Brooks Pierce Capital Dispatch: Updates from the NC General Assembly and Governor’s Office, February 18, 2022
Both Gov. Roy Cooper and the General Assembly this week addressed COVID masking requirements. Legislators also passed new legislative and congressional district maps.
Governor Encourages Move to Voluntary Masking; General Assembly Passes Bill on School Masking
Gov. Cooper on Thursday encouraged local governments and school boards to lift mandatory masking requirements in place due to COVID. His guidance sets March 7 as the date for schools to move to voluntary masking at the discretion of local school boards. Masking would remain in place for health care, long-term care and transportation such as airplanes to comply with federal regulations.
Legislators this week passed a bill (S 173) to provide parental discretion on masking on public school property. It is uncertain whether Gov. Cooper will sign this bill into law.
Legislators Pass New Election District Maps
Legislators this week approved new legislative and congressional district maps and submitted them to a state court three-judge panel for review. The North Carolina Supreme Court recently ruled that maps adopted in January violated the state constitution and directed the General Assembly to produce new maps.
The three-judge panel is expected to rule on these new maps by Feb. 23. The current date for primary elections is May 17.
Here's a link to the bills with the new maps (the bills are not subject to review by the Governor):
- Congressional districts (S 745)—approved on a 66-53 House vote and a 25-19 Senate vote
- NC Senate (S 744)—approved on a 67-52 House vote and 26-19 Senate vote
- NC House (H 980)—approved on a 115-5 House vote and a 41-3 Senate vote
Legislators Remain in Session
The General Assembly remains in session and it appears members will continue to hold no-vote sessions every few days. This is in part to consider redistricting matters and possible override votes on bills vetoed earlier by the Governor. In addition, some oversight committees, which typically meet between sessions, have started to meet. This includes meetings of a committee to consider health insurance coverage and Medicaid expansion. Such committees sometimes recommend bills to the even-numbered year session, which will likely be held in the spring. A date for that session has not yet been set.
For more information, contact a member of the Brooks Pierce Government Affairs Team.