This week, House lawmakers unveiled parts of their budget and have revealed a number of differing priorities from the Senate’s budget. The entire spending plan will be released early next week, and House leadership is planning to bring the spending plan to the floor for a vote on Thursday and Friday.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that race was too heavily relied upon when determining boundaries of North Carolina’s Congressional districts in 2011. The ruling upholds a lower court decision from 2016.
In local news, the NBA awarded Charlotte the 2019 All Star Game. The NBA’s decision was contingent on the repeal of HB2.
State and Legislative Issues
Supreme Court Ruling
- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld a lower court ruling that North Carolina Congressional districts drawn in 2011 were racially gerrymandered.
- The lower court ruling in 2016 required lawmakers to redraw the Congressional boundaries.
- It is not clear how the Supreme Court decision will affect a separate case involving state legislative districts. The Court will decide whether or not to consider legislative district lines in a closed session.
- If the Court rules that legislative districts were drawn relying too heavily on race, North Carolina could be required to draw new legislative districts and to hold a special legislative election later this year.
Speaker Staff Loss
- House Speaker Tim Moore is mourning the death of an aide he describes as “like a brother to me.”
- Matt Hambidge, who worked as Moore’s special assistant and policy adviser, died unexpectedly Saturday at age 52.
- Before joining Moore’s legislative staff, Hambidge worked as a magistrate and police officer.
State Retirees Lawsuit
- A state Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of a class of retired state employees and teachers who sued over changes to their health benefits.
- Prior to 2011, state retirees could receive health benefits without paying a premium.
- Legislation passed that year required state retirees to pay a monthly premium for that coverage.
- The Superior Court judge ruled that the law enacted in 2011 impaired certain contractual rights of the state retirees.
- The State Treasurer has estimated that the judge’s ruling could have an immediate impact of over $100 million due to its requirement that the State Health Plan refund the amounts paid by retirees.
- If the ruling stands, it could eventually add billions of dollars to the state’s liability for retiree benefits. The ruling may be appealed.
Teacher Career Paths
- The Senate Education Committee passed a bill this week that will widen the pathways to becoming a teacher. SB 599, sponsored by Sen. Chad Barefoot, allows organizations outside of universities to offer education preparation programs.
- The bill creates the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission that will make recommendations regarding prep programs to the State Board of Education.
- The State Board is tasked with making standards the programs must meet and determining if they meet those standards.
Local Issues – Charlotte
NBA All-Star Game
- The NBA announced Wednesday that Charlotte will be awarded the 2019 All-Star Game.
- The NBA’s decision was contingent on the repeal of HB2.
- The event weekend will take place February 15-17, 2019 and will be the largest event for the city since the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
- Charlotte last hosted the All-Star Game in 1991.
- Raleigh News & Observer: NC House wants to keep some programs cut in Senate budget
- Raleigh News & Observer: BCBS wants 22.9% rate hike on ACA plans in 2018
- Associated Press: NC Jobless Rate Falls in April, 4.7 Percent Nears US Average
- Raleigh News & Observer: Former NC legislator, Fletcher Hartsell, gets probation in state’s campaign finance case
- Charlotte Business Journal: Charlotte drops to third-largest banking hub in U.S.
- Charlotte Observer: Charlotte airport wants full-service hotel where the control tower now stands
- Raleigh News & Observer: Renee Ellmers, who endorsed Trump early, lands a federal job
- WRAL: NC business leaders appeal to Tillis on immigration reform