This week, the House and Senate began budget negotiations, finding some early common ground. Legislative leaders aim to have an agreeable budget passed by June 30, the fiscal year end.
Also this week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling that the state’s legislative districts were gerrymandered based on race. Gov. Roy Cooper requested a special session to redraw the lines, but the General Assembly rebuffed the request on the grounds that it was beyond his constitutional authority.
State and Legislative Issues
- On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that race played too large a role in the drawing of North Carolina’s legislative district lines.
- Citing the court ruling, Gov. Cooper called for a 14-day special legislative session on Wednesday in an attempt to pressure legislators to draw new legislative boundaries.
- State lawmakers responded Thursday by calling Gov. Cooper’s request unconstitutional on the grounds that it does not meet the “extraordinary occasion” requirement for a special session and that the court order required the legislature to redraw maps in regular session.
- House and Senate budget negotiations began this week. Negotiators have agreed upon a $22.9 billion budget, representing a 2.5 percent increase in spending. Other areas of agreement include:
- Hurricane relief – $150 million
- Private school vouchers – $44.8 million
- Re-installing the Teaching Fellows program – $4.55 million
- The fiscal year ends June 30. If a spending bill is not approved by the end of the month, a continuing resolution will need to be passed to continue funding state government until a budget is in place.
- On Thursday, House lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that would relax concealed gun laws.
- The bill would allow for handguns to be concealed without needing a concealed-carry permit. It also would lower the age to carry a handgun from 21 to 18.
- The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
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