The Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would remove all members from several state boards and commissions, including the Utilities Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Lottery Commission, Wildlife Resources Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, and Environmental Management Commission. The bill, which passed through the Senate with a 35-14 vote, would allow Governor McCrory and House and Senate leaders to fill these slots with appointees of their choice.
Other boards and commissions would be abolished with the passing of this bill, including the Charter School Advisory Committee, the Lottery Oversight Commission, the Turnpike Authority and the Board of Corrections. 12 Superior Court justices would also be eliminated in the bill, which led to Democratic legislators, along with some Republicans, questioning the constitutionality of lawmakers removing judges. Along with the issue of constitutionality, there is concern that the elimination of these justices could lead to an increasingly overbearing caseload on the remaining justices. The bill, which cleared the Senate in less than two days, is expected to slow down in the House due to these concerns. The Republicans plan is to replace these justices with judges elected in local districts.
Last Tuesday, the Senate passed bill Senate Bill 4, which would reject the Medicaid expansion and state health exchanges authorized under the Affordable Care Act. The Medicaid expansion would be paid for entirely by the federal government for the first three years, and the federal government would cover 90 percent of the costs after the first three years. The North Carolina Institute of Medicine estimated that the bill would save the state $65 million over 8 years. The bill would also block the state from creating a health exchange, which would allow people without health insurance to shop for a policy online. The House is expected to take up the proposed legislation this week.
The House and Senate budget writing subcommittees are set to meet this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to begin discussing this year’s budget. The subcommittees will hear specific information on areas such as Education, Environment and Natural Resources, and Transportation. The Senate, who will take the first stab at the budget this biennium, expects it to be completed by mid-June.
Good morning, and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday Feb. 11, WRAL’s roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.
By spring, six arbitrators who handle the claims of injured workers will likely be kicked to the curb, courtesy of a Republican-controlled General Assembly eager to put its stamp on every layer of government.
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