The Greensboro City Council included on its Legislative Agenda a request for a law that would only benefit former city councilmembers.

The Legislative Agenda is a list of items that the City Council requests the legislature pass and that the City Council pays a lobbyist to promote.

This item on the City Council Legislative Agenda is to grant former city councilmembers health insurance benefits for life.

As a result of that request, bills have been introduced in the state House and Senate that would grant all former city councilmembers who served at least eight years on the City Council coverage for life on the city’s health insurance plan.

When this was discussed by the City Council, Mayor Nancy Vaughan stated that former city councilmembers would have to pay for their insurance, but this would allow them to remain part of the city’s healthcare plan.

However, House Bill 393 and Senate Bill 215 state, “The health insurance premium may be paid entirely by the city, paid partly by the city and former city council member, or paid entirely by the former city council member at the option of the city.”

The bill only applies to the Greensboro City Council and if it becomes law the City Council would have the right to decide to pay the full health insurance costs for all former city councilmembers who served at least eight years.

For those who don’t support paying for health insurance for life for former city councilmembers, there is good news.

Senate Bill 215 has two primary sponsors, Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) and Sen. Michael Garrett (D-Guilford). 

In the 2019-2020 legislative session, Robinson and Garrett were, along with 44 of their Senate colleagues, listed as primary sponsors of the COVID-19 relief bill.  The state Senate has 50 members, so all but four senators were primary sponsors of that bill and the bill passed.

Garrett had no other bills for which he was the primary sponsor pass in the 2019-2020 legislative session.

However, Robinson was the primary sponsor for a bill to honor the North Carolina A&T State University football team and that passed.

So, having Robinson and Garrett as primary sponsors of a Senate bill almost guarantees it will wind up in the Rules Committee, which is where the Senate sends bills to die.

In the state House the primary sponsors are Rep. Cecil Brockman (D Guilford), Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D-Guilford) and Rep. Pricey Harrison D-Guilford).