Apr 13, 2017
NCGA Week in Review
Although the legislature adjourned for its spring break on Tuesday, it did
not slow down the pace of action. 194 bills were filed in the House this
week. The House bill filing deadline for non-finance bills was on Tuesday.
The Senate’s bill filing deadline was last week. Also, a group of House
Republicans filed a bill to increase Medicaid coverage, the Senate
confirmed three more agency secretaries, and the House and Senate conferred
on legislation to gradually reduce the Court of Appeals. The legislature
returns from its spring break on Wednesday, April 19th.
Governor’s Agency Confirmations
Three of Governor Cooper’s cabinet nominees were unanimously confirmed by
the Senate this week to lead their respective state agencies:
Michael Regan, Department of Environmental Quality
Tony Copeland, Department of Commerce
- Susi Hamilton, Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Governor Cooper also released his last two cabinet nominees to lead their
respective state agencies:
Ron Penny, Department of Revenue
Eric Boyette, Department of Information Technology
Eight of the ten cabinet secretaries have been confirmed under the new
confirmation process established by the Senate. Governor Cooper challenged
the constitutionality of the confirmation process, which was implemented by
the legislature in a special session in December. A three-judge panel ruled
against Cooper in late March, which allowed the confirmation process to
Athletics Conference Boycott Bill Filed
A group of House Republicans filed legislation on Monday that would
withdraw UNC System schools from intercollegiate athletic conferences if
the conference boycotts the State of North Carolina.
HB 728: UNC Institutions/Conference Boycotts, sponsored by Reps. Bert Jones (R-Rockingham), Chris Millis (R-Pender),
Mark Brody (R-Union), and Jeff Collins (R-Nash), would also prohibit the
universities from rewarding media contracts to the boycotting conference.
The legislation is in response to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s boycott
of North Carolina after the enactment of House Bill 2.
Competing Economic Development Proposals
House and Senate leaders proposed competing legislation to modify economic
development incentives programs.
HB 795: Economic Development Incentives Modifications was sponsored by Reps. Susan Martin (R-Wilson), John Szoka (R-Cumberland),
Stephen Ross (R-Alamance), and John Fraley (R-Iredell).
SB 660: Economic Development Incentives Modifications was sponsored by Sens. Harry Brown (R-Onslow), Danny Earl Britt
(R-Robeson), and Michael Lee (R-New Hanover). Although there are many
similarities, both proposals make various changes to the state’s economic
development tier system and one of its grant program, JDIG. Both are
central to the debate between urban and rural economic success in North
Review the differences and similarities between the proposals
Governor’s Veto Stamp Expected to Return
Governor Cooper is expected to veto two bills that were sent to his desk
The House and Senate concurred on legislation that would merge the State
Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission. The General Assembly
passed similar legislation in December, which was struck down by a
three-judge panel in March. Legislative leaders say this bill would address
the concerns of the judges in the previous court case.
SB 68: Bipartisan Bd of Elections and Ethics Enforce would create an eight member board, four members from each party. The
Governor would appoint members from a lists of nominees from both major
parties. Republicans would chair the committee in presidential election
years, and Democrats would chair in mid-term elections. The bill also would
lower the vote threshold to five, and would enforce state lobbying laws,
which is currently under the authority of the Secretary of State.
The legislature approved
HB 239: Reduce Court of Appeals to 12 Judges this week. Sponsored by Reps. Justin Burr (R-Stanly), David Lewis
(R-Harnett), and Sarah Stevens (R-Surry), the bill would gradually reduce
the Court of Appeals from 15 to 12 judges through retirements or
resignations. It would also facilitate certain cases to bypass the Court of
Appeals, and be sent directly to the Supreme Court. Proponents argue this
is an effort to save the taxpayers money because the Court of Appeals has
had a lighter workload in recent years. Opponents say this is an attempt to
prohibit Governor Cooper from appointing judges to the court. Governor
Cooper said he will veto the bill.
Last Thursday, four Republicans filed
HB 662: Carolina Cares, which would provide health care coverage to North Carolina adults between
the ages of 19 and 64 not currently eligible under the Medicaid program
eligibility criteria, and not entitled to enroll in Medicare Parts A or B.
Participants must also have a modified adjusted gross income does not
exceed 133% of the federal poverty level.
Under the proposed Carolina Cares program, which is based off of the
Medicaid expansion program in Indiana, qualifying adults would pay monthly
premiums equal to 2% of their household income with some exceptions.
Participants would also have to be working or seeking employment in order
to be eligible. Exemptions are included for adults caring for a dependent
minor or a disabled adult child or parent, persons in active treatment for
substance abuse, or individuals determined to be medically frail. The
Department of Health & Human Services would be required to establish
preventative care and wellness activities for the program, including
physicals, screenings for mammograms and colonoscopies, and weight
Of the bill's four primary sponsors, Reps. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth), Greg
Murphy (R-Pitt), Josh Dobson (R-McDowell) and Donna White (R-Johnston),
three are House Health Committee chairs (Lambeth, Murphy, Dobson). Earlier
this week, Speaker of the House Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) stated that he is
open to considering their proposal.