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Old North State Report – Oct. 23, 2023
Monday, October 23, 2023


In an effort to overturn North Carolina's recently passed election law, Senate Bill 747, a group of civil rights and voting rights organizations filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper filed a lawsuit in state court opposing Senate Bill 749, a new law that seeks to eliminate partisan advantage in the makeup of the state board of elections.

Both lawsuits were filed shortly after Cooper's vetoes of both pieces of legislation were overridden by the Republican-controlled North Carolina Legislature, bringing the total number of lawsuits to five.

The third federal lawsuit filed against the election law contests Senate Bill 747’s clauses that change the voter registration procedure for those who register to vote on the same day they cast their ballots during the state's early voting period.

Senate Bill 749 is the subject of a different lawsuit, the second of which Cooper filed in state court against the state, House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate leader Phil Berger, and others.

Currently, there are five members of the state elections board, with three seats held by the Governor's party. According to the new law, the board will expand to eight members, who will be chosen by the leaders of the two major parties in the legislature, likely resulting in a 4–4 split between Democrats and Republicans. Governor Cooper is also contesting the provisions of the law that direct legislative leaders to choose four members for each of the 100 counties' election boards.

Read more by Democracy Docket

Read more by The Associated Press

Read more by WRAL News


On Thursday, North Carolina lawmakers started debating new political district boundaries.

The maps for the state's U.S. House of Representatives districts and for the state Senate were the subject of a first-ever public discussion between committees from the state House and Senate. The proposed state and congressional district maps were made public in bill filings on Wednesday, ahead of the hearings that were scheduled for Thursday.

The legislation comes after three public hearings held earlier this month as part of the third attempt in two years to redraw political boundaries to reflect changes in the population as reported in the decennial census.

Leaders of the redistricting process in the North Carolina House introduced House Bill 898 regarding proposed new state House districts, while their colleagues in the upper chamber introduced Senate Bill 756 and Senate Bill 757 to create new congressional districts, as well as Senate Bill 758 to realign state Senate districts.

There are two proposed versions of the congressional map. Senate Bill 756 would divide Wake and Mecklenburg counties into three segments and Guilford County into two, while Senate Bill 757 would divide all three into segments of three.

The committees will review the legislation in more detail during committee hearings on Monday and Tuesday of next week, before moving to vote by mid-week.

Read more by WRAL News

Read more by The Center Square (10/18/23) / The Center Square (10/20/23)


State health officials have confirmed that the federal government has given its final approval for North Carolina to start providing Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults on December 1.

The state of North Carolina was notified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMMS) in a letter last week that modifications to the state's Medicaid program that would provide expanded coverage under the 2010 Affordable Care Act had been approved.

Benefits are anticipated for approximately 600,000 adults in North Carolina between the ages of 19 and 64 who earn too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but not enough to qualify for subsidized private insurance. The state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has advised that about half of that number should enroll right away.

DHHS had been preparing for the enrollment period to begin sooner after the budget law was passed. According to CMMS' letter, the State Health Plan amendment proposal was submitted to federal regulators on August 15. The start date of December 1 was announced by Cooper and DHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley almost three weeks ago.

Beyond the initial 300,000 residents who already have limited Medicaid family planning coverage and will be automatically enrolled, county social services offices will assist residents in enrolling who qualify for Medicaid expansion. To help consumers and organizations find potential recipients, DHHS has developed a website with information on expansion.

"Expanding Medicaid is a monumental achievement that will improve the health and lives of hundreds of thousands of people while helping our health care providers and economy," said Governor Roy Cooper in a DHHS news release announcing the approval of the State Plan Amendment, which is intended to demonstrate the state is ready to handle the influx of additional federal funds.

Read more by The Associated Press

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