Aug 25, 2017

NCGA Week in Review

The legislature has been in town this week to take on legislative redistricting and consider several vetoes from Governor Roy Cooper. This week, members heard public comment from individuals across the state and considered the new maps in committees, and the Senate voted to approve the proposed Senate maps on Friday, the House is expected to vote on the proposed House maps next Monday. Additionally, two of Gov. Cooper’s vetoes were overridden by the House and have been sent to the Senate for consideration.

Redistricting Moves Forward

Over the weekend House and Senate lawmakers released their proposed maps for new legislative districts in preparation to approve the maps in time for the September 1 court ordered redistricting deadline. During the week, political data was released by the legislature and members of the House and Senate Redistricting Committees heard comments from North Carolinians across the state.

The Senate Committee on Redistricting reviewed SB 691: 2017 Senate Redistricting Comm Plan and the proposed Senate map on Thursday. During their meeting, five amendments were considered and two were adopted. The bill passed on the Senate floor by a 27-16 vote and will be considered by the Senate again on Monday before heading to the House. Redistricting bills are not subject to the Governor’s signature.

Today the House Committee on Redistricting heard HB 927: 2017 House Districts and the proposed House map. Four amendments were considered by the committee and two were adopted. The bill now heads to the House floor and is scheduled to be heard on Monday. After the bill clears the House, it must also be heard by the Senate.

Incumbency Protection:

Sixteen incumbents have been double bunked under the proposed map, which means that two incumbents will have to run against one another unless one drops out or moves to another district. There are also a total of eight open districts under the proposed maps, which could provide opportunities for political newcomers.

In the Senate:

  • Democrat Erica Smith-Ingram and Republican Bill Cook both fall in proposed District 3, which leans Democratic and includes Tyrell, Washington, Carteret, Craven and Pamlico counties.
  • Republicans John Alexander and Chad Barefoot live in proposed District 18, which encompasses Franklin County and portions of Wake County. Over the weekend, Sen. Barefoot announced that he will not seek reelection in 2018.
  • Republicans Deanna Ballard and Shirley Randleman are double bunked in District 45, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Surry, Watauga, and Wilkes counties.
  • Joyce Krawiec and newly-appointed Dan Barrett are double bunked in a district that spans across Davie and portions of Forsyth County, District 31.
  • This also means that there are four open districts in the Senate:
    • District 1, which includes a number of counties in the Outer Banks - Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrell and Washington, and leans Republican.
    • District 33, which includes Rowan and Stanly County and favors Republican candidates.
    • District 34, a district composed of Iredell and Yadkin counties, favors Republican candidates.
    • District 16 in Wake County, which favors Democratic candidates.

Follow this link to view all incumbency data and other statistics used to draw the Senate proposals.

On the House side:

  • Republican Susan Martin is double bunked with Democrat Jean Farmer-Butterfield in Democratic leaning District 24 in Wilson County.
  • Republican John Sauls is double bunked with Democrat Robert Reives in District 51, which includes Harnett and Lee Counties. Rep. Reives informed the House that he will be moving to District 54, which includes Chatham and portions of Durham County, today.
  • Republicans John Faircloth and Jon Hardister both live in the proposed District 61 in Guilford County.
  • Republicans Larry Pittman and Carl Ford are double bunked in District 83, which includes Cabarrus and Rowan Counties.
  • There are three open House districts:
    • District 8, in Pitt County, which favors Democratic candidates.
    • District 54, which includes Chatham and portions of Durham County, and leans in favor of Democrats.
    • District 59, in Guilford County, which favors Republican candidates.
    • District 79, which includes Beaufort and Craven Counties, and leans in favor of Republicans.

Follow this link to view all incumbency data and other statistics used to draw the House proposals.

Partisan Balance:

Based on past political data, the House and Senate proposals favor the GOP – President Trump would have won 33 of the 50 proposed Senate districts and 76 of the proposed 120 House districts, and nine other races from 2010-2016 were considering in the drawing of the districts. Additionally, many districts will likely be uncompetitive – 19 of the 120 House districts and 10 of the 50 Senate districts are considered competitive.

Consideration of Racial Data:

Race was not used as a factor in drawing either the House or Senate maps. When this criteria was adopted, several Democrats questioned how the maps would satisfy the Voting Rights Act, which is intended to ensure that minority voters are able to elect the candidate of their choice, without considering race when drawing the new maps.

Vetoes Reconsidered

Two bills that were vetoed by Gov. Cooper were reconsidered on the House floor on Thursday afternoon. The Senate has scheduled to vote on these bills next Tuesday.

HB 140: Dental Plans Provider Contracts/ Transparency removes an exemption for stand-alone dental insurance plans, which now requires them to disclose to medical providers the insurer’s fee schedules for the 20 most commonly billed procedures, and holds dental insurance plans to other transparency requirements. Additionally, a provision which the Governor objected to, expands the ability for lenders to require credit property insurance on a loan, which protects the creditor if the borrower cannot pay. The bill allows creditors to require this insurance on items such as ATVs and jet skis. The motion to override the Governor’s veto passed by a vote of 72-43 and the bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

HB 770: Various Clarifying Changes makes a number of changes to state law including:

  • Makes clarifying changes to ensure compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act.
  • Allows the Department of Health and Human Services to retain up to 10% of the funds appropriated to the Health Food Small Retailer Program for administrative costs associated with the program.
  • Clarifies single-stream funding for LME/MCOs.

Gov. Cooper vetoed HB 770 due to two provisions: one that would allow a specific state employee to serve in a paid commission role while taking vacation pay from a state job, and a provision that reduces the number of gubernatorial appointments to the Medical Board by transferring two of the appointments to the General Assembly. The House voted 71-44 to override the veto and the bill has been sent to the Senate.