Protesters were on their A game (A for annoy the crap out of lawmakers) on the first day of the short legislative session, banging on pots and pans with spoons and making a shrill noise that reportedly pierced the legislative building.
All while Gov. McCrory presented his $21 billion budget plan which would, among other things, give state employees and teachers raises, cut almost $50 million from universities and create 19 new positions at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which would focus on oversight of coal ash ponds.
In a win for the Affordable Care Act and North Carolinians who like health-care coverage, a joint committee failed to pass a proposal that would have put a two-year moratorium on the federal mandate that requires insurance companies to cover certain conditions and treatments, including some for autism. No one actually voted against it; they just didn't show up to vote at all. Since the hearing required at least 23 legislators in attendance, the proposal is now dead. This says to me that lawmakers didn't want to be perceived as supporting Obamacare, but they also didn't want to be the assholes who voted against kids with autism. Good for them.
Bills introduced Wednesday also included:
SB729 - the governor's coal ash plan, which, as we've already mentioned, sucks.
SB730 - A bill to expand Medicaid to all citizens under 65 who are living at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. What? A bill to provide health care to poor people? How did that sneak in there?
A joint resolution to honor NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees, because priorities.
HB1055 - This bill would give UNC Charlotte and N.C. State $2.5 million each to fund research projects on renewable energy, energy storage and coal ash reuse. This research is desperately needed, so expect this bill to die in committee.
A joint resolution to raise the state minimum wage, although it doesn't yet specify to what amount.
HB1061 - Eliminate Common Core curriculum from North Carolina schools, aka the "I don't wanna feel stupid when I'm helping my kids with their homework" bill.
And finally, tackling a very important issue of our time, HB 1059 - a law that would make stealing a venus fly trap or fly trap seed from someone else's land a Class H felony. Gotta find some new and creative ways to fill those prisons, y'all.