Oct 13, 2017
NCGA Week in Review
After wrapping up a third “special session” last week, legislators will
likely be back in town next week to consider Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of
SB 656: Electoral Freedom Act of 2017. Meanwhile, a number of oversight committees met this week and municipal
elections were held in 26 counties.
Former State Representative Tricia Cotham Joins McGuireWoods Consulting
former state Representative Tricia Cotham has joined the state government
relations practice as a vice president in the firm’s Charlotte office. Ms.
Cotham spent the past 10 years serving constituents in House District 100,
where she was a ranking member of the House Education and Healthcare
committees, and will assist clients with legislative and regulatory issues
at both the state and local level.
From the Governor’s Office
Gov. Cooper took action on both of the bills that were sent to his desk at
the conclusion of last week’s special session.
On Monday, Gov. Cooper vetoed
SB 656: Electoral Freedom Act of 2017, which proposes to ease ballot access requirements for third party
candidates and would eliminate judicial primaries in the 2018 election
cycle. Gov. Cooper’s concerns with the bill focus on the latter provision;
objection message, the Governor states that the bill “takes away the right of the people to
vote for the judges of their choices.” Legislators will likely return to
Raleigh next week to consider the Governor’s veto; SB 656 passed with veto
proof majorities in both chambers last week.
Gov. Cooper signed
SB 582: Budget & Agency Technical Corrections
on Sunday. The bill makes a number of agency requests and technical changes
to existing state laws, including:
Ordering the Attorney General’s Office not to delegate criminal appeal
duties to local district attorneys.
Correcting a provision in the budget which would have resulted in pay
cuts for long-serving principals.
Eliminates the sunset for the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund, which
was set to expire in July 2020.
Interim Committee Meetings
Capital Improvements Oversight
The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Capital Improvements met on
Wednesday to receive updates from the Office of State Budget and Management
(OSBM) and the UNC General Administration on projects being funded by the
Connect NC Bond. OSBM budget Analyst Mark Bondo presented an
of the $2 billion bond package, which is funding projects in the University
and Community College systems, state and local parks and the NC Zoo, the
Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services. Will Johnson, Associate VP for Finance and Capital
Planning from the UNC General Administration
an update on the 21 bond projects in the university system, which include
11 new STEM buildings, a western campus for the NC School of Science and
Math, two new business school buildings and seven targeted building
renovations. The average cost per square foot for all 21 projects is $398,
however, lawmakers questioned the variable costs between projects, and
called for more standardization in construction.
Emergency Management Oversight
On Thursday, the Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee
met to discuss the state’s ability to respond to manmade and natural
disasters. The committee discussed the state’s electricity grid and
received presentations from Duke Energy, NC Cooperatives and Electricities
on their efforts to protect the state’s grid. Additionally, Section Chief
of the Division of Public Health, Chronic Disease and Injury Section Dr.
the committee on the opioid crisis. Three North Carolinians die from an
opioid related overdose every day, however, Dr. Kansagra noted that that
statistical trends show that number will soon increase to four. Lastly,
Director of Emergency Management Michael Sprayberry
to the committee on the Division of Emergency Management’s State Emergency
Response Team’s disaster preparedness plans.
To view all documents from the committee’s meeting, click
Health and Human Services Oversight
The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services met
First, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen
provided remarks to the committee, in which she highlighted the 25%
increase in opioid related deaths in 2016 compared to the prior year.
Then, Deputy Secretary for Human Services Susan Perry-Manning, Assistant
Secretary for Human Services Sam Gibbs and Deputy Secretary for Technology
and Operations Michael Becketts of DHHS presented
on the implementation of three state laws designed to improve child welfare
in NC: Implementation of the Federal Program Improvement Plan, NC FAST
Child Welfare Case Management, and the Rylan’s Law/ Family-Child Protection
and Accountability Act.
Finally, Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance Dave Richard presented an
of the Department’s investigations into Cardinal Innovations Healthcare
Solutions, the largest LME/MCO in the state after an
in May reported extravagant spending at the executive level. In their
responding statement, Cardinal reported that there are “factual
inaccuracies” in the state’s reports and that the Board is working to
address the state’s concerns.
