Pardon Our Dust
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When the NC General Assembly adjourned the 2017 long session, they did sowith the intention of returning to the capital twice this year to wrap upsome unfinished business. Legislators are slated to return to Raleigh intwo weeks, on August 3, and then again on September 6. Additionally, thisweek the Governor took action on 40 bills and made a public announcementopposing offshore drilling and seismic testing off of the state’s coast,and a lawsuit between legislative leaders and the Governor on Medicaidexpansion has been dropped.
New Laws & A Veto
This week the Governor took action on 40 bills, signing 39 and vetoing one.48 bills remain on Gov. Cooper’s desk. With the 30-day mark, where theGovernor must either take action on legislation on his desk or allow it togo into effect without his signature, coming up at the end of this month, aflurry of action is likely.
Signed Into Law:
On Tuesday, the Governor vetoedHB 205: WC for Inmates/ UI & WC/ Newsprint Employees. When HB 205 left the House, the bill only contained provisions to requirethe average weekly wage of inmates employed under the Prison IndustryEnhancement Program be calculated in accordance with the NC Workers’Compensation Act. While in the Senate, provisions were added to the billto:
- Classify newsprint carriers, who have been classified as independent contractors in the state of NC since 2003, as employees of the newspaper they are employed by.
- Modernize publication of legal advertisements and notices to require newspapers to legal advertisements on their websites at no additional cost.
- Allow Guilford County and any municipality within the county to use electronic means to provide public notice instead of publication.
- Allow Guilford County to opt to post legal advertisements and notices on the county website for a fee, with money collected to be used for local supplements for teachers and other county needs.
In hisveto message, the Governor noted that he supports the original content of thelegislation, but opposes the bill because it “enacts retribution on themedia.” The bill has been returned to the legislature and is eligible forconsideration in both the August and September sessions.
Gov. Cooper Takes Stance on Offshore Drilling & Seismic Testing
At a press conference on Thursday morning, Gov. Cooper said he will opposeseismic testing and offshore drilling off the coast of NC, and that theDepartment of Environmental Quality will submit detailed comments to thefederal government today. North Carolina is on the list of potentialoff-shore drilling locations after President Donald Trump signed anexecutive order to expand off-shore drilling in April. In hisstatement, Gov. Cooper said that the risks do not outweigh the benefits of offshoredrilling and seismic testing, and that is the duty of North Carolinians toprotect the coast.
Legislators Drop Lawsuit Challenging Medicaid Expansion Attempt
In early January, prior to the transition between the Obama and Trumpadministrations, Gov. Cooper announced that he planned to take immediateexecutive action to expand Medicaid, in defiance of a state law that givesthe legislature sole power to do so. A lawsuit between GOP leadership andthe Governor followed, but was dropped this week because Gov. Cooper neversubmitted formal paperwork for expansion and the suit is now unnecessary.NC is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid.
What to Expect in August & September at the NCGA
PerSJR 686: Adjournment Resolution, the NC General Assembly is slated to return to Raleigh twice in thecoming months, reconvening first on August 3, and then again on September6.
In August, the legislature is authorized to consider vetoes issued by theGovernor, nominations and appointments, bills responding to litigationconcerning state congressional, legislative, judicial, municipal and countymaps, bills that were returned to their originating chamber by June 28 forconcurrence, bills providing for impeachment and revenue related bills thathave either passed a second floor vote in the receiving chamber but havenot been taken up for a third reading or have passed a second, but notthird, reading for concurrence, which means that the following bills can betaken up.
Returned for Concurrence:
Passed 2nd Reading in Receiving Chamber:
Related to Impeachment:
In addition to the above legislation, in September, the legislature mayalso consider bills proposing an amendment to the NC Constitution andmaking statutory changes to implement those constitutional amendments,meaning the following bills are eligible.
Moreover, the SJR 686 requires the legislature to redraw the state’slegislative maps, in which 28 districts have been ruled unconstitutionalracial gerrymanders, no later than November 15. There will be some claritytowards this process next week as the Joint Select Committee onRedistricting meets on Wednesday and a three-judge federal panel will heararguments the following day on when maps should be withdrawn and if aspecial election should be held prior to November 2018.