The North Carolina Republican Party submitted a written request to the NC State Board of Elections asking that county boards verify voter signatures on requests for absentee ballots and the ballots themselves. Voting rights advocates spoke against signature verification requirements, warning that such a practice would be an unnecessary administrative burden, rely on subjective judgment about signatures (which often change), and would likely disenfranchise eligible voters. The NCBOE is accepting public comment on this issue until July 5.
Economic and Housing Policy
A Republican-sponsored bill that would allow commercial builders to use a private-sector engineer or architect to approve construction plans when there is a delay in government permitting passed a committee in the NC Senate this week. HB 291 would eliminate some unpredictability in the construction market stemming from backlogs at local code enforcement offices by setting a 21-day limit on review of construction plans at local offices and allowing builders to receive approval from a private-sector architect or engineer. The NC League of Municipalities opposes the bill.
Health Care Policy
A bill to legalize medical marijuana stalled in the NC House this week after passing the NC Senate. Republican House Speaker Tim Moore opposes SB 711 and said that he will not bring it to a vote in the House during this legislative session. Supporters of cannabis legalization were disappointed by the bill’s stalling.
Education and LGBTQ Rights
A bill that has been called North Carolina’s version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill has stalled in the NC General Assembly. On Wednesday Republican NC House Speaker Tim Moore said that HB 755 does not have enough votes in the House to override an expected veto by Governor Cooper, so it will not be brought to the floor during this legislative session. While all Republicans in the NC House support the bill, three Democratic votes would be needed to override a veto. As reported by WRAL, Speaker Moore said, “We’re feeling very bullish about next year and about the super majority. [This is] the kind of issue that we can take up in next year’s session.”
An NC House bill that would give attorneys more opportunities to fight NC State Bar complaints against them passed its second reading on Thursday. HB 869, which has bipartisan sponsorship, would add a step to the existing process by which a committee reviews such complaints, allowing attorneys to appear before a new panel that would review the committee decision. The bill would also make certain state bar documents confidential, including documents related to requests for ethics advice.