MountainTrue Raleigh Report
The MountainTrue Raleigh Report covers environmental politics and policy, with a focus on the issues that affect Western North Carolina. See our 2019 legislative agenda here.
It’s been a strange year at the North Carolina General Assembly. We’re here for you with a quick rundown on what happened this year at the legislature and where things stand as the political stalemate between Governor Roy Cooper and the GOP-controlled legislature continues into the new year.
Recently, lawmakers gave final approval to their version of the state’s $24 billion spending plan. While we hope Governor Cooper and legislative leaders will come to a resolution on a final budget soon, we are grateful that the General Assembly included a number of important investments for WNC in their version. Learn about those investments here.
The legislature’s months-long debate of the new state budget is coming to an end, and there are some key Western North Carolina conservation investments at stake this year.
“Crossover” is the deadline for most bills to remain eligible for consideration for the rest of the two-year legislative session. Thus the mad scramble of crossover week.
This time of year, protecting Western North Carolina’s shared places means taking road trips to Raleigh. With the General Assembly now running full steam, MountainTrue staff are making regular visits to the state capitol to speak up for our mountains. We made our second visit of the year last week to have conversations with a number of key legislators as well as the leadership at the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
This week in Raleigh, lawmakers are beginning what is likely to be a long, drawn-out political tug-of-war between newly empowered Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and a GOP legislature that has been reduced in size and influence. A good deal of the push and pull will be over the environment.
Legislators were in Raleigh for a day last week to open the 2019 session of the North Carolina General Assembly. Surrounded by their families, lawmakers took their oaths of office, elected their officers – and then promptly recessed. They will reconvene Jan. 30 and meet weekly until they complete their work some time later this year.
While the dust is still settling from last week’s election – with several state legislative races still too close to call – it’s clear that Republicans have lost their veto-proof majorities in either one or both chambers of the legislature. Here are some thoughts about what this all means for state policy and WNC’s legislative delegation.
The legislature’s action on disaster recovery funding for Hurricane Florence came swiftly in a bipartisan vote that legislative leaders hailed as historically fast and generous. That it was done quickly is beyond debate. Whether the legislation is sufficient to address disaster victims’ immediate needs, or the long-term challenges storms like Hurricanes Florence and Michael pose to the state, is another matter.
The latest on the proposed constitutional amendments, $3 million for landslide hazard mapping in WNC and funding for a whirling disease study from the NC General Assembly.