While Appropriations committees continued budget briefings, legislative leaders this week announced a target for General Fund spending significantly below the proposal submitted by Governor Cooper. On the floors of the two legislative chambers, the biggest item of note was the appointment of members of The University of North Carolina Board of Governors. A total of 132 bills were filed this week – 73 in the Senate and 59 in the House.
State and Legislative Issues
UNC System Board of Governors
The House and Senate each approved their appointees to The University of North Carolina Board of Governors this week. Each chamber appointed six members of the Board to four-year terms. In each chamber, five of the six appointees were current members of the Board appointed to an additional term. The process unfolded differently in the House and Senate. Members of the House had an up-or-down vote on a slate of six nominees. In the Senate, members voted by ballot to select six appointees from a list of 11 nominees. House Democrats criticized the process in that chamber, while Democrats in both chambers questioned a perceived lack of diversity among appointees.
After ‘vote of confidence’ in UNC Board of Governors, here’s what the board will look like (Raleigh News & Observer)
Legislative leaders announced a target for the level of spending in the 2019-20 state budget. On Tuesday, House and Senate leadership announced an agreement between the two chambers to a General Fund budget of just over $24 billion (excluding debt service) for the 2019-20 fiscal year. This is about $500 million (or 2%) less than was proposed by the Governor earlier this year. The legislative target represents a 3.5 percent growth in budgeted expenditures (excluding debt service) from the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Budget numbers show GOP aims to spend less than Cooper plan (WRAL)
Last Friday, the State Board of Elections rejected most requests from UNC System institutions to allow student IDs to be used as an acceptable form of voter ID for the 2020 elections. Of the 17 UNC institutions (all of whom applied to have student IDs accepted as voter ID), only five schools’ IDs were approved for use as voter ID – Appalachian State University, Elizabeth City State University, NC Central University, NC State University, and UNC Asheville. In addition, nine community colleges and 12 private universities and colleges had their student IDs approved for use as voter ID. Most of the applications that were rejected fell in to two categories – IDs that allowed the person identified to submit their own picture and IDs for which the school did not collect sufficient identifying information about the student.
Most UNC system students won’t be able to use school IDs to vote in 2020 (Raleigh News & Observer)
Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case involving North Carolina’s 2016 Congressional redistricting plan. Opponents of the plan argue that it is an unconstitutional political gerrymander. The case, and a similar case out of Maryland, could help define constitutional limits on lawmakers’ ability to draw legislative districts that disproportionately benefit one political party. To date, the Court has been hesitant to find a redistricting plan to be unconstitutional based on its partisan effect. While arguments will be heard on Tuesday, March 26, a decision is not expected from the Court until June.
Arguments in an upcoming NC case could lead to a landmark Supreme Court ruling (Charlotte Observer)
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- NC sees hemp as next big cash crop (WRAL)
- NC historic tax credits have helped rebuild communities. This bill would expand them. (Raleigh News & Observer)
- Passport partners with Charlotte, other cities on pilot that will charge e-scooter operators for parking (Charlotte Business Journal)