This article offers a good summary of bills moving through the NCGA to advance vouchers, charter schools, limits on transgender athletes, and more: “In Raleigh, GOP supermajorities advance big and controversial changes in public education” - NC Newsline
The NC Senate passed a Republican-sponsored bill that would force UNC System universities and community colleges to change accreditation agencies each accreditation cycle. SB 680 would also mandate the creation of a commission by the UNC Board of Governors to study alternatives to the current accreditation process. Higher education experts who spoke in a panel Wednesday warned that this law would be both harmful to education in North Carolina and costly to schools.
Gun Violence Prevention
The NC Senate unanimously passed a bill that would make it a separate offense for someone with a felony conviction to engage in a felony using a firearm. SB 650, titled “Gun Violence Prevention Act,” is not related to the previously filed SB 210 that shares that name. Sen. Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg), who filed the original bill, took the opportunity of the shared names to introduce several gun regulation amendments, all of which were tabled by the Republican majority.
Reproductive RightsWomen’s Rights and LGBTQ Rights
On Saturday Governor Cooper vetoed a Republican-sponsored bill that would ban abortions after twelve weeks and place additional restrictions on abortion providers. His veto of SB 20 was accompanied by a rally against the bill, and Cooper has also been traveling around the state to put pressure on a set of four Republican legislators to not join an override vote. Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) did not vote on the bill because of a campaign promise that he would not vote to change the current 20-week abortion ban, while representatives Tricia Cotham and and John Bradford, both Mecklenburg County Republicans, both voted for the bill in contradiction to campaign promises they had made.
The NC House unanimously passed a bill that would make it easier for people charged but not convicted of crimes to remove their mugshots from the public sphere. HB 778 would require private mugshot-publishing companies that currently charge thousands of dollars for a mugshot to be taken down to remove a mugshot within a week of a request by someone who is not found guilty or whose charges are dismissed.
The NC House passed a bill that would change pretrial release rules for people charged with violent crimes. HB 813 would remove the power of magistrates to set bail for certain felonies, instead giving judges the responsibility to set pretrial release conditions. While the bill passed in a 92-25 bipartisan vote, some Democrats criticized it for its potential to deny the constitutional right to bail to many people.