NC Legislative Update
By Cady Thomas
In previous even-numbered years, the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) would begin its short legislative session in May. However, the NCGA remains in regular (long) session which began in January 2021. Since the state budget passed in November, the NCGA has been in and out of Raleigh in compliance with the constitutional requirements or as dictated by short-lived adjournments.
North Carolina’s constitution speaks to the convening date of the long session in odd numbered years (like 2021) but does not set adjournment dates, nor address the short session in even years. Legislative leaders govern themselves and set their own timeline.
Because we remain in the long session, the legislature must gavel in/out every 3 days to maintain their status of regular session. In addition, they are unable to accept PAC dollars while in session. Personal and C4 campaign contributions are allowed during the session. As always, there are technicalities to these laws so please give us a call with any questions.
Legislative leaders choose to remain in session for a number of reasons. The most salient example is this week’s session to grapple with the NC Supreme Court’s decision on Friday. Because they are in session now, they do not have to rely on the governor calling them back into session and can determine their own schedule.
This week the NCGA has returned to Raleigh and will take up two bills. One to redraw the legislative and Congressional maps and the other to address mask requirements in schools. They are not expected to take up any additional business and will adjourn to a date certain by the end of the week. The short session start date has yet to be determined as it will likely hinge on the timing of the primaries.
Bills and Legislation
Both the House and Senate leaders have expressed interest in passing legislation to remove mask requirements in schools. Governor Cooper has not commented on this potential legislation to date.
Numbers as of February 14, 2022:
2,540,372 total cases
3,094 currently hospitalized
14.4% percentage of positive tests each day
71% of adult population fully vaccinated
Other Important Items
Duke Energy has set goals to lower their 22% coal generated energy to 5% by 2030 and 0% by 2030. The plan to accomplish these goals is still being worked on. In this announcement, the company also shared infrastructure changes that would help them meet all their clean energy goals.
On Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the newly drawn district maps. In the order submitted, the court called for state lawmakers to submit new maps that will “adhere to traditional neutral districting criteria and not subordinate them to partisan criteria.” The court ruling was a 4-3 party line vote.
The General Assembly has until February 18th to submit new maps and also allowed the plaintiff to submit maps. The Court will then have until February 23 to make a decision on the maps.
The court did not move the primary date from May 17, so filing is still set to begin February 24. Republican lawmakers can however appeal the court’s decision up to the U.S. Supreme Court, since federal issues were raised. NC Supreme Court Ruling and Dissent
The three-judge panel has also hired a Special Master to review any new submissions.