On Thursday the NC House passed HB 96, which authorizes pharmacists to administer vaccines, with an added provision from the NC Senate that requires minors to have written parental permission before receiving a vaccine authorized under emergency use by the FDA. Although the HB 96 passed the Senate unanimously and the House with only 5 votes against it, one of those nay votes came from Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, who had previously sponsored the bill but objected to the added provision. Governor Cooper previously expressed hesitancy over signing a bill with a parental permission requirement and has said he would seek DHHS advice.
On Thursday the NC House Standing Committee on Redistricting and the NC Senate Standing Committee on Redistricting and Elections met jointly to establish procedures and rules for the 2021 redistricting process. With filing for the 2022 elections opening on December 6 and census data scheduled to be released August 12, the committees have a short window of time to complete the redrawing of district lines. Even before the census data is released, however, the committees intend to begin proposing and debating redistricting criteria this week. The committees appear to intend to continue following procedures designed to increase transparency in the redistricting process that stemmed from a 2019 court decision. Public comments on the redistricting process can be submitted through the newly-opened public portal.
The NC House’s proposed budget, parts of which were released on Thursday, includes several significant education policy changes. These include delaying the implementation of new social studies standards designed to be more inclusive of marginalized groups to at least the 2023-24 school year, requiring school districts to post teacher lesson plans and other instructional materials online, shifting the responsibility for curriculum updates from the State Board of Education to a politically appointed commission under Republican Superintendent of Instruction Catherine Truitt, and mandating the creation of “local community media advisory committees” by districts to evaluate challenges to instructional materials. The NC House is expected to debate its proposed budget in committee early this week and to vote on it on the House floor later this week.