RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s legislative books are cleared every two years when the next set of 170 lawmakers is sworn in. The General Assembly is starting from scratch, filing papers and advancing bills.
But the legislative session that begins Wednesday should be filled with familiar issues from 2022 — whether to approve Medicaid expansion, medical marijuana and sports gambling among them is for debate and voting during the main period of this year’s work, which is expected to last until the beginning of summer.
The action continues often redrawn redistricting maps and another way of implementation photo of the voter probably though appellate judges could step in and reinstate Republican legislation they recently repealed.
And with the GOP holding a veto-wielding majority in the 50-seat Senate and missing just one seat in the 120-seat House of Representatives after the November election, Republicans could once again pass looser gun laws and stricter immigration directives with the hope of to finally overcome Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.
These items are in addition to passing the state government’s budget, which is usually the most difficult task for lawmakers each year.
“It will be fast paced. There are many issues that we will discuss, but which have been moved to the page,” said the representative of the Republican Party Donnie Lambeth, one of the main authors of the budget of the House of Representatives. “I’m sure there will be a few new items added, but many of us who were there have been discussing these issues for years.”
The new clauses should include proposed abortion restrictions that are much broader than the narrow changes Cooper successfully vetoed 2019 year and 2021 year. Abortion access is expected to be one of this year’s most contentious issues in public institutions across the country after the US Supreme Court struck down federal abortion protections last June.
North Carolina bans almost all abortions after 20 weeks, with a small exception for medical emergencies. This month, House Speaker Tim Moore suggested that there was some support for the proposal in his chamber supported by Senate leader Phil Berger ban abortions after the first trimester — 12 or 13 weeks of pregnancy — with new exceptions for rape and incest.
Berger and Moore, Heads of chambers were re-elected at organizational meetings of the General Assembly on January 11. warned that the discussions are early.
Moore has repeatedly said that Republicans now have a “working supermajority” and several Democrats are willing to vote with the GOP on many fronts. But finding unanimity on abortion among Republicans, let alone a House Democrat willing to challenge Cooper, a strong supporter of abortion rights, won’t be easy.
The conservative North Carolina Values Coalition wants lawmakers to ban abortions as soon as an ultrasound first detects a fetal heartbeat — usually about six weeks after conception and before many patients know they’re pregnant.
“We believe the heartbeat bill is already a compromise because we believe life begins at conception,” said the coalition’s executive director Tammy Fitzgerald, and “because we believe it will save more lives.”
Another bill with cultural flashpoints of education and gender identity likely to resurface is the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which passed the Senate last year but failed to get a vote in the House. The bill, promoted by GOP senators as a tool to help parents oversee their children’s education and health care, included provisions that would ban the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 curricula and require schools to notify parents before any name changes or pronoun used for their child.
Berger said he suspects there will be “good support to move forward again.” Critics of the measure say it unnecessarily interferes with classroom learning instills fear in transgender schoolchildren who lack parental support.
Ann Webb, policy attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, called the anti-abortion legislation and other “highly politicized” issues being pushed by the Republican Party “pieces of legislation that are driven by hate and misunderstanding.”
Temporary order of work of the chamber, and likely to become permanent, removed the two-day advance notice before a rollback vote could be attempted. That means Republicans could try to overturn the decision if they see their Democratic colleagues absent from the chamber, even for a short time.
House Minority Leader Robert Reeves, who has strongly criticized the rule change and wants to keep the repeal notice, said he would like to see the Legislature pass measures that increase public spending on education, promote affordable housing, give tax breaks to workers and expand Medicaid.
Republican Party leaders and Cooper made dramatic progress last year to an agreement to expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults through the federal health care law of 2010.
The House and Senate passed separate expansion bills by wide margins. But the talks broke down as Senate Republicans insisted that any final measure would require loosening the rules to allow more health care providers and facilities to treat more Medicaid enrollees. House Republicans have said they won’t treat health care expansion and access as changes in one comprehensive measure.
A bill that creates a regulatory framework for the legalization of medical marijuana passed the Senate last spring but has stalled in the House. The Senate passed legislation to allow sports betting operators and licensing, but was rejected in the House of Representatives by social conservatives and liberal Democrats.
With an estimated 25% turnover in each chamber this year, it will take time for new lawmakers to work through longstanding issues. But Lambeth said there was still a feeling in the Legislature that now was the time to act.
“I see a lot of them as problems that it’s time for us to take them on and solve them one way or another,” he said, “either yes or no.”
There are many remaining issues expected in the North Carolina session
Source link There are many remaining issues expected in the North Carolina session