Instead of carving jack-o-lanterns this week, legislators have been hard at work carving decennial redistricting maps. The House held a voting session on Tuesday, but the only bill on the calendar was postponed to another day. Negotiations between the Republican legislature and the Democratic Governor on a state budget are still ongoing.
There is positive news out of Raleigh this week. Governor Roy Cooper (D) gave a press conference Wednesday and said there is a "renewed sense of hope" as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have declined. As of this morning, in the state of North Carolina, there were 2,493 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 1,364 individuals hospitalized, and sadly, 17,977 confirmed deaths. There have been 11,552,439 doses of the vaccine distributed in NC, which is about 71% of the total adult population.
As we all continue to feel the effects of the global pandemic and adjust to a new normal, we want to highlight a few ways our clients across North Carolina have worked to support residents and make this time a little easier for those throughout the state. Read more about what our clients are doing to help by clicking here.
For more information on COVID-19 in North Carolina, click here to visit the Department of Health and Human Services website, and be sure to stay up to date on the latest federal guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by clicking here.
North Carolina is now the only state in the nation without a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, despite ongoing negotiations between the Democrats, led by Governor Roy Cooper, and Republicans, led by House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). During a COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Cooper told reporters that he was sending a budget counteroffer to the Republican legislators that afternoon. Cooper clarified that it was not a final counteroffer.
Cooper's counteroffer follows a Republican proposal early last week, which reportedly included higher raises for teachers and state employees and increased public school spending. Last Friday, both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders met with Gov. Cooper at the Governor's Mansion.
While all negotiators involved in the process have remained positive and optimistic in their public statements, Speaker Moore told reporters Wednesday that if a deal is not reached with Gov. Cooper by next week, the legislature will move forward with passing a legislative budget. In order to pass, that would require Democrats in the legislature to vote for the final bill, and possibly to override a veto.
The Legislative Joint Redistricting Committee hosted a public comment hearing to hear from state residents about proposed redistricting maps. Dozens of individuals attended to share their concerns. Most of the speakers criticized the current proposed maps, saying they guarantee too many Republican seats based on past election performance. House committee Chairman Destin Hall (R-Caldwell) said after the hearing that GOP leaders are staying away from making decisions based on electoral outcomes.
The legislature hopes to approve new maps by early November that will apply to elections starting next year. Candidate filing for the 2022 election begins December 6. With Republican majorities in both the state House and Senate and redistricting maps exempt from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto stamp, a legislatively passed map will likely be adopted unless blocked by litigation.
Upcoming Legislative Meetings
Monday, November 1
2:00PM House: Rules Committee