Perspective North Carolina General Assembly Update | May 16, 2022
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Below is an update on the activity at the NC General Assembly this week. Please feel free to contact a member of the team with any questions or visit ktsstrategies.com to learn more about our services.
The 2022 legislative short session is rapidly approaching. In preparation, we wanted to provide a preemptive update on the North Carolina General Assembly’s timeline including bill drafting/filing dates, major policy objectives, and budget goals. We will resume our weekly legislative updates throughout the duration of the short session.
The North Carolina 2022 primary election will be held this Tuesday, May 17th. Early voting began on April 28, and continued at county election sites until 3:00 PM on Saturday, May 14. Once the election results conclude, any races requiring a runoff will be held on July 26.
The North Carolina General Assembly will look very different in 2023 with a number of retirements and multiple incumbents paired together in the same district, also referred to as “double bunking.” In the Senate, current Senators Bob Steinburg (R – Chowan) and Norman Sanderson (R – Pamlico) are double bunked in Senate District 1 and Senator Ralph Hise (R – Mitchell) and Senator Deanna Ballard (R – Watauga) are double bunked in Senate District 47. In the House, Representatives Jamie Boles (R – Moore) and Ben Moss (R – Richmond) are double bunked in House District 52 and Representatives Jake Johnson (R – Polk) and David Rogers ( R-Rutherford) are double bunked in House District 113. A total of 34 members of the General Assembly are guaranteed to be back in office in 2023. There are 10 Senate members running unopposed (9 Republicans and 1 Democrat) and 24 House members running unopposed (20 Republicans and 4 Democrats).
The legislature will convene the day after the primary election (this Wednesday, May 18). We anticipate the opening days will be mainly pro forma to organize the 2022 short session. The legislature has already set the scene to begin work for the short session by implementing bill drafting and bill filing deadlines in their adjournment resolution that passed earlier this year. All legislative requests were due to bill drafting by Monday, May 9 at 4:00 PM. Legislation must be introduced in the House or filed for introduction in the Senate by Thursday, May 26 at 4:00 PM. Local bills must have entire county delegation approval, attesting to the non-controversial nature of the legislative goal. Bills eligible for consideration include bills affecting the State budget, Constitutional amendments, bills that met the 2021 crossover deadline, recommendations from study commissions and select committees, local bills, and appointments
- Budget – North Carolina’s budget was enacted late in 2021. The May 2022 revenue consensus forecast expects revenue to increase by $6.2 billion over the 2021-23 biennium. General Fund revenue collections are now expected to total $32.65 billion in FY 2021-22 and $30.71 billion in FY 2022-23. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) released a joint statement on the forecast. Part of the statement reads, “It is crucial that we continue on this track of responsible and disciplined spending in light of the potential for a recession as we begin the short session budget process.”
- Tax cuts – The 2021 budget had significant tax rate reductions in every segment except Sales Tax. It is possible that the multi-year staggered rate reductions are accelerated to occur sooner.
- Transportation – Transportation and Appropriations Chairs will be considering the allocation of Federal money from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
- Sports betting – During the 2021 session, S688, Sports Wagering, passed with a bipartisan vote of 26-19 in the Senate. 9 Republicans and 17 Democrats supported final passage. This was the first vote count with the majority of votes coming from the minority party in the North Carolina Senate since 2010. We anticipate the House to take up the issue when they reconvene.
- Medical marijuana – We expect the legislature to continue work on S711, NC Compassionate Care Act. The bill would legalize the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients with a debilitating medical condition. The bill passed through four legislative committees, but did not make it to the Senate floor during the 2021 session.
- Medicaid expansion – During the interim, the Joint Legislative Committee on Access to Healthcare and Medicaid Expansion has been meeting to consider various ways in which access to health care and health insurance can be improved. To date, no recommendations have been voted on by the Committee. It remains to be seen if an agreement can be reached between the House and Senate and within each Caucus on this issue. There is a possibility that the legislature reconvenes later this year to continue discussing policy recommendations.