Perspective North Carolina General Assembly Update | May 5, 2023
KTS Strategies brings years of experience providing clients in a diverse range of industries with comprehensive policy and advocacy advice before federal, state, and local agencies. In North Carolina, we advise local municipalities, corporate transportation entities, nonprofit organizations, statewide associations, government vendors, and Fortune 500 companies before the North Carolina General Assembly and executive branch.
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.
Thursday, May 4th was the crossover deadline for the North Carolina General Assembly 2023-2024 long session. Crossover is the date by which a bill must pass its chamber of origin to remain eligible for consideration for the remainder of the biennium. Exemptions to the crossover deadline include Constitutional amendments, redistricting, election laws, nominations and appointments, adjournment resolutions, and bills with a finance or appropriations provision. A high volume of bills passed through each chamber this week to meet the deadline. To date, 745 bills have been filed in the Senate and 895 in the House. Only 12 bills have become law so far this session.
This week, House and Senate leadership announced an agreement on abortion legislation for North Carolina. S20, Care for Women, Children and Families Act, was released in a conference report Tuesday evening. The bill was heard in a Joint Rules Committee meeting Wednesday morning before being passed on the House floor Wednesday evening with a vote of 71-46. After a lengthy floor debate in which every Democrat rose to speak in opposition, the Senate approved the bill Thursday afternoon with a vote of 29-20. S20 will now be sent to Governor Cooper for consideration, but he has pledged to veto the legislation. Both legislative chambers now hold veto-proof GOP supermajorities after Mecklenburg County Representative Tricia Cotham switched her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican last month. Current NC law bans abortion after 20 weeks gestation unless there is a medical emergency after the Roe vs. Wade decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. This bill proposes the following changes:
- Abortion permitted for any reason through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy;
- Allow abortion through 20 weeks in the case of rape or incest;
- Allow abortion through 24 weeks for life-limiting fetal anomalies; and
- No limit when life of the mother is at risk as determined by a licensed physician.
The bill also includes nearly $160 million in funding for maternal health services, adoption care, contraceptive services and paid leave for teachers and state employees after the birth of a child.
NC Supreme Court Rulings
Last Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court reversed previous rulings related to voting maps, voter ID, and felon voting rights. The Court ruled 5-2 that based on the North Carolina Constitution, the courts play no role in determining partisan gerrymandering for voting maps drawn by the NC Legislature. Justice Paul Newby wrote in the opinion, “Our constitution expressly assigns the redistricting authority to the General Assembly subject to explicit limitations in the text.” The Court also reversed a decision on the 2018 voter ID law. A trial court previously struck down the law and ruled it unconstitutional. Additionally, the Court released a ruling reversing a lower court ruling that would allow felons to regain the right to vote once they had finished their prison sentences, even if they had not finished their probation or paid off the fines and fees associated with their punishment.