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Neighbors on Call's Weekly Policy Update for 3/29/21



Voting Rights

Education Policy

Economic Policy

  • On Tuesday, Governor Cooper summarized the items he wants the state legislature to include in the 2021 budget, emphasizing teacher and state employee raises, Medicaid expansion, and infrastructure support. The NC legislature is responsible for writing a state budget in odd-number years, with minor adjustments made in even-number years. The state House and Senate take turns in proposing the budget, and this year the Senate will take the lead, with the process expected to begin soon. The Governor’s proposals received support from the North Carolina Association of Educators and the State Employees Association of NC, both of which cited his support for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Republicans were generally critical of the amount of spending in Cooper’s budget and continued to express a lack of support for Medicaid expansion.

  • SB 211, a bill to allow private water companies to request approval for rate increases in 3-year increments, received a favorable committee hearing and is likely to be voted on by the full NC Senate on Monday. Proponents say that under this plan companies will be able to plan capital improvements further ahead, saving them the costs of routinely going before the North Carolina Utilities Commission and potentially passing those savings along to consumers. A House version (HB 219) had bipartisan support and has already passed that chamber.

Environmental Policy

  • In his 2021-23 comprehensive budget proposal presented to the state legislature, Gov. Cooper included substantial increases in funding for the NC Dept. of Environmental Quality. This funding includes money to address flood mitigation and water infrastructure projects and to hire personnel needed to deal with the environmental consequences of climate change. It also provides money to deal with contaminants like PFAS and their impact on drinking water, help develop clean energy programs, and help local governments and schools transition to zero-emission school buses.

Health Care Policy

LGBTQ Rights

Criminal Justice

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