Jan 27, 2017
NCGA Week in Review
After a two-week organizational pause, the NC General Assembly began the long session this Wednesday. While there were no committee hearings or floor debates this week, 43 bills were filed on Wednesday and Thursday, 26 in the House and 17 in the Senate. Committee work is expected to begin next week.
This week, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) finished announcing all House and Senate committee assignments and presented gavels to committee chairs.
To view all House committee assignments, please click here.
To view all Senate committee assignments, please click here.
HB 6/ SB 9: Ed. Finance Reform Task Force/ PED Report: Filed in both the House and Senate, this bill would establish a Joint Legislative Task Force on Education and Finance Reform to study K-12 school funding. If the legislation is passed, the task force would be asked to:
- Review the state’s current public school allotment system and consider models used by other states.
- Determine the base amount of funds required to cover the cost of educating a student.
- Identify the student characteristics eligible for weighted funding.
- Resolve the extent to which the base amount of funds distributed would be adjusted based on the characteristics of each local school administrative unit
- Decide which funding elements would remain outside the base funds.
The Senate version of the bill has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate and is sponsored by Sens. Valerie Foushee (D-Orange), Tom McInnis (R-Richmond) and Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth). The House version of the bill is sponsored by Reps. Craig Horn (R-Union), Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland), Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus) and Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson) and has been referred to the House Committee on K-12 Education. If passed, the taskforce would begin in October 2017 and would report to the General Assembly by July 1, 2018.
HB 13: Class Size Requirement Changes: Sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), Chris Malone (R-Wake) and Kevin Corbin (R-Macon), this bill would amend class size requirements in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms. Under current law, class sizes are set to drop from 24 students to between 19 and 21 students – a change that came without additional state funding to hire more teachers. If HB 13 is passed, classes would be capped at between 22 and 24 students, depending on grade level. During the fourth special session of 2016, this bill passed the House, but was not considered by the Senate. HB 13 has been referred to the House Committee on K-12 Education.
HB 23/ SB 15: Teachers/ Isolated K-12 School: Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Corbin (R-Macon) and Sens. Jim Davis (R-Macon) and Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), this bill would amend current law to direct the State Board of Education to allot additional teachers to K-12 schools that are geographically isolated and cannot consolidate with another school as a result. Neither the House nor Senate version of the bill has received a committee referral yet.
HB 3: Eminent Domain Constitutional Amendment: If passed by the legislature, voters would be asked to amend the NC Constitution to prohibit taking private property by eminent domain except for the purpose public use. The bill would also require just compensation to be paid to the property owner and would allow either party to request that the amount of compensation be determined by a jury. If HB 3 is passed, the proposed constitutional amendment would be on the November 6, 2018 statewide election ballot. Constitutional amendments require the approval of three fifths of the legislature and a majority of the popular vote. The bill, which is sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), David Lewis (R-Harnett), Chris Malone (R-Wake) and Ken Goodman (D-Richmond), has been referred to the House Judiciary I Committee.
HB 10: Eminent Domain Statutory Revisions: Also sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), David Lewis (R-Harnett), Chris Malone (R-Wake) and Ken Goodman (D-Richmond), HB 10 would:
- Restrict public and private condemnors to exercising the power of eminent domain for public use.
- Amend the list of private condemnors permitted to exercise the power of eminent domain to include communication facilities and facilities related to the distribution of natural gas.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Public Utilities.
HB 5/ SB 7: Unemployment Insurance Technical Changes: Sponsored by Reps. Julia Howard (R-Davie), Dean Arp (R-Union), Harry Warren (R-Rowan) and Mitchell Setzer (R-Catawba) and Sens. Andy Wells (R-Catawba), and John Alexander (R-Wake), HB 5/ SB 7 would make a number of changes to unemployment insurance, including:
- Clarifies that unemployment benefits may not be charged to an individual’s employer if the cause for unemployment is covered by a federal disaster declaration.
- Provides an exception to the standard one-week waiting period to claim unemployment benefits for individuals impacted by federally declared disasters.
- Establishes that payment for accrued paid-time-off is not a form of remuneration payment. Current law provides that an individual is not considered unemployed while receiving remuneration payment.
- Reduces the required time period for an employer to file its protest for a claim and to have the claim referred to an adjudicator from 14 days to ten days.
- Makes changes to conform to federal law.
The Senate version of the bill has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate, while the House version has been referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Job Development.
HB 11: Handicap Parking Privilege Certification: Sponsored by Reps. Gail Adcock (D-Wake), Josh Dobson (R-McDowell), Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) and Carla Cunningham (D-Mecklenburg), HB 11 would allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives to certify applications for handicap parking privileges. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation.
HB 21: Driver Instruction/ Law Enforcement Stops: Would require the driver’s education curriculum to include instruction on the actions a driver should take during a traffic stop, including appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers. The bill, which is sponsored by Reps. Ken Goodman (D-Richmond), John Faircloth (R-Guilford), Allen McNeill (R-Randolph) and Beverly Earle (D-Mecklenburg), has not yet received a committee referral.
SB 3: DOT/ DMV Changes: Upon the recommendations of the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee, SB 3 would make numerous changes to DMV and NCDOT law, including:
- Extending the sunset of NCDOT’s minority-owned and women-owned business program.
- Clarifying that hybrid vehicles are held to emissions standards and testing requirements.
- Modifying the continuing education requirements for independent car dealers.
- Modifying the law governing special identification cards issued by the DMV.
- Repealing the Driver’s License Technology Fund, which was established in 2001 to fund a driver license verification system for ABC permittees and is no longer in use.
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. It is sponsored by Sens. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) and Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston).
HB 16: Enhance Oversight of Service Contracts/ PED: Would require greater oversight of government contracts for services which are over $1 million and would require the all state agencies to use a contract managing system. The bill, which is sponsored by Reps. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover), Craig Horn (R-Union), Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland) and Rena Turner (R-Iredell), has been referred to the House Committee on State and Local Government II.
HB 18: State Agencies Must Use eProcurement/ PED: Sponsored by Reps. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) and Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland), HB 18 would require all state agencies to use e-procurement and contract management systems. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on State and Local Government II.
SB 8: Ease Occ. Lic. Burdens on Military Families: Would allow military members and spouses to practice their professions under licensure from another state while transitioning to the licensing boards of NC. SB 8 is sponsored by Sens. Andy Wells (R-Catawba), Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and Louis Pate (R-Wayne) and has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
SB 16: Amend Administrative Procedure Laws: Sponsored by Sens. Andy Wells (R-Catawba), Tamara Barringer (R-Wake) and Warren Daniel (R-Burke), SB 16 would:
- Clarify the process to commence contested cases in administrative hearings.
- Allow the Codifier of Rules to make certain corrections to rules including telephone number, website and physical addresses, typographical errors and the titles of organization and positions.
- Eliminate the “without public interest” designation in the rules review process, which would require all rules to be reviewed before being readopted or eliminated.
SB 16 has not yet received a committee referral.