[co-authors: Katelyn Kingsbury and Drew Moretz, Government Relations Advisors]
This week, Legislators worked on the budget bill and considered bills on unemployment compensation, and the Senate considered Cabinet nominees.
State Budget Bill
Legislators continue to work on the budget bill. Press reports indicate that the two houses have not yet agreed on a spending number and that may be delaying the budget process. Although it is the Senate’s turn to lead the process this year, House Appropriations subcommittees met this week with a stated goal of advancing the process. In addition, some legislative leaders have been quoted about enacting “mini budget bills” that each deal with a specific topic such as education. Such bills have been enacted in recent sessions. If a new budget bill is not enacted by July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year, state government operations will continue with spending at the prior year’s levels.
Legislators considered two unemployment compensation bills this week.
The House passed a bill (S 116), which makes unemployment benefits non-taxable income and withdraws North Carolina from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Agreement (FPUC). This withdrawal means that eligible recipients will not receive an additional $300 a week in federal funds due to being unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill also appropriates $250 million of federal funds to be used for subsidized childcare for eligible children.
The Senate passed a bill (H 128) that would provide bonuses to incent unemployed workers to accept reemployment, require unemployment claimants to meet work search requirements, and require those individuals to respond to employer requests, such as interviews. Gov. Roy Cooper recently issued Executive Order 216 that would reinstate certain work search requirements for state unemployment claimants.
Three of Gov. Cooper’s Cabinet Secretary nominees were considered this week in the Senate. Senators approved the nominations of Jim Weaver to be Secretary of Information Technology and Pamela Cashwell to be Secretary of Administration. Senators rejected the nomination of Dionne Delli-Gatti to be Secretary of Environmental Quality.