LEGISLATIVE REPORT - March 20, 2019
The past week featured a number of high-profile news stories emanating from the NC political world, while legislative progress was slow by comparison. With the exception of a bill to delay implementation of the State’s new Voter ID law (which was introduced in the Senate, passed by both chambers and signed into law in a four-day span), most other notable issues were marked by news of movement (or lack thereof) as opposed to visible progress. A bill to allow small business associations to create health insurance plans was passed by the Senate but is expected to move slowly in the House. An amendment to that bill offered by a Democratic Freshman that would have expanded Medicaid was defeated, which is not surprising. What surprised many is, according to a little- noticed rule, the amendment’s defeat will pre-empt any further consideration of that topic for the rest of session. Senate leadership could vote to waive the rule; however, they are not currently inclined to do so and used the drama to blame Democrats for “killing debate” on the issue.
A compromise in the long-running fight over North Carolina’s beer distribution laws was announced, with legislation filed in both chambers representing a settlement of a related lawsuit, while a long-expected bill to modernize the State’s ABC system (and allow private retailers to sell liquor) has yet to be unveiled. The budget process continues, with House and Senate leaders meeting to work out issues behind closed doors and Appropriations subcommittees continuing to hear departmental presentations and staff overviews. With House and Senate bill-filing deadlines approaching the pace of committee work is expected to pick up, with the May 9 "crossover" and June 30 budget deadlines looming. In the meantime, several members of the legislature are actively running for Congress in upcoming special elections and seveeral others have announced for statewide office in 2020. As things begin to move faster on Jones Street, the pace of political news, and controversy, is only expected to increase.
This Legislative Report is a publication of Kochanek Law Group and is a member benefit of AANC. Any use or reproduction of this report is limited to AANC and its members.