Old North State Report - April 13, 2017
It was a two-day abbreviated workweek for the legislature. In the House, hundreds of bills were introduced to meet their filing deadline. Both chambers also had long calendars to clear bills moving out of committee in anticipation of the April 27th crossover date when non-fiscal bills must pass one chamber or the other in order to remain eligible for consideration. The House and Senate will not hold floor votes again until Wednesday, April 19 as part of a planned Easter recess. We’ll report any consequential news that occurs next week.
In the meantime…
Four House Republicans (who work in health care professions) filed a bill to extend Medicaid coverage and to charge hospitals to help pay for it. It's the first time prominent North Carolina Republican legislators have sought to add adults who don’t currently qualify for the government health insurance program since the Affordable Care Act provided that option. GOP leaders are skeptical about the federal government following through on its promise to cover the bulk of the costs and are uncertain of more potential changes from Washington, DC.
Republicans approved a law four years ago that prohibits expansion without legislative consent. When newly-elected Democratic Governor Roy Cooper tried in early January to expand Medicaid, Republican legislative leaders sued to stop it and a court blocked the move. House Speaker Tim Moore said that he remains opposed to Medicaid expansion. The legislation can be seen here:
A pair of bills at issue in the power struggle between the General Assembly and Governor Roy Cooper passed both the House and Senate Tuesday. One measure, Senate Bill 68, is the legislature's latest attempt to merge the state's Ethics Commission, lobbying registration, and Board of Elections. House Bill 239 reduces the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12. Opponents of the measure argued it would keep Cooper from appointing replacements for three judges who are set to retire over the next two years. Both have drawn veto threats from Cooper. The constitution requires three-fifths of members present and voting to override. The bills can be viewed here:
On a more cooperative note, the Senate has now confirmed eight of Governor Cooper’s Cabinet choices despite the legal and political arguments over the process. Cooper nominated his final two picks late last week: Eric Boyette as Secretary of Information Technology and Ron Penny as Secretary of Revenue. Presumably, their confirmation hearings will be scheduled soon.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.