The budget stand-off continued this week. Legislators rolled out a number of mini-budgets this week, but their futures are uncertain. The General Assembly will take a break next week for the Labor Day holiday, so it will September 9th before we know the next steps.
Speaking of Labor Day, we hope everyone has a relaxing and safe weekend.
State & Legislative Issues
Legislators and the Gov. Roy Cooper remain deadlocked over the state budget. Again this week, the motion to override the governor’s veto was on the House calendar every day, but each day it was delayed and no vote was taken. The General Assembly moved forward with a plan for “mini-budgets” this week, and the following bills were sent to the Governor this week for consideration:
- HB 555, Medicaid Transformation Implementation, would appropriate over $300 million over two years for Medicaid and NC Health Choice to cover growth in those programs and to implement the Medicaid transformation plan. The bill would also make several finance-related changes to provide funding for the programs in the future. The bill passed with party line votes in both chambers.
- HB 126, Pay Increases/State Highway Patrol, would appropriate almost $11 million over two years to provide a 2.5% pay increase in each year of the biennium for law enforcement officers in the State Highway Patrol. This bill passed unanimously in both chambers.
- HB 226, Pay Increases/State Employees, was sent to the Governor on Wednesday. The bill would appropriate over $800 million over two years to provide a 2.5% pay increase in each year for most State employees. The bill passed unanimously in both chambers.
- HB 609, Salary Increases/Adult Correctional Employees, would appropriate over $90 million over two years to provide a 2.5% pay increase in each year for state employees whose positions are based in a state adult correctional facility. The bill passed unanimously in both chambers.
- HB 777, Pay Increases/SBI & ALE, would appropriate over $6 million over two years to provide a 2.5% pay increase in each year for law enforcement officers in the State Bureau of Investigations and Alcohol Law Enforcement. The bill passed unanimously in both chambers.
Notably, none of the bills passed to date have addressed pay raises for teachers. It is anticipated that the legislature will take up bills on those subjects after the Labor Day break.
It is also anticipated that the governor will veto some or all the mini-budget bills. While Gov. Cooper did not explicitly state whether he would sign or veto the mini-budgets, he did accuse Republicans of “trickery” and described the bills as “another trick that is bad public policy.”
In addition to the mini-budgets, the State Senate passed HB 74, Taxpayer Refund Act, which would provide for a personal income tax rebate of up to $250. The bill has a one-time price tag of $681 million in the 2019-20 state fiscal year. The bill passed the Senate with the support of four Democrats. The State House has not taken yet up that bill.
Raises for some state workers get legislative OK. UNC raises sent back to committee. (Raleigh News & Observer)
Association Health Plans
On Sunday, the Governor allowed SB 86, Small Business Health Care Act, to become law without his signature. This is seen as a middle ground between vetoing a bill and signaling support for the bill by signing it. The bill allows association health care plans, which are plans for small businesses, trade associations and others that are cheaper than Affordable Care Act plans. Critics argue that the plans do not provide the same level of coverage that ACA plans are required to provide.
NC small business health act becomes law, but without governor’s signature (Raleigh News & Observer)
Local Issues – Raleigh
RDU Airport Investment
As Raleigh-Durham International Airport continues to expand the number of flights and passengers streaming through their facility, airport leaders are considering a $500 million proposal that will help better manage traffic flow, parking, and foot traffic in the coming years via a streamlining of ground transportation and a consolidated rental car operation.
- DHHS memo: NC agency knew early about DSS unlawful actions (WRAL)
- Your child’s teacher likely wasn’t fingerprinted during hiring. Are students at risk? (Charlotte Observer)
- UNC says NC Supreme Court should allow university to keep sexual assault records secret (WRAL)
- Two candidates for governor can take unlimited donations. One can’t. (Raleigh News & Observer)
- Charlotte is taking the next step to guide development along transit centers (Charlotte Observer)