MVA Monitor – April 5

This week, the General Assembly took action in moving forward substantial proposals dealing with health care, immigration, and school testing.  The Governor announced a personnel policy change intended, in part, to reduce gender pay disparities in state government.  In all, 332 bills were filed this week – 93 in the House and 239 in the Senate.  The bill filing deadline in the Senate was Wednesday, April 3, while House members still have several weeks to file bills.

Issue Insights

State and Legislative Issues

State Health Plans

On Wednesday, House Bill 184 cleared the House by a vote of 75-36.  The bill calls for a study of the State Health Plan’s financial sustainability and halts a proposal by the State Treasurer (who oversees the Plan) to implement changes to how the Plan reimburses medical providers.  The vote was somewhat unusual in that it received both significant support and opposition from both parties.  The “aye” votes included 41 Democrats and 34 Republicans, whereas the “nay” votes included 27 Republicans and 9 Democrats.  The bill now heads to the Senate.
State Health Plan study bill clears House after fierce debate (Winston-Salem Journal)

Sheriff Cooperation with ICE

On Wednesday, House Bill 370 cleared the House by a vote of 63-51.  The bill would require North Carolina sheriffs to hold prisoners subject to U.S. Department of Homeland Security detainers.  The bill comes after the election victories in 2018 of sheriffs in several counties who had pledged not to honor the detainers issued by ICE.  In recent months, newly elected sheriffs in at least five of the state’s urban counties (Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth, Mecklenburg, and Wake) had announced they would stop honoring ICE detainers.  The bill passed on a party-line vote, despite last minute opposition from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.
NC sheriffs now oppose mandate to help ICE – but it’s closer to becoming law (Raleigh News & Observer)

School Testing

On Wednesday, the House voted overwhelming in favor of a bill to reduce the amount of mandatory testing in North Carolina public schools.  House Bill 377 passed by a vote of 110-2.  The bill would replace or eliminate some mandatory exams, would prohibit local school districts from giving standardized tests not required by the State Board of Education, and would prohibit school districts from requiring high school students to complete a graduation project.  The bill now heads to the Senate, where a separate proposal to reduce school testing, Senate Bill 621, was filed on Wednesday.
NC lawmakers say they want to reduce student testing. Can they agree on a plan? (Raleigh News & Observer)

Salary History

On Wednesday, Governor Cooper signed an executive order prohibiting state agencies under his control from asking about salary history during the hiring process.  The move coincided with Equal Pay Day.  It is argued that reliance on salary history in determining the salary of a newly hired employee perpetuates and exacerbates the gender pay gap.
Gov. Cooper signs order to ban use of salary history in hiring for state jobs (WNCT)

News Roundup