This week’s summary talks about Governor Cooper’s response to the NC legislature forcing in person learning via legislation and on how late census data will effect federal and state redistricting and 2021 elections. There are no new bills to track and no action on the bills being tracked. See whole report at North Carolina NOW Legislative Update #4.22 February 2021.
They’ve gone home! Both houses have passed an adjournment resolution that sets July 11 as the date of adjournment. Between now and then there will be skeleton sessions, but no further legislative action is anticipated. The date for reconvening is set for September 2. As described here, an astonishing amount of time and energy was expended trying to thwart Governor Cooper’s power to contain the COVID-19 virus, to block measures he ordered using his emergency powers. We explain two approaches the attacks took.
Normally during a short session the budget passed during the long session is tweaked, and funding for a few local projects is passed. Budgets passed by the General Assembly cover a two-year period. This year the situation is much more complicated because last year the governor vetoed the budget bill backed by Republicans and no substitute budget bill was ever passed. Instead we are operating by using the level of funding contained in the previous budget supplemented by a series of “mini budget” passed last session that funded certain departments or items. This week action focused on piecemeal budget bills with local targets and one major budget item, pay for teachers. The legislature keeps passing bills to allow various businesses to open during the pandemic, and the governor continues to veto them. The Senate passed a bill that would allow local areas to hold July 4 parades and other activities in spite of the restrictions the governor has ordered for the pandemic. This is no way to run a state.
The Elections 2020 bill was ratified and signed by Governor Cooper. NC needed state bill to allocate federal funds to help conduct the 2020 elections. GOP added a Voter ID requirement. Read about what that means, since there is already a lawsuit in process against voter-id provisions claiming they are racially motivated.
The pandemic is exposing people and institutions who were barely getting by and now will fail with insufficient assistance. Rural hospitals were already doing badly, and now are doing worse. Yet, the NC legislature continues to refuse the gift of Medicaid Expansion which would alleviate health and economic problems across in every county if implemented fully.
This pandemic is opening up the world of online meetings. Here are some advantages and problems with Zoom for online meetings, and tips for using webinars. Hope this helps you decide what tools will help you keep your life going during the pandemic and beyond.
The coronavirus is a catastrophe for low paid workers. With women filling the majority of these jobs, the tragedy of unemployment and the lack of adequate unemployment insurance will fall disproportionately on them. NC’s meager unemployment compensation program is both callous and bad for the economy. The NCGA must fix these deficiencies in unemployment compensation and improve situations for women and families with laws to help them survive the pandemic and beyond.