HB2, News

Senate President and House Speaker suggest agreement on HB2 repeal, but say Governor disavows deal

Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore promised a ‘major announcement’ on HB2 Tuesday afternoon, but their press conference left many more questions.

Berger told reporters that the General Assembly was now willing to “agree in principle” to a four-point proposal put forth by Governor Roy Cooper’s attorney last Thursday. But according to Berger, the governor now denies making that offer.

“We’re not sure where we are right now, quite frankly,” Berger said.

The Senate leader also told reporters no bill has been draft, nor a vote scheduled at this point that would lead to the repeal of HB2.

Their announcement comes on the same day that multiple media outlets reported that the state has until Thursday to strike HB2 from the books or lose NCAA postseason events through 2022.

A spokesman for Gov. Cooper later described the Berger/Moore press conference as a “political stunt.”

Click below to watch a portion of the press event carried live on WRAL.com.

News

NC House OKs concealed guns on church-school property, outside of school operating hours (video)

Legislation that would allow parishioners to carry concealed weapons to church services held on school property outside of school hours passed the state House 82-34 Monday evening.

Rep. Rena Turner, the key sponsor of House Bill 174, said the bill was requested by churchgoers who felt vulnerable after the 2015 shooting at the Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Turner minimized some of the opposition to her legislation by amending the bill to allow county commissions or local school boards to exclude conceal carry from properties they own.

Click below to watch HB 174 as it passes the state House. The measure now heads to the Senate.

News

Six things to have on your radar this week

Equal Rights Amendment – Legislators and members of organizations supporting women’s rights will gather at the Legislative Building in Raleigh this afternoon to call upon the leadership of the House and Senate to prioritize action on bills (HB 102 and SB 85) that would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. The action comes on the heels of recent action by the Nevada legislature to ratify the Amendment. Activities will commence with a 3:00 pm press conference led by Rep. Carla Cunningham.

Vote to allow firearms in churches and schools – Current N.C. law generally prohibits gun owners from bringing guns onto school campuses, but it does not bar guns from places of worship — so long as the church, synagogue or mosque does not bar them. A proposed bill would make clear that gun owners can bring their firearms onto the property where schools and churches co-exist as long as it’s outside the operating hours of the school and the place of worship doesn’t say affirmatively bar them. Gun violence advocates have concerns about the proposal and would much prefer that the presumption be that guns are banned in places of worship unless they are affirmatively welcomed. The Bill (House Bill 174) is scheduled for a vote on the House floor on this evening.

Teaching Fellows 2.0 – On Tuesday, the House Education Committee for Universities will meet in Room 1228 of the Legislative Building to take up legislation by Rep. Craig Horn to revive the Teaching Fellows Program – a program abolished by Republicans after they took control of the General Assembly earlier in the decade.

Governor Roy Cooper is also proposing in his budget a plan to increase teacher recruitment:

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Role in the Transition to a Low-Carbon
Acting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Chery LaFleur comes to Duke’s campus on Tuesday.  She’ll be discussing the electricity sector’s period of rapid change and FERC role in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The talk will take place in Duke University’s Ahmadieh Family Grand Hall (Gross Hall room 330) from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Look for questions from the audience about the impact of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

LaFleur’s talk is sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the Duke University Energy Initiative, and the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Rural Education Advocacy – Retired Congresswoman Eva Clayton, policymakers, education and business leaders and others will spearhead Rural Education Advocacy Day in Raleigh on Wednesday. The event is designed to highlight the fact that while North Carolina has the second largest rural population in America, the unique needs of rural school districts are often forgotten. More than two-thirds of North Carolina’s traditional public school districts are rural and nearly 40 percent of students in traditional public schools are educated in a rural district. The program will run from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Department of Public Instruction’s Education Building Auditorium.

Community College Day at the General Assembly – The North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents will kick off “Community College Day at the General Assembly” on Wednesday. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and include interactive simulations and demonstrations of feature community college programs in the 1000 and 1300 court of the NC Legislative Building. A press conference in the Legislative Building press Room will take place at 10:00 am.

Courts & the Law

In power struggle with legislature, Cooper prevails in two of three legal challenges

A three-judge panel issued its rulings Friday on two laws passed last December in special session that limited  the powers of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.

The panel found that the General Assembly does have the authority to establish a confirmation process for the governor’s cabinet picks.

But the judges ruled that it was unconstitutional for state lawmakers to pass legislation combining the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission.

The ruling also blocks the Republican-controlled legislature from trimming exempt positions from 1,500 jobs (under the McCrory administration) to just 425 positions for Cooper.

Noelle Talley, Deputy Communications Director for Gov. Cooper, praised two of the decisions and predicted the third would eventually fall in their favor.

“We’re pleased the trial court ruled two of these three laws unconstitutional, and we believe strongly that the Supreme Court ultimately will agree with us on all three.”

Read the 43-page order here.

Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger’s office issued the following reaction to the court order on Twitter: