This week the slower-than-normal pace of session began to pick up some steam, though committee meetings were few and only one bill passed its chamber. The ongoing court battle between Gov. Cooper and legislative leaders continued, with a three-judge Superior Court panel temporarily blocking the effect of a law passed in December that requires Senate confirmation for Cabinet-level appointments. Confirmation hearings were set to begin this week, and lawmakers convened the scheduled hearing despite the nominee’s absence. Another hearing is scheduled for February 10, with Gov. Cooper’s lawyers asking that the stay remain in place until a full trial on the law is held next month.  The Governor also pressed the General Assembly this week on repealing House Bill 2, the controversial law passed last year that stripped municipalities from extending protections to LGBT citizens. The NCAA made clear this week that time is running out to make changes to the bill that would allow North Carolina to be considered as a host for NCAA games (including March Madness tournament games) for the next 8 years. While Gov. Cooper and others insist “the votes are there” for full repeal of HB2, House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger have said publicly that only a “compromise” measure (presumably one that continues to require transgender men and women to use public facilities that match their gender at birth) will be considered, and Republican Party leaders called on Gov. Cooper to propose such a compromise. Read the full report here.