NC Newsline

LGBTQ Rights

  • New bill would criminalize public drag performances

    • “Public drag performances could become illegal under a bill filed Tuesday in the N.C. House. H673 would classify as ‘adult live entertainment’ any ‘male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest,’ making it illegal for drag performances to take place on public property in the presence of anyone under age 18…The bill places drag in a category with, according to the text of the bill, ‘topless dancers, exotic dancers, strippers’ and makes a first offense a Class A1 misdemeanor and a second offense a Class I felony.” – Joe Killian, NC Newsline

  • Transgender sports ban passes N.C. Senate

    • “The North Carolina Senate passed its version of a bill that would exclude transgender female athletes from middle and high school sports Thursday. The bill is less expansive than the similar House version passed Wednesday, which includes college sports. The Senate version also does not prohibit female athletes from playing on teams designated male, while the House version says that will be allowed only if there is no comparable female team. Senate Bill 631 passed on a party line vote, 29-18, with three Senators having excused absences — Val Applewhite (D-Cumberland), Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) and Warren Daniel (R- Buncombe).” – Joe Killian, NC Newsline

Criminal Justice

  • New push for a revised NC hate crimes law

    • “Jewish and Muslim faith leaders and the director of an Asian Pacific Islander nonprofit joined House Democrats on Tuesday in highlighting the need for a revised hate crime law and a statewide tracking of hate crimes. House bill 596 would expand the law to add ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. It creates a new criminal offense called ‘felonious assault as a hate crime’ for inflicting a serious injury on someone because of their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, religion, nationality, country of origin, gender, disability or sexual orientation.” – Lynn Bonner, NC Newsline

  • Bill would abolish the death penalty

    • “Four House Democrats have filed a bill that would repeal North Carolina’s death penalty and resentence the 137 people on death row to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The proposal comes as advocates continue to urge Gov. Roy Cooper to commute all pending death sentences and clear the state’s death row before he leaves office in 2024…The measure is substantively the same as another death penalty repeal bill filed by Democrats in the Senate that was parked in the Rules and Operations Committee in mid-February. No Republicans are attached to either bill, making passage unlikely.” – Kelan Lyons, NC Newsline

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