by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
According to Carolina Journal reporter Lindsay Marchello’s latest story, House Bill 961 passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously this month. The bill is meant to address part of the budget impasse. Marchello explains:
House Bill 961, or Ensuring the Authorization of Federal Funds, is a stopgap measure to make sure the state can still draw down federal funds in the form of block grants while the budget stalemate continues. Under the bill, federal block grants for health and human services, agriculture, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Clean Water Trust Fund, and the suicide prevention hotline are funded.
Marchello reports the bill is now on the governor’s desk, and Cooper may sign it, according to one analyst. Marchello writes:
Cooper has three options: he can veto the legislation, sign the bill, or let the bill become law without his signature.
“I can’t imagine he will veto it, since it was passed unanimously in both chambers,” Andy Taylor, a political science professor at North Carolina State University, said. “I’m not sure from his own perspective how it would help him if he did veto.”
Taylor said the bill is unlikely to alter the budget debates in any considerable way:
Taylor said it’s not clear who will benefit or be harmed the most from a drawn out budget battle, and signing H.B. 961 into law won’t necessarily tip the scales in either direction.
“…I don’t really see [H.B. 961] changing the fundamental dynamics of this standoff,” Taylor said.
The bill can still become law in 10 days without the governor’s signature, but there is no clear evidence that the governor does not intend to sign HB 961.