Lawmakers voted mostly along party lines Tuesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget. The governor last week vetoed the bill understanding that Republican legislators would likely use their supermajorities to supersede the veto and pass the law anyway.
It has been a busy week as lawmakers work to move a number of bills through the legislative process before likely winding down the legislative session at the end of the month. A number of bills have moved through the process this week addressing issues including, opioid prevention, agriculture, alcohol sales and technical corrections to the budget, among others.
State and Legislative Issues
On Tuesday, the state budget package became law as Republican supermajorities in both chambers voted to override the governor’s veto. Gov. Cooper last week vetoed the proposed budget in a largely symbolic gesture. The Senate voted 34-13 to override the veto and the House followed with a 73-44 vote.
Legislators override Roy Cooper’s veto to pass their $23.9 billion budget (Raleigh News & Observer)
This week the General Assembly passed a budget technical corrections bill that makes modifications to the budget approved earlier this month. Highlights from Senate Bill 335 include funding for the state suicide prevention hotline, additional funding for Medicaid recipients needing eye glasses and an increase in Medicaid payments for in-home aide services provided under the Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults. The bill also included language creating the Legislative Commission on the Fair Treatment of College Student Athletes that will look at issues such as health insurance, injuries and profit-sharing.
The House approved Senate Bill 325 this week. The bill makes several changes with respect to early voting. First, the bill would shift the early voting period forward by one day, ending it on the Friday rather than the Saturday before the election. Second, the bill would require all early voting sites within a county to be open uniformly, with all early voting sites open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and uniform hours for all weekend sites. Currently, counties have more flexibility with respect to the hours of operation of individual sites. Critics have charged that this requirement could lead counties to offer fewer early voting sites due to concerns about their ability to fully staff the sites during the required time period. Finally, the bill would require annual reporting from the counties to the state on voter list maintenance efforts. The bill will go back to the Senate for consideration today.
Atrium Expansion Effort
Atrium Health, North Carolina’s largest hospital system, sought a change to state hospital authority statutes this week that would allow them to expand outside of their territorial boundary. Because Atrium is organized as an Authority, which is a quasi-governmental entity, they are required to cooperate with existing hospitals operating in an area where they seek to expand. Other hospital systems generally oppose removing this jurisdictional requirement for hospital authorities. After two committee hearings this week, Atrium’s effort appears to have been scuttled for the year.
Atrium wants to expand across NC. What that could mean for health care in Charlotte (Charlotte Observer)
Local Issues – Charlotte
For the first time in five years, the Charlotte City Council voted to approve a property tax hike of one cent. The vote passed along party lines (9-2), with both Republicans voting against the measure. Although the Republicans Tariq Bokhari and Ed Driggs praised aspects of the budget, they cited the tax increase as reasoning for dissenting votes. The budget will provide for increasing police pay, building new sidewalks, creating more affordable housing, and funding new projects, such as the city’s bicycle program, among other things.
Charlotte City Council passes budget with tax increase. Here’s what it will pay for. (Charlotte Observer)
Mecklenburg Budget Straw Vote
Mecklenburg County commissioners took a straw vote that indicated likely approval of a three quarters of a penny tax increase. This increase would go towards funding universal Pre-K, in addition to $6.8 million of lapse salary to fund local teachers. The final vote on the budget will take place on June 19.
County Commissioners endorse tax hike, fund teacher supplement (Spectrum News)
- North Carolina lawmakers advance bills as session’s days dwindle (Associated Press)
- Eyeing exit, House lawmakers OK long agenda (WRAL)
- Republicans consider asking voters to limit Roy Cooper’s power (Raleigh News & Observer)
- State Senate Passes Bill To Double Funds For I-77 Toll Buyout, But House Fails To Concur (WFAE)
- Police access to prescription database approved in the NC legislature (Raleigh News & Observer)
- Bill Blocking Future Hog Farm Nuisance Suits Finalized (Associated Press)