This week, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the Republican-authored budget bill. Republicans with supermajorities in both chambers have begun the override process. The Senate voted Thursday to override the veto, and the House is expected to take up the vote next week.
A measure allowing towns in Mecklenburg County to apply to open charter schools became law this week. Also, transportation bond legislation is making its way through the House after having been approved by the Senate, and House Republicans have introduced a bill to amend the state constitution and would require photo identification to vote.
State and Legislative Issues
On Wednesday, Gov. Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 99, Appropriations Act of 2018. In his veto message, the governor cited his belief that the budget favors the interests of corporations and wealthy individuals over the needs of students and teachers. Gov. Cooper also criticized the process by which the bill advanced through the legislature. On Thursday, the Senate voted to override the governor’s veto. The House of Representatives is expected to follow suit next Tuesday. Legislative leaders have criticized the governor for “trying to score political points rather than helping North Carolinians.”
Roy Cooper vetoes state budget (Raleigh News & Observer)
Republicans begin to override Gov. Cooper’s budget veto (Associated Press)
On Thursday, Republican House leaders introduced a bill to amend the North Carolina Constitution to require voters to present photo identification when voting. A statutory requirement to present photo identification when voting was struck down by federal courts two years ago due to concerns about the specific types of identification required. The constitutional amendment does not address the specific types of photo identification that would be acceptable. Polls have shown strong support for voter identification requirements among both Democrats and Republicans. However, the proposal has become the latest front in a tense political climate. An activist group, the Color of Change, claims to have already run ads in newspapers in San Jose, California and Seattle, Washington urging Apple and Amazon to drop the Triangle from consideration for major business expansions in response to the proposal.
Voter ID decision could go on the 2018 ballot (Raleigh News & Observer)
Apple and Amazon told to stay away from NC because of ‘racist voter ID’ bill (Raleigh News & Observer)
On Wednesday, the House approved House Bill 514, Permit Municipal Charter School/Certain Towns, which authorizes the Towns of Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville, and Cornelius to apply to open charter schools and grant priority enrollment to students living in those towns at those charter schools. The Senate passed the bill earlier in the week. The bill is now law as local measures do not require the governor’s signature. Under the previous law, only private non-profit entities were permitted to operate charter schools and charter schools were allowed only limited authority to grant priority enrollment to certain students (mostly siblings of current students and children of teachers or board members).
Charter school creation for 4 NC towns gets final approval (Associated Press)
Legislation for up to $3 billion in bonds over the next 10 years for highway construction passed unanimously in the Senate Wednesday. Funds would be repaid with projected revenues already designated for road construction, as part of the state’s Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) law. The “special indebtedness” would not require a voter referendum before it could be issued. A similar bill is now working its way through the House, and has already been approved by three separate House committees.
Public School Control
The N.C. Supreme Court, in a 6-0 decision on Friday, upheld a three-judge panel’s ruling that a 2016 law shifting certain powers from the State Board of Education to Superintendent of Public Instruction was constitutional. These powers include high level hiring and spending within the department.
Superintendent, state board both claim victory in court case over who runs NC schools (Raleigh News & Observer)
Legislative leaders appear to have punted the effort to redistrict judicial districts this year and will likely revisit the issue during the 2019 long session of the General Assembly. The major factors for delaying the statewide redraw of the maps include the abbreviated short session and possible consideration of doing away with the elections altogether in favor of an appointment system. Although statewide judicial redistricting appears to be off the table this year, the General Assembly has advanced several bills that make changes to specific districts. SB 757 received final approval by the legislature and awaits action by Gov. Cooper. The bill would make significant changes to Superior Court districts in Mecklenburg County and to District Court districts in Mecklenburg and Wake Counties.
Statewide judicial redistricting not likely this year, GOP lawmaker says (Raleigh News & Observer)
Local Issues – Charlotte
2020 RNC Bid
Following a visit from Republican Party leaders last month, Charlotte appears to be a finalist for the 2020 Republican National Convention, with Las Vegas being the other reported contender. Although the Party has not officially confirmed an announcement, it’s speculated that the final decision will be announced at the GOP quarterly meeting in July. Charlotte previously hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012, which brought over 35,000 visitors to the city.
Report: Charlotte one of two finalists for RNC 2020 (Charlotte Business Journal)
- Betsy DeVos finally approves North Carolina’s plan for educating students (Raleigh News & Observer)
- House OKs court redistricting, elections, school safety bills (WRAL)
- City leaders mull $7.6M in spending on sports, entertainment venues (Charlotte Business Journal)
- Years ago, they talked of seceding. Now, a booming part of Charlotte wants investment. (Charlotte Observer)