JONES STREET JOURNAL
NCGA session made small positive steps, but with no guiding vision for rural NC
The Long Session of the 2017-18 NC General Assembly has adjourned...sort of.
On June 30, the NCGA adjourned, with an announcement that they would return at least twice more to Raleigh before a November 15 deadline for redrawing challenged legislative districts. During those convenings, any number of unresolved bills could be considered, but in the meantime, we have put together a comprehensive update of what has happened so far this session and what it means for rural North Carolina.
Major takeaway? Both the budget and some major bills passed this year make positive incremental steps. Rural communities will likely have more funding for transportation construction needs, community health centers, and access to healthy foods. However, the General Assembly has missed multiple opportunities to articulate and implement a strong, strategic vision for rural economic development.
Proposals were on the table this session for major steps forward in broadband access, closing the health insurance coverage gap, and education innovation. None of these proposals were implemented, and some never even heard debate in a committee.
The General Assembly only gets a chance once every two years to pass a budget and major legislation that will make a transformative difference in the lives of our citizens. While we are pleased that small steps were taken this session, the people of North Carolina deserve large steps and a grand vision for the future of this state.
We thank those legislators from both parties that put forward innovative proposals this year, and we look forward to working with them in the future to further develop and advance scalable strategies for broadband, health care, education, and business development that will help all of our people and communities thrive.
for a deeper analysis of what has been accomplished this session and what might (and should) happen when the General Assembly reconvenes.