This week at the General Assembly, Legislators began to draw new Legislative district maps and took action on budget bills.

Legislative Redistricting

Following a recent order by a panel of three State court judges, Legislators this week began the redrawing of certain Legislative districts. The court set a September 18 deadline for production of the new maps.

House Veto Overrides

In a dramatic vote on Wednesday morning, the House overrode Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the budget bill (H966). Cooper had vetoed the bill on June 28 and it had been listed on the House calendar since that time.

When the House convened on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., Speaker Tim Moore brought the veto override up for an immediate vote. Despite protests from the few Democrats in the chamber, the House voted 55 to 15 in favor of the override. Fifty members were not present for the vote. Later that day, the House Democratic Leader moved to recall the legislation, but that motion was defeated. Both Governor Cooper and House Democrats were critical of the process. Republicans noted that the bill was listed on the House calendar and no official communications had indicated that votes would not be taken at the 8:30 a.m. session.

During the same morning session, the House also overrode Cooper’s veto of H555, which would appropriate money for North Carolina’s move to Medicaid managed care.

Both the budget bill and H555 are now in the Senate Rules Committee. It is uncertain whether or when the Senate will vote to override, which takes a vote by 60% of those present and voting. If all 50 Senators are present and vote, 30 votes are necessary to override, which means that at least one Democrat would have to vote for the override. Republicans hold a 29 to 21 advantage in the Senate.

“Minibudget” bills

In addition to the House override of H966, Legislators passed two new “minibudget” bills this week. These bills would provide funds for prison safety (S118) and disaster relief (S429). Similar bills that have already become law raise salaries for the State Highway Patrol (H126), State employees (H226), and the State Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol Law Enforcement (H777), provide funds for various things related to prisons (including employee salaries) (H609), and facilitate the drawdown of federal funds for health and human services and Community Development Block Grants (H961). Another bill (H426) dealing with salaries for K-12, UNC, and community college employees is pending in the House Appropriations Committee.