Oct 6, 2017
NCGA Week in Review
The General Assembly gaveled in for the third time since adjourning the
long session in June to take up additional business this week. A two-day
“special session” was held to consider several issues, including two veto
overrides, judicial redistricting and technical corrections to the 2017
budget. Per the
, legislators will reconvene on January 10 for another special session.
Special Session Report
Agency & Budget Technical Corrections
A conference report to
SB 582: Budget & Agency Technical Corrections
was introduced on Wednesday in the House Committee on Appropriations. The
bill makes clarifying changes to the state’s budget and other agency
requested technical changes and modifications, including:
Narrows the scope of school construction projects that can be funded with
lottery proceeds to only new building construction.
Eliminates the sunset for the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund, which
was set to expire in July 2020.
Requires the average weekly wage of inmates employed under the Prison
Industry Enhancement Program to be calculated in accordance with the
Worker’s Compensation Act.
Removes a requirement for a randomized control group for a
medication-assisted opioid use disorder treatment program.
Requires the Attorney General to handle all criminal appeals and
prohibits delegation to any district attorney’s office.
SB 582 was approved with veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate
on Thursday, and has been sent to the Governor.
Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) introduced
SB 694: Further Modifications to Appointments
on Wednesday. The bill includes a number of appointments, including former
Rep. Mike Stone to the Oil and Gas Commission and Sen. Tom McInnis
(R-Richmond) to the High Speed Rail Compact Commission, at the
recommendations of House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate
President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), as well as corrections to
existing appointments. SB 694 was passed by the Senate on Wednesday and the
House on Thursday evening, it is not subject to approval by the Governor.
When the legislature adjourned in June,
SB 656: Electoral Freedom Act of 2017
had just been sent to conference. Both chambers reviewed and gave approval
to the conference report with veto-proof majorities this week. The bill:
Reduces the number of signatures required for unaffiliated candidates to
be included on a general election ballot for offices other than the General
Assembly and municipal offices from 4% to 1.5%.
- Amends the qualifications for a group of voters to be recognized by a
political party. Under the proposed legislation, parties that are included
on the general election ballot in 35 other states will be recognized
parties in NC.
Eliminates primaries for judicial offices in 2018. Sen. Ralph Hise
(R-Mitchell), the bill's sponsor, stated that this is needed since the
legislature plans to consider different options for selecting judges, and
the Senate plans to look at the House's judicial redistricting plan, in the
The bill has been sent to the Governor.
A proposal to redraw the state’s court districts from Rep. Justin Burr
(R-Stanly) moved forward in the House.
HB 717: Judicial Redistricting & Investment Act
, which has been discussed by a House select committee and the state’s
Court Commission in recent weeks, passed the House on Thursday night with a
veto-proof majority. The Senate did not take up HB 717 this week, but Sen.
Berger indicated that judicial redistricting may be taken up in the coming
months or in the short session.
SB 181: Electronic Notice – Guilford County
was introduced as a proposed committee substitute in the House Committee on
Finance on Wednesday. The bill, which contains a nearly identical provision
vetoed by the Governor in July, allows local governments in Guilford County
to post public and legal notices on their websites in addition to or in
lieu of in local newspapers. SB 181 was approved by the House and Senate on
Thursday. Because the legislation is a local bill, it was not subject to
the Governor’s signature and became law upon approval from both chambers.
The legislature overrode two of Gov. Cooper’s vetoes during the special
HB 56: Amend Environmental Laws
which makes a number of changes to state environmental laws, including:
Establishes a study of excluding certain riparian buffers from taxation.
Repeals the plastic bag ban in effect for portions of the Outer Banks.
Appropriates $435,000 in funds to respond to the discharge of
into the Cape Fear River
, Gov. Cooper criticized the legislature for failing to provide resources
to any state agencies to respond to GenX, and objected to provisions in the
legislation that he said weaken environmental protections.
SB 16: Business Regulatory Reform Act of 2017
, which makes changes to state law including:
Allows bed and breakfasts to provide additional, optional meals to
Directs the Building Code Council to study electrical safety requirements
for swimming pools.
Requires backup lights to be operational to pass a state automobile
Authorizes private condemnation of land for pipelines originating outside
Clarifies a number of stormwater laws including providing that when a
preexisting development is redeveloped, increased stormwater controls may
only be required for the amount of water-resistant surface being created
that exceeds the amount that existed prior to the redevelopment
that he believes the legislation makes dangerous rollbacks to regulations
protecting water quality.