May 3, 2019
NC House Budget
Members of the NC House moved a step closer to passing their version of a 2019-21 state fiscal budget on Thursday. By a vote of 61-55, the “2019 Appropriations Act,” was approved as amended on second reading. The House budget legislation (HB966) faced 34 amendments filed from the floor, 15 of which were adopted. The $23.9 billion state budget includes increased spending on school safety, upgrades to buildings throughout the UNC System, tax changes that would raise the standard deduction for personal income taxpayers by 3.75% starting in 2021, funding to create new grants for “advanced teaching roles,” raises for teachers and state employees beginning on January 1, funding to tackle the opioid crisis, increased funds for the state’s NC Pre-K program and added funding for Adult Care Homes/personal care needs. House Minority Leader, Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake), told reporters on Thursday night that Governor Roy Cooper will veto this version of the budget, for one reason, due to the exclusion of Medicaid expansion. The Governor and Democratic Caucus have made it clear that expansion to Medicaid is their top priority this legislative session. HB966 is on the House calendar for third reading tomorrow (Friday, 5/3) – the House convenes at 12:30 p.m. The Senate will begin drafting its version of the budget in the next couple weeks.
Special Election – Congressional District 3
A special Primary Election was held on Tuesday in Congressional District 3 to narrow the field of candidates running to fill the vacancy left by the Honorable Walter B. Jones, Jr. who passed away earlier this year. To avoid a runoff, candidates were required to obtain 30% of the primary vote from within their respective parties. Of the 17 Republicans running, none reached the 30% threshold. State Rep. Greg Murphy finished first with 22% and pediatrician Joan Perry came in second with 15.4%. Therefore, a July 9th runoff is necessary to determine the Republican nominee. The GOP winner will face Democrat Allen Thomas, Libertarian Tim Harris and Constitution Party candidate Greg Holt in the General Election scheduled for September 10th. The district, which runs from Onslow County (Jacksonville, NC) to the VA border, is considered a safe Republican district.
Update: Veto Override
The NC Senate voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of SB359, “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” on Monday night. The controversial “born-alive abortion bill,” directs doctors and nurses to care for an infant born alive after an attempted abortion as they would any other child or face a new crime and prison time. By a vote of 30-20, Senators voted to overrule the Governor and push forward with the legislation, despite Cooper’s claims that the bill would “cause unnecessary interference between doctors and patients if passed.” One Democrat, Sen. Don Davis of Greene County, broke party and voted with the Senate GOP. The bill now heads back to the House for an override vote in that chamber. Given the GOP no longer holds a super-majority in either body, several House Democrats will be needed in order for an override to be achieved in the House. The override vote was scheduled for yesterday (5/2), but was pulled from the calendar due to budget debate and vote. The bill will be re-calendared in the very near future. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article229860694.html
Crossover is next week (officially, May 9th; potential for moving up to May 7th)
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