Activity at the North Carolina General Assembly increased this week as additional bills were introduced and appropriations subcommittees met to begin discussing the state budget.
State of the State Address
Governor Roy Cooper delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly on Monday night. In his speech, he highlighted his efforts to attract jobs to the state and commended bi-partisan efforts to recover from the hurricane and storm damage. Among other things, he advocated for an expansion of Medicaid coverage, increased education spending, and a statewide school construction bond.
House Speaker Tim Moore, along with other key education House members, released a plan to put a $1.9 million bond for school construction on the 2020 ballot. The plan, if approved by voters, would provide $1.5 billion for construction and renovation needs for K-12 school districts statewide, as well as $200 million each for the University of North Carolina system and the North Carolina Community College System. Senate leaders have proposed a pay-as-you-go plan (S5) that would increase the contribution to the school construction fund and authorize use of some of the funds for K-12 school construction.
ABC Privatization Opposition
Representatives Pat McElraft (R-Carteret) and Shelly Willingham (D-Edgecombe) held a press conference this week to oppose the anticipated plan to privatize liquor sales in the state. Leaders from organizations such as the N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police and Christian Action League were present at the news conference on Wednesday. Representative Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson) has already announced plans to file a bill that would privatize and modernize sales, while maintaining state enforcement responsibility.