Bills-and-more-bills

Tues, May 21, NC Policy Watch luncheon in Raleigh, Gerrymandering on Trial, with Allison Riggs, Prof. Gregory Herschlag and Melissa Boughton. Details and registration.

Crossover has come and gone, and we're left with a big pile of bills that are eligible for enactment during the remainder of this session. Wanna see all of them? The House passed 304 bills, and the Senate passed 157.

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Of those, seven have been passed by the other chamber and signed into law by Gov. Cooper, and one has been vetoed. That one is SB359, the assault on women's reproductive freedom and privacy known as the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Read Gov. Cooper's clear and simple reasons for vetoing this bill that purports to protect babies aborted late in pregnancy from being murdered by OB/GYNs - despite the rarity of late-term abortions and the fact that most of them are performed because of severe fetal anomalies that are not compatible with life. The Senate overrode his veto by ONE VOTE, the swing vote was a Democrat who supported the bill. Speaker Moore has been putting it on the calendar every session day, then postponing the vote. He's hoping for a day when a few Democrats don't show up, increasing his chances for a successful override. Let your NC House representative know NOW what you think of this unnecessary bill whose real intent is to intimidate abortion providers. We need to let all of them, Democrats and Republicans, know we're paying attention, and we expect support for the governor's veto and women's rights.

It's not all bad news from the NCGA, here are some good bills that have passed in one chamber and we hope will pass in the other (contact your legislator in the appropriate chamber!):

  • S310, Electric Co-op Rural Broadband Services, addresses the gap in broadband service across the state by allowing the electric membership cooperatives that provide electricity to rural communities to provide broadband in the areas they serve. Passed in the Senate, goes to the House.
  • S562, the Second Chance Act, creates a process for 16- and 17-year-olds to petition the court to have certain convictions expunged. The bill also creates an automatic expunction for acquittals and dismissals starting July 1, 2020. It passed the Senate, goes to the House.
  • H347 directs the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee to study raising the age of juvenile delinquency from 6 to 10 years old. A previous version of the bill made this change rather than just studying it, but we’re hopeful the study results in a policy change very soon.
  • H613, Essential Services for Homeless Youth, allows homeless youth defined as “unaccompanied youths” to consent (without the presence of parents) to the following medical procedures: (i) physical examinations necessary for participation in school activities, (ii) dental services, (iii) optometry services, and (iv) mental health and substance abuse services. This bill passed the House, goes to the Senate.
  • S199, the SAFE Child Act, includes a number of provisions aimed at preventing sex abuse, encouraging reporting, and holding offenders accountable. Passed the Senate unanimously and was sent to the House.
  • S218 clarifies state recognition of the Lumbee Indians, making them eligible for special programs and services for Native Americans. Passed the Senate, goes to the House.
  • H823, NC Managing Environmental Waste Act of 2019, designates the allocation of tax proceeds to study how the state can reduce the use of single-use plastics. It's a first step. Passed the House nearly unanimously, referred to the Senate.

Now for some good bills that haven't seen action yet (noted) or have probably died for the session (the rest 😢):

  • H5, Medicaid expansion to close the coverage gap; it's not dead, it could still be included in the budget or passed as a bill
  • Redistricting - there are several filed bills of varying quality, and none have seen action. Redistricting is exempt from crossover, so we can still push for this. Democracy NC supports S673 as a "gold standard" bill.
  • H46, Equal Pay for Equal Work
  • H366, Raising Wages for NC Workers
  • H271, Adopt the Equal Rights Amendment
  • H248, Restore Longevity Pay for Teachers
  • H359, $15 Minimum Wage for All School Employees
  • H86, Gun Violence Prevention Act - and other gun safety bills
  • H514, Equality for All, LGBTQ protections
  • H566, Polluter Pays

We're about half-way through the session (🤞🏽), has there been more bipartisanship in evidence so far? Depends who you ask. NC Policy Watch summarizes five quick takes as the session passes its symbolic midpoint - some pluses, some minuses.

Imagine what we could do if we flipped at least one of the NCGA chambers in 2020! Are you getting ready? WE ARE!

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Tags: (NCGA, NCPol)

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