September Legislative Update

El Pueblo continues its legislative advocacy work at the General Assembly in the weeks after the June 30 adjournment mainly as the legislature returned to Raleigh on August 3rd at 10 am to redraw legislative maps as required by federal courts. 

While the General Assembly’s primary task is to redraw new legislative districts, the body can consider other unresolved legislation while in Raleigh.  El Pueblo is guarding against any legislative maneuvers that may allow legislation stalled from the long session to be heard in the special session.  “We are very proud of the defense El Pueblo coordinated with community partners at the General Assembly this past session,” said Angeline Echeverría, executive director of El Pueblo.  “Our community was under attack in both chambers and we were successful in either defeating bills in committee, or getting bottled up in committees.” 

Echeverría said the only explicitly anti-immigrant bill that made it to Governor Roy Cooper’s desk in the legislative session was a farm bill that included a last minute provision to disallow the Farmworkers Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) to collect dues from their members, a bill that may get challenged in court. 

El Pueblo is scheduled to meet with Governor Cooper’s policy staff in September to discuss legislation pending in the General Assembly and the decision by the first term governor to sign the farmworker bill into law. 

In other news, new legislative maps have been released, which is likely to change the political makeup in the House and Senate.  An early release of maps by a legislative panel has already ushered in the resignation of Senator Chad Barefoot, a Franklin County Republican. An early assessment of the maps concludes that the House is the chamber subject to the most changes.  Some political observers predict the Republicans will likely win 61 seats in the 2018 election and Democrats will win the other 59.  A two-vote margin in the House will likely force Republicans and Democrats to work together to pass legislation, something that usually results in more moderate policymaking and budgets.  The House is currently a 75-45 Republican majority.   The Senate is controlled by 36 Republicans and has 14 Democrats.  The Senate’s majority is expected to drop to 31 Republicans.

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