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League Bulletin

December 21, 2018

WHAT HAPPENED: The General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper's veto​ of the voter ID legislation, and now lawmakers await the governor's decision on a couple more pending bills before everyone heads home for the holidays and wraps on the 2017-18 General Assembly. 
WHAT IT MEANS: The North Carolina Constitution essentially requires a steady rhythm of floor meetings from the chambers while in session. To keep with that, lawmakers plan to gavel in and out of a skeletal session on Sunday, Dec. 23., and have at least one more date planned before all is said and done. 
ON TAP: As of this writing, two bills remained​ on the governor's desk for signing: one for a bipartisan state board of elections, the other a technical corrections bill we discussed in last week's Bulletin. The governor is given 10 days to decide what to do about each bill that hits his desk. 
THE SKINNY: According to the Insider State Government News Service, the House and Senate plan to meet on Dec. 27 to focus on more vetoes to override. It comes in the final days of the chambers' veto-proof majorities. And just after the holiday break, we'll get underway with the new makeup and dynamics of the 2019-2020 General Assembly.

​Closing out a busy 2018, the League Bulletin will take a rest over the holidays and will return in 2019. We hope you enjoy your celebrations with family and have a happy New Year. Thank you for reading.

Gov. Roy Cooper this week put out a statement on the possibility of a federal government shutdown​ as disagreements on funding continue in Washington, D.C. "If not resolved quickly, shutting down the federal government could harm a critical program that helps children and families and delay needed federal funds for hurricane recovery," the governor said. "I urge the federal government to act responsibly to prevent a shutdown." The Insider State Government News Service reported that state budget officials are working with agencies on plans to keep other functions running in the event of a federal shutdown. The National League of Cities also released information​ on shutdown aspects relevant to cities and towns. 

State health authorities have released year-end data indicating a decrease in opioid deaths compared to the last months of 2017. Numbers also showed a 7 percent decrease in emergency department visits over January to November 2018 when compared to the same time in 2017. “While we are seeing progress in some metrics including Emergency Room visits, we still have a lot or work to do,” N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said in a news release. Unintentional overdoses last year led to 1,884 deaths in North Carolina, which was a 34 percent increase from 2016. State health officials believe the increase might be due to the rise in deadly drugs like heroin and fentanyl. The N.C. Opioid Action Plan identifies steps meant to improve the situation. The League this year released its Opioid Solutions Toolbox with videos, a podcast and other resources to help communities battle the problem. The state's news release​ has many more details about the numbers tracked in 2018. 

Given its growth, North Carolina may pick up another congressional seat following the 2020 census. News outlets this week, citing new U.S. Census Bureau data, reported that the state added about 113,000 new residents between July 2017 and July 2018 for a population totaling nearly 10.4 million and supporting a pace that analysts comfortably predict will bring about a 14th congressional district. Population fluctuations across the nation -- increases in some states and declines in others -- mean a number of the 435 congressional seats will shift around between states. If it added a 14th seat, it would be the most North Carolina ever had. The News & Observer of Raleigh​ notes that Texas has been growing at such a pace that it might pick up two new seats in Congress.

Municipal Equation, the League's podcast about cities and towns adapting in the face of change, was listed this week as one of "Top 10 Voices Powering Government Innovation" among other highly regarded publications and programs including CityLab, GovTech Magazine and GovLove. "If you’re looking for a place to dive in, Municipal Equation produced two episodes on the broadband gap and fast internet service as a necessary infrastructure. Episode 47 brings in the authors of a report on how to leap the digital divide, while Episode 58​ digs into the inaccuracies of the FCC’s map of broadband availability and the ripple effects that has on policy making and funding decisions." Find all past episodes at​.