This week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to accelerate the delivery of a decision regarding the state’s gerrymandered legislative districts. A three-judge panel dismissed Gov. Roy Cooper’s request to put a hold on changes to the election and ethics boards until his appeal hearing takes place.
In legislative news, state lawmakers this week introduced a regulatory reform bill and approved a number of other measures affecting child welfare, rural economic development incentives, and legal notice requirements.
State and Legislative Issues
U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
- The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday declined to immediately deliver rulings to a lower federal court in the case of 28 gerrymandered legislative districts in North Carolina. The Court will formally deliver the decision at the end of June. Plaintiffs in the case had asked the Court to accelerate the delivery of the judgment.
- The Court’s decision regarding the timing of the delivery of its ruling to the lower federal court is important because it could affect the remedy ordered by the lower court.
- The lower federal court initially ordered the General Assembly to redraw district maps and to hold new elections in affected districts in 2017, one year ahead of schedule.
- The Supreme Court remanded the case to the lower federal court for more analysis of the remedy.
- At this point, any delay in the process of considering a remedy makes it less likely that the lower court would order special elections to be held in 2017, as that date becomes less feasible.
- The House on Wednesday rolled out its regulatory reform bill, which aims to amend or eliminate certain state regulations. The omnibus bill addresses a wide array of issues.
- The bill was approved by the House on Thursday and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Rural Economic Development
- The House Committee on Commerce approved legislation on Thursday that aims to make business expansion more appealing in rural areas of the state.
- The bill would eliminate the $20 million cap on the state Jobs Development Investment Grant funds for Tier I and II Counties, making it more enticing for companies to consider rural development. It would also lower JDIG fees for those poorer counties.
- JDIG rules would remain unchanged for businesses looking to move or expand in urban centers.
- The bill has two more committee stops before it makes it to the House floor.
Ethics and Elections Oversight
- A three-judge panel dismissed Gov. Cooper’s request to prevent the change in the elections and ethics board selection process until a ruling was made in his appeals case.
- The panel earlier ruled in favor of the legislature as Gov. Cooper challenged the constitutionality of a law combining the two boards into one.
Government Legal Notices
- The House Rules Committee approved a bill Thursday that would change requirements for government legal notices to be published in the newspaper.
- The committee scaled back a Senate bill that would have allowed local governments to post legal notices on their websites instead of in newspapers. It would also allow municipalities to charge outside attorneys to post legal notices on the government website, with proceeds supplementing teacher pay.
- The House’s version would create a pilot program in four urban counties mimicking the Senate’s plan. It would also set criteria for newspapers to qualify to publish notices.
Child Welfare Reform
- A bill that makes significant changes to the state’s child welfare and foster care system passed both chambers this week and is on its way to the Governor’s desk.
- “Ryan’s Law” would require child welfare caseworkers to take additional precautionary measures before returning a child to their home.
- The bill would also reform the child welfare system to encourage a regional approach aimed at preventing children from falling through the cracks in the social services system.
Mental Health Overhaul
- A bill passed earlier this year by the House aimed at reining in the compensation of mental health and managed care executives was rewritten in the Senate this week.
- The amended bill would remove a number of the restrictions on executive pay and would remove the state’s LME-MCO’s over the next few years as Medicaid reforms are rolled out.
Local Issues – Charlotte
Charlotte Administrator Departure
- Charlotte Assistant City Manager Ann Wall will leave the city to become the city manager of Greenville, N.C.
- Wall will begin her new role August 1. She has worked for the City of Charlotte since 2013.
- Raleigh News & Observer: How long should one person lead the NC House or Senate?
- Raleigh News & Observer: Should craft breweries be able to serve beer in dry counties?
- Triangle Business Journal: CSX unveils new details about massive North Carolina terminal project
- Charlotte Observer: For first time, secret money set to flow into Charlotte mayor’s race – with no limits