Last week at the North Carolina General Assembly was relatively short, but highly active. Two high-profile bills concerning education and abortion were before us, one for its first House vote and one for an override of the Governor’s veto. We also saw the Senate version of the biennial budget as they voted it out of the Senate and prepared to send it back to the House.
The veto override got the most attention. Senate Bill 20 – Care for Women, Children, and Families Act got the required three-fifths vote in the House and Senate and became law. The House vote was 72 – 48 and the Senate was 30 – 20. The bill was criticized as a 12-week abortion ban, but what it really does is provide for safe abortions at 12, 20, and 24 weeks. It also contains the born-alive bill, which provides healthcare for infants that survive a failed abortion, expanded parental leave, safe surrender of an unwanted infant, and millions of dollars for additional childcare.
The education bill, House Bill 823 – Choose Your School, Choose Your Future, expands the education voucher system for parents to send their children to a school that meets their needs. It also got a lot of debate on the House floor. It got a House vote of 65 – 45 and was sent to the Senate.
The previous week, May 8th through May 12th, we did not have voting sessions in Raleigh, so I was able to meet with people around the district, as well as attend the N.C. Beach, Inlet, and Waterway Association spring conference (NCBIWA} in Emerald Isle. It was interesting to be on a panel there on Thursday with four other House and Senate colleagues from the coast. The NCBIWA conferences are always informative, and it is good to share ideas with the local leaders and environmental leaders there. There was a particularly good presentation on shallow draft inlet dredging from our N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality.
This week we expect to begin negotiating the budget between the House and Senate and have committee meetings to consider Senate bills.