Pardon Our Dust
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North Carolina remains mired in a budget standoff within the state legislature. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) confirmed this week that the state budget will not pass before September 1. The impasse involves House and Senate Republicans this year, as both legislative chambers hold a supermajority, stalling raises for teachers and state employees, and prolonging the rollout of Medicaid Expansion.
While the impasse continues, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Kody Kinsley, again urged lawmakers to untie the implementation of Medicaid expansion from the passage of the state budget. In a news interview this week, Secretary Kinsley said he is concerned that if a budget is not adopted by the end of August, the Department will not be able to expand Medicaid until December or early 2024. Medicaid expansion will affect an estimated 300,000 people on day one, and another 300,000 as enrollment efforts ramp up, eventually covering about half the currently uninsured population in North Carolina.
As of today, both the House and Senate are scheduled to return to Raleigh next Wednesday. The sessions could involve veto overrides and conference reports on several pending bills, including HB 600: Regulatory Reform Act, which addresses permitting processes for agricultural and housing development projects, and SB 512: Greater Accountability for Boards and Commissions, which shifts power over state board appointments to the legislature and away from Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.
Starting December 1, drivers in North Carolina will experience an uptick in car insurance premiums due to a settlement between insurance companies and state regulators. Despite his general stance against rate increases, NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey (R) clarified in a press release the necessity of maintaining a stable insurance market. Commissioner Causey referenced a 2023 U.S. News and World Report study, ranking North Carolina with the sixth lowest average annual automobile insurance costs nationwide.
The forthcoming 4.5% rate increase this December, followed by another 4.5% hike the following December, is anticipated to result in a cumulative 9% increase over the next two years for the average driver. Motorcycle liability rates will rise by 2.3% on the same schedule.
Commissioner Causey highlighted that distracted driving has become the leading cause of accidents, attributing the rise in accidents and fatalities to factors like excessive speeding and driving under the influence. While Commissioner Causey acknowledged the state’s historic affordability in insurance rates, he emphasized that changing these trends is imperative to prevent further rate increases.
The North Carolina Rate Bureau, advocating for insurance companies, had initially proposed a more substantial overall statewide increase of 28.4% for private passenger auto rates and a 4.7% increase for motorcycle liability.
Upcoming Legislative Meetings
Monday, August 14
11:00 AM: Senate Session
3:30 PM: House Session