On Monday Governor Cooper vetoed a bill that would have limited the governor’s emergency powers. The bill was the latest effort by Republicans to curtail the governor’s ability to issue emergency orders, and Cooper vetoed it hours before it would have become law without his signature. Republicans in the General Assembly have been critical of Cooper’s emergency actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and have repeatedly pushed for similar legislation.
On Thursday the NC House and Senate approved new maps for North Carolina’s state legislative and congressional districts, all of which heavily favor Republicans. In the new congressional map, Republicans would be expected to win 10 out of the 14 districts, and an additional district would be highly competitive between the parties. The new NC House map, which likewise creates more safe Republican districts, could enable Republicans to retake a supermajority in the House. Voters and advocacy groups had already sued over the failure to consider racial data in the creation of the new maps, and an additional legal challenge based on the partisan nature of the congressional map was brought Friday in state court by the same group of voters who had previously successfully sued over the state’s partisan gerrymander in 2019.
On Thursday the NC House Commerce committee approved a bill that would legalize sports gambling in North Carolina. SB 688, which would allow sports gambling among people 21 years of age and over and license and tax sports gambling vendors, passed the NC Senate three months ago, but it is unclear whether the bill has enough support in the House to pass.
This week a group of Republican state legislators sent a letter to UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz objecting to a diversity, equity, and inclusion training program recently held by UNC’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. The letter described the contents of the training as “indoctrination” and asked a series of questions about the program’s cost and about the chancellor’s intentions and beliefs regarding this and similar trainings. The letter falls into a pattern of increased conservative opposition across the country to the way race is taught in schools and universities, framing all grievances regarding educational curricula and diversity training under the umbrella of “critical race theory.”