Weekly Wrap: Beginnings and no endings

Posted January 20

— President Donald Trump took office Friday as the 45th president of the United States, although dozens of members of Congress, including Democratic 1st District Congressman G.K. Butterfield and 12th District Congresswoman Alma Adams made a point of publicly announcing they would skip the event.

Back in Raleigh, the battle over Medicaid expansion continued, with a federal judge granting state lawmakers a temporary restraining order blocking Gov. Roy Cooper's attempt to open the health insurance program for the poor and disabled to more low-income adults. Cooper has said his move makes economic sense for the state, but lawmakers, fearing the financial cost involved, passed laws a few years ago preventing such expansion without legislative approval.

Another restraining order will remain in place until at least June, when a three-judge panel will hear the State Board of Education's challenge to a new law shifting some of the board's powers to the elected state superintendent of public instruction. Republican Superintendent Mark Johnson, who has expressed support for the law, said he plans to intervene in the case.

Meanwhile, Cooper continues to build his cabinet, naming Rep. Susi Hamilton, D-New Hanover, as secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. He has yet to name his picks to lead the Department of Revenue and Information Technology.

The governor also put a hold on payouts to the cabinet secretaries under former Gov. Pat McCrory until they determine whether they are warranted.


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