Go right to the NC NOW Legislative Update #21 at NC NOW Legislative Update #21.24Jun19.
Budget negotiations continue on two fronts, but there are no concrete results to report yet. In the legislature, the committee tasked with reconciling the House and Senate versions of the budget into one compromise document continues its work. The goal is for a new budget to be presented and passed before the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1. Every indication is that this goal is likely to be met.
The biggest hurdle, however, is for the legislature to produce a budget that the Governor will sign. Here there is a stalemate. On Friday, June 21 Governor Cooper met face-to-face with House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate leader Phil Berger and Democratic leaders for nearly an hour. After the meeting, each party (the Governor’s office and the Republican leaders) issued press statements accusing the other of refusing to compromise.
The biggest sticking point is Medicaid expansion, which is a priority item for Governor Cooper; but Republicans are strongly opposed and did not include Medicaid expansion in either the House or Senate budget, and stand-alone bills for Medicaid expansion are stalled, probably permanently. Republican leaders have proposed a special session on health access issues, including Medicaid expansion, but with no guarantee that the legislature would act on expansion.
Other points Governor Cooper wants to have addressed in the budget discussions include school infrastructure bonds and significantly higher pay raises for teachers. Governor Cooper has proposed conducting budget negotiations on two tracks—one track to address Medicaid expansion and the second track to address other areas of disagreement. Republicans want Medicaid expansion of the table in budget discussions.
It is likely that the legislature will pass its budget next week, and it is likely that the governor will veto a budget that does not include Medicaid expansion or address other areas of concern. Republicans retain a majority in both houses, but their majority is no longer veto-proof. If the governor should veto the budget and his veto be upheld, we are in for a long, hot summer.
See the whole summary and bills that NC NOW is tracking at NC NOW Legislative Update #21.24Jun19.