To view all documents from Tuesday’s meeting, click
Justice & Public Safety Oversight
Yesterday, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public
Safety met to discuss medical treatment in state prisons and county jails.
Deputy Secretary for Administration of Adult Correction and Juvenile
Justice Joe Prater
an overview of inmate health care, including reorganization strategies
implemented to meet what Prater called “the new day.” Prater emphasized
that the inmate population is aging, more chronically and mentally ill, and
has been effected by the opioid epidemic, all of which drives health care
costs up, while resources remain stagnant. Eddie Caldwell, Executive Vice
President of the NC Sheriff’s Association, and Steve Lewis, Construction
Section Chief, Health Service Regulation, DHHS,
health services in county jails, and noted how inmates are evaluated upon
intake for mental and physical health needs.
The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice
met on Tuesday to hear Medicaid
updates from Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance Dave Richard as well
as an update on the status of the state’s 1115 Waiver application, which
was submitted to the federal government in June 2016. Medicaid enrollment
has roughly tracked in line with forecasts and is 4% higher than last year
and Medicaid expenditures are 1.9% favorable to the authorized budget.
Along with Richard, DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen
managed care design, which Secretary Cohen’s administration released in
August. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not progressed
NC’s waiver application.
To view all committee documents, click
State Lottery Oversight
Yesterday, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on the NC State
Lottery met to review recent
to the NC State Lottery and to hear an
from the Alice Garland from the NC Education Lottery. The committee also
reviewed and accepted
to increase the allowable percentage of annual lottery revenues that may be
used for advertising from 1% to 2%. According to Garland, net proceeds from
the state lottery since inception in 2006 surpass $5.2 billion and earned
$622.5 million for education in the 2017 fiscal year. Additionally, Garland
updated the committee on the state’s implementation of Keno gaming systems,
which goes live on October 19 and is expected to increase lottery proceeds
by partnering with social establishments.
To review all committee documents, click
Municipal Election Results
Nonpartisan municipal elections were held across the state on Tuesday,
here’s a look at the results in mayoral races:
Mayoral incumbents dominated the ballot in most municipalities:
With 53.32% of the vote Burlington Mayor Ian Baltutis, warded off two
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer received 77.05% of the vote to defeat
New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw secured 63.57% of the vote against two
Mayor of Greensboro Nancy Vaughan secured 61.41% of the vote in a race
against two challengers.
Mayor of Erwin Patsy Carson ran unopposed, and secured 73.72% of the
vote, there were 36 write-ins, including 34 for a local man named Michael
Mayor of Mooresville Miles Atkins secured 74.08% of the vote in a
Mayor of Roxboro Merilyn Newell secured 74.91% of the vote against one
There will likely be runoff elections next month. Under
state law, runoff elections are required if no candidate receives a substantial
plurality, 41% of the vote, or a second primary can be demanded by the
trailing candidate within nine days of the election, unless the leading
candidate receives 50% or more of the vote:
In an open race for mayor of Hickory, Will Locke held a comfortable lead
against his opponents with 33.18% of the vote, as Lou Wetmore will seek a
of his second-place race with Hank Guess. Guess currently leads Wetmore by
23 votes. Locke and the official second-place finisher will head into a
runoff on November 7.
In a four-way open race in Fayetteville, Mitch Colvin, who secured 45.03%
of the vote, and current Mayor Nat Robertson, who finished with 31.6% of
the vote, may head into a November runoff if it is requested by Robertson.
In a seven-way open race in Durham, Steve Schewel secured 51.21% of the
vote and will head into a runoff election next month against Farad Ali, who
secured 29.13% of the vote, if it is requested by Ali.
In Statesville, incumbent Costi Kutteh secured 37.98% of the vote in a
five-way race and will face Michael Johnson, who followed with 34.14% of
In Raleigh, incumbent Nancy McFarlane secured 48.45% of the vote and will
face challenger Charles Francis, who followed with 36.67% of the vote.
Following Tuesday’s elections, Francis
that he is strongly considering asking for a runoff.
City council and town council seats were also on municipal ballots, as well
as a $206.7 million transportation bond in Raleigh, which passed with 72.1%
of the vote.
To view municipal elections results by county, click