General Assembly back-in session, ENC lawmakers reveal priorities

General Assembly back-in session, ENC lawmakers reveal priorities
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 7:07 PM EST
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PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - State lawmakers returned to work for the first time this year, and several items from 2022 are set to be reintroduced; including those dealing with abortion, critical race theory, and the expansion of Medicaid.

On Wednesday, the North Carolina General Assembly held its first session of the year. Following November’s election, the Republicans have a supermajority in the State Senate and are one vote short in the House to override a veto by Gov. Roy Cooper.

Republican Representative Celeste Cairns is excited about the new session. “We [Republicans] certainly passed a lot of bills in the last term that got vetoed by our governor,” Cairns said. “I think we’re going to be readdressing some of those things that I think are very important and getting some of those things through, now that our numbers are larger.”

Several of the items Cairns hopes Republicans push are considered controversial.

“We’re going to be looking at abortion laws again,” Cairns said. “We’re going to be looking at schools and making sure that the kids are learning and learning well and not being taught ideologies that are un-American frankly.”

Cairns goes on to say that the expansion of Medicaid will also be a hot topic. Democrat Representative Gloristine Brown says that is one of her top priorities, especially one day after ECU Health closed down five clinics in rural areas.

“I’m worried about the citizens in the rural areas the distance that they may have to travel for some type of help,” Brown said.

With gas prices the way they are, Brown is worried people in rural communities will struggle.

“I’m worried that they’ll have to make a decision to pay someone or if I can I afford to pay someone to take them to where they need to get to because the facilities that were once there are no longer there.”

The five ECU Health clinics that are shutting down are ECU Health Women’s Care in Williamston, ECU Health Immediate Care in Wilson and ECU Health Family Medicine clinics in Jacksonville, Aurora and Snow Hill.

All five clinics are expected to close by March and the employees will move to other ECU Health locations.