Redistricting was the focus of the General Assembly this week as they adopted new plans to meet the court ordered deadline of September 18.
A week after the House voted to override the Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the budget, the Senate has yet to calendar the motion. Next week should be a light week, as the Senate has announced there will be no votes until at least September 30.
State and Legislative Issues
Last week the state House overrode the Governor’s veto of the budget bill in a surprise vote. The bill has now been sent back to the Senate, but it hasn’t yet appeared on the calendar. There are a couple likely factors.
First, the General Assembly was under a September 18 deadline to complete redistricting. Most of the work at the legislature centered around that topic. Second, as in the House, Republicans in the Senate do not have a veto-proof majority. This means they will either need to gain some Democratic support or hold the vote when some Democrats are absent. The math became a little trickier this week. Sen. Dan Bishop resigned from the Senate on Monday so that he could be sworn into Congress. A replacement has not been named yet. This leaves Senate Republicans an additional vote short of the 3/5 majority needed to override a veto.
The Senate has announced that no votes will take place until at least September 30, so the budget stalemate will head into October.
The NC House overrode Gov. Cooper’s veto. Now what will happen in the Senate? (Charlotte Observer)
On Tuesday, the General Assembly completed work on new legislative district maps, one day before a court-ordered deadline to draw the new maps. Lawmakers of both parties generally agreed that they process for drawing the new maps was one of the most transparent ever seen in North Carolina. In addition, most analyses found that the new districts would likely be more competitive than previous districts and showed less of a partisan bias. The main criticism of the new maps is that the process used protection of incumbents as one of its principles. Some have argued that this has the effect of giving a slight Republican bias to the new maps. The maps will now be reviewed by a three-judge panel to determine if they meet constitutional standards.
In North Carolina, New Political Maps Don’t End Old Disputes (New York Times)
On Thursday, the Governor signed legislation that would provide substantial funds to test old rape kits. The bill provides for a $6 million appropriation to clear part of a remaining backlog in testing of rape kits. In early 2018, there was a backlog of over 15,000 rape kits. Efforts to clear that backlog have produced results. Of the 900 kits that have been tested since that time, about 20 percent provided a match in the state’s DNA database.
Local Issues – Raleigh News
For the time being, the City of Raleigh will not join a lawsuit relating to the lease of 105 acres of land by the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. In March, the Airport Authority voted to lease the land to Wake Stone for a quarry. The move was controversial and was opposed by conservation groups and an off-road cycling association. Those groups and three individuals have sued the Authority and have argued that the Authority should have first obtained the permission of the four local governments that own the airport – the City of Durham, Durham County, the City of Raleigh, and Wake County. The City Council voted to issue a statement that it opposed the lease and that the Airport Authority should have asked for permission before entering the lease but stopped short of entering into a legal action. The lease has been a key issue in some of this fall’s races for city council and mayor.
Raleigh won’t join lawsuit against ‘RDU Quarry’ near Umstead Park. At least for now. (Raleigh News & Observer)
Local Issues – Charlotte
Fintech company Better.com announced this week its intention to hire 1,000 new employees in Charlotte over the next five years. The online mortgage lender recently received $160 million in Series C funding from backers, including Ally Financial. Proximity to Ally and other financial services companies made Charlotte appealing to Better.com. The new office will operate out of WeWork’s coworking office space in South End.
Digital mortgage lender seeks to hire 1,000 in Charlotte over next five years (Charlotte Business Journal)
- GOP’s Medicaid expansion compromise is back on the table after surprise budget vote (Raleigh News & Observer)
- To aid recruiting, UNC seeks bonuses for chancellors, paid parental leave for worker (Raleigh News & Observer)
- Female leaders in NC NAACP see lack of action after sexual harassment complaint (Charlotte Observer)
- NC got an ‘F’ for unsafe school drinking water. Activists want the lead out of schools. (Charlotte Observer)
- Dragonfly swarm headed to Carolinas is so massive it befuddled weather forecasters (Charlotte Observer)