NCGA Week in Review

December 20, 2019

Pardon Our Dust

We recently launched this new site and are still in the process of updating some of our archived content. Some details of this article may be incomplete, links may be broken, and other elements may not display properly yet. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

As the holiday season quickly approaches, members of the North Carolina General Assembly face the fact that session is just around corner. Lawmakers will make their way back to Raleigh shortly after the start of the New Year to take up some of the issues left unresolved from this year’s long session. While it is not clear how long members will remain in session when they reconvene on Tuesday, January 14, many have expressed their desire to get in and get out before the short session starts in the spring. 

From the entire McGuireWoods Consulting team, we want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! We cannot wait for all 2020 has in store. Week in Review will resume in January. Happy Holidays! 

Candidate Filing

The list of candidates running for elected public office in North Carolina will be official today as candidate filing for the state’s March 3, 2020 primaries will close today, Friday, December 20, at noon. While the majority of candidates running for office filed earlier in the month, three current members of the General Assembly announced a change of plans — Rep. Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus), Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes (R-Nash) and Sen. Jim Davis (R-Macon). 

Rep. Linda Johnson announced Thursday that she would not be seeking reelection to her state House seat after 19 years in the legislature. Rep. Johnson is a senior chair of the House Appropriations committee and has been an influential member on education policy throughout her tenure. 

Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes announced earlier this week that she would not be seeking reelection to her state House seat but would instead be filing her candidacy for the state Senate’s District 11 seat. Senate District 11 is currently represented by Sen. Rick Horner (R-Nash) who will be retiring from the legislature at the end of this session. 

Sen. Jim Davis announced earlier this session that he would be retiring at the end of this legislative session after serving 10 years in the state Senate. But after the unexpected announcement of U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows to not seek reelection to the House of Representatives in 2020, Sen. Davis announced a change in his retirement plans. On Thursday, Sen. Davis filed his candidacy for the U.S. House District 11 seat. Sen. Davis joins a list of two other Republican candidates, four Democrats, one Libertarian, and one Green party candidate vying for the seat. 

As the filing period comes to a close, 15 current members of the state House and nine members of the state Senate have filed their candidacy for a different office or have announced they will be retiring their seat.

In the House, these members include:

  • Rep. Chaz Beasley (D-Mecklenburg)
  • Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes (R-Nash)
  • Rep. MaryAnn Black (D-Durham)
  • Rep. Debra Conrad (R-Forsyth)
  • Rep. Kevin Corbin (R-Macon)
  • Rep. Josh Dobson (R-McDowell)
  • Rep. John Fraley (R-Iredell)
  • Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover)
  • Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley (D-Wake)
  • Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union)
  • Rep. Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus)
  • Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson)
  • Rep. Derwin Montgomery (D-Forsyth)
  • Rep. Michele Presnell (R-Yancey)
  • Rep. Michael Speciale (R-Craven)

Over in the Senate, members include:

  • Sen. John Alexander (R-Wake)
  • Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow)
  • Sen. Jim Davis (R-Graham)
  • Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance)
  • Sen. Rick Horner (R-Nash)
  • Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham)
  • Sen. Erica Smith (D-Beaufort)
  • Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe)
  • Sen. Andy Wells (R-Catawba)

In addition to the General Assembly seats, the State Superintendent, Lieutenant Governor, and other Council of State races will close out their candidate filing period this week as well. Many names and faces familiar to North Carolina politics are seeking election to these offices in 2020. 

The announcement of current Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest’s (R) candidacy for Governor has generated a crowded field of candidates wishing to take over the Lieutenant’s seat, including:

  • Bill Toole (D)
  • Current state Senator Terry Van Duyn (D)
  • Current state Representative Yvonne Lewis Holley (D)
  • Current state Representative Chaz Beasley (D)
  • Allen Thomas (D)
  • Ron Newton (D)
  • Mark Robinson (R)
  • Deborah Cochran (R)
  • Current state Senator Andy Wells (R)
  • Greg Gebhardt (R)
  • Renee Ellmers (R)
  • Scott Stone (R)
  • Buddy Bengel (R)
  • John Ritter (R)
  • Current state Superintendent Mark Johnson (R)

Since the announcement of current Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson’s intention to run for Lieutenant Governor earlier this year, the race has captured a lot of attention. Candidates in the race to fill the seat include:

  • James Barrett (D)
  • Constance Lav Johnson (D)
  • Jen Mangrum (D)
  • Michael Maher (D)
  • Keith A. Sutton (D)
  • Current state Representative Craig Horn (R)
  • Catherine Truitt (R)

In the race for Governor, current state Representative Holly Grange (R) will face current Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest (R) in the March primaries before one of them goes up against current Governor Roy Cooper (D) in the general election. 

Candidates to be North Carolina’s Attorney General include current Attorney General Josh Stein (D), Jim O’Neill (R), and Sam Hayes (R). In the race for State Auditor, Beth Wood (D), Tony Wayne Street (R), and Tim Hoegemeyer (R) have filed their candidacy. Current State Treasurer Dale Folwell (R) has filed for reelection along with Matt Leatherman (D), Ronnie Chatterji (D), and Dimple Ajmera (D). The Secretary of State race includes Elaine Marshall (D), Chad Brown (R), E.C. Sykes (R), and Michael LaPaglia (R).

Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler (R) is seeking reelection and is joined by Donovan Alexander Watson (D), Jenna Wadsworth (D), and Walter Smith (D). Commissioner of Labor candidates include Jessica Holmes (D), Pearl Burris Floyd (R), Josh Dobson (R), and Chuck Stanley (R). Mike Causey (R), Ronald Pierce (R), and Wayne Goodwin (D) are the candidates for Insurance Commissioner.

For a complete list of candidates who have filed for office in 2020, visit the North Carolina State Board of Elections website, or click here

January Session

Over the last few weeks, members of the General Assembly have been able to spend some time back in their districts, fundraise for the primaries coming up in March, and enjoy the holidays back home. But members’ time away from Raleigh will soon come to an end as both the House and the Senate gear up to reconvene session once again on Tuesday, January 14 at 12:00 noon. During the January session, lawmakers will be limited in what they are able to consider. SJR 694: Adjourn 2019 Regular Session to November lays out what may be up for consideration, including bills that have been vetoed by the Governor, appointments, confirmations of gubernatorial nominations, new district maps in response to litigation, the adoption of conference reports for bills already in conference committee, the funding and oversight of the Department of Transportation, bills addressing access to health care, appropriations modifications, and a joint adjournment resolution. 

All eyes will be on the Senate when the General Assembly reconvenes as they have the ability to hold a vote to override the Governor’s veto of the budget bill, HB 966: 2019 Appropriations Act. The budget has been held up in a stalemate between Republicans in the legislature and the Governor and legislative Democrats for the past six months. The Senate did not take the opportunity to hold a vote to override the veto during the November session. While it is still unclear whether or not the Senate will call for the vote to override, Senate Republicans need just one Democrat vote to make it happen.

In addition to the budget bill, lawmakers have the ability to hold a vote to override the Governor’s veto on 13 of the 14 bills that have been vetoed so far this session, including:

There are eight bills currently in conference committee which have the potential to be up for consideration, though the substantive language of the bills may be completely different coming out of conference committee than it was going in. The bills in their current form include:

  • HB 633: Strengthen Criminal Gang Laws, would increase the penalty of the use of a firearm when a felony is committed, create a Class F felony for firearm possession during criminal gang activity, and create a new evidentiary rule allowing evidence of the commission of criminal gang activity and other crimes to be admissible during trial. 
  • SB 212: NC FAST/Early Child/Transformation/ACH Assess, would require the Division of Social Services (DSS), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to postpone the roll out of the case-management systems for NC FAST programs. The bill would also require the Division of Child Development and Early Education to establish competency standards and amends the requirements of the initial resident assessment conducted by adult care homes. 
  • SB 217: Change Superior Ct & District Ct Numbers, would realign superior court and district court districts with prosecutorial districts.
  • SB 315: North Carolina Farm Act of 2019, would establish the North Carolina Hemp Commission under the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to expire July 1, 2021, would ban smokable hemp beginning June 20, 2020, require a smokable hemp study committee, give left-turning farm equipment the right-of-way, expand outdoor advertising for bona fide farm proprieties by increasing the size of signs allowed and the area where the sign could be placed, add hunting, fishing, shooting sports and equestrian activities to the definition of agritourism, and would provide clarifying language to the Environmental Management Commission for permitting certain swine farm modifications.
  • SB 361: Healthy NC, would enact the Psychology Interjurisdictional Licensure Compact (PSYPACT), would allow marriage and family therapists to conduct involuntary commitment first-level exams, eliminate redundancy in adult care home inspections, establishes the Lupus Advisory Committee, modify step therapy protocols, authorize equal insurance coverage for oral chemotherapy drugs, require health insurance providers to cover and promote access to telehealth services, and create a task force to develop solutions on the programs facing North Carolinian’s access to healthcare.
  • SB 432: Birth Center & Pharm Benefits Mgr. Licensure, would establish licensing requirements for birth centers and create the NC Birth Center Commission. The bill would also require pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) to be licensed, establish rules for claim overpayments and PBM networks, and would increase the Commissioner’s ability to take enforcement action against PBMs. 
  • SB 476: Compt-Based Assess. & Mental Hlth/Teen Viol., would direct the State Board of Education to recommend how to transition to a competency-based assessment and teaching model. The bill would also require public school units to adopt and implement a suicide risk referral protocol, a mental health training program, and a policy against teen dating and violence. 
  • SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct., would establish a revolving loan fund to provide low-interest loans for rural hospitals in financial crisis. The loan would be approved by the Local Government Commission (LGC) and administered by UNC Health Care. The bill would also allow counties to levy an additional quarter-cent local sales tax for a purpose identified through the ballot question and would expand the counties eligible for Utility Account grants to the 87 most distressed counties under the tier system.