CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS

Feb 17, 2017

NCGA Week in Review

Three weeks into the long session and the General Assembly has begun to return to its usual fast pace. In the past three weeks, House and Senate members have filed more than 240 bills – including 48 in the House this week, and 40 in the Senate. The House has passed six bills onto the Senate, including bills to reduce the size of the Board of Governors, enhance the state savings reserve fund and grant greater flexibility to school districts concerning class sizes. Next week, joint appropriations committees will being meeting in order to form budget priorities and the first bill of the long session is expected to land on the governor’s desk.

Education

Sponsored by Reps. Craig Horn (R-Union), Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland), Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus) and Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), HB 6: Ed. Finance Reform Task Force/ PED Report would establish a Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform to make a recommendation to the legislature on public education funding models. The bill was brought up in the House K-12 Education Committee this week where it was amended to include charter school funding in the Task Force’s scope. The committee delayed voting on the bill this week to allow time to consider amending the composition of the Task Force to include public stakeholders.

HB 116: Student Safety in Athletics, sponsored by Reps. Harry Warren (R-Rowan), Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth), Greg Murphy (R-Pitt) and David Rogers (R-Rutherford), seeks to enhance safety regulations in student athletics by:

  • Requiring the State Board of Education to develop guidelines and educational materials concerning sudden cardiac arrest, heat exhaustion and concussions.
  • Requiring the head coach or athletic director for every athletic activity to maintain CPR certification.
  • Directing local boards of education to adopt mandatory heat stroke prevention protocols and venue-specific emergency action plans.
  • Requiring the Department of Public Instruction to maintain a database of catastrophic illnesses, injuries and concussions in student athletes.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Health.

Sponsored by Reps. Harry Warren (R-Rowan), Beverly Boswell (R-Dare), John Faircloth (R-Guilford) and Craig Horn (R-Union), HB 117: Protect Students in Schools would require criminal background check requirements for teachers and other personnel in public and public charter schools, including charter school boards of directors. The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee.

A bill aimed to encourage high achieving students to attend the state’s community colleges, HB 132: High Achieving Tuition Scholarships, would create a scholarship program for all students graduating from a public or private school or from homeschooling with at least a 3.5 unweighted grade point average. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), Allen McNeill (R-Randolph) and Julia Howard (R-Davie) and has not received a committee referral yet.  

Sponsored by Reps. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), Debra Conrad (R-Forsyth) and Bert Jones (R-Rockingham), HB 133: Elect the State Board of Education would change the composition of the State Board of Education to make all but one position on the Board elected. Under the legislation, the Board would be elected in districts using the state’s congressional maps. Additionally, the Lieutenant Governor and State Superintendent would serve on the Board as well as a chair appointed by the Governor. The bill has not received a committee referral yet.

Eminent Domain

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary I Committee approved of a committee substitute to HB 3: Eminent Domain, a proposed constitutional amendment to limit government’s use of eminent domain to seize private property. In committee, the bill was combined with HB 10: Eminent Domain Statutory Revisions. HB 3 received approval from the House on Thursday and has been sent to the Senate. Both HB 3 and HB 10 are sponsored by Reps. Chuck, McGrady (R-Henderson), David Lewis (R-Harnett), Chris Malone (R-Wake) and Ken Goodman (D-Richmond).

Finance

A bill to constitutionally cap state income tax rate at 5.5% was filed by Sens. Tommy Tucker (R-Union), Andrew Brock (R-Davie) and Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) on Wednesday. SB 75: Const. Amd. – Max. Income Tax Rate of 5.5% would require legislative approval by three fifths of both the House and Senate and voter approval in the November 2018 statewide elections.

Also sponsored by Sens. Tucker, Brock and Tillman, SB 81: Sales Tax Economic Nexus for Remote Sales would establish that out of state retailers with gross sales in excess of $100,000 or 200 or more separate transactions are subject to state sales tax collection.

Both of the bills above have been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.

HB 2

This week, many members of the minority party continued a push to repeal HB 2, with several versions of a repeal filed, including Governor Roy Cooper’s proposal to repeal the bill. The current bills to repeal or change HB 2 do not have the support of the House and Senate Republican caucuses.

Sponsored by Reps. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe), John Autry (D-Mecklenburg) and Deb Butler (D-New Hanover) and Sens. Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake), Mike Woodard (D-Durham) and Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) HB 82/ SB 84: Equality for All/ Repeal HB 2 would repeal HB 2 without a “cooling-off” period and:

  • Update a number of anti-discrimination laws to include: age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, gender identity and sexuality.
  • Establish that public spaces must provide appropriate accommodations to individuals without discrimination. This provision also clarifies that bathrooms and changing facilities are provided based on a person’s gender identity.

Proposed by Governor Cooper and sponsored by Sens. Dan Blue (D-Wake) and Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) and Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake), HB 107/ SB 93: Common Sense Compromise to Repeal HB 2, would repeal HB 2, require all local governments to provide the General Assembly with a 30-day notice before adopting a nondiscrimination ordinance that extends beyond state law and enhance sentences for certain violent and sexual crimes committed in a changing room or restroom.

Both the House and Senate versions of the above bills have been sent to Rules Committees.

Health

Sponsored by Sens. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), Louis Pate (R-Wayne) and Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth) and Reps. Josh Dobson (R-McDowell), Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth), Sarah Stevens (R-Surry) and Gale Adcock (D-Wake), HB 88/ SB 73: Modernize Nursing Practice Act would allow full practice authority for advanced practice registered nurses by removing the state’s physician supervision requirement. The Senate version of the bill has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate and the House version has been sent to the House Committee on Health.

Insurance

Sponsored by Sens. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), Wesley Meredith (R-Cumberland) and Joel Ford (D-Mecklenburg), SB 100: Aerial Adventure Financial Responsibility would require aerial adventure parks – including zip lines, challenge courses and canopy tours – to maintain liability insurance that provides coverage of no less than $1M per occurrence. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.

Justice & Public Safety

Sponsored by Reps. Rodney Moore (D-Mecklenburg), Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg), Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) and Amos Quick (D-Guilford) HB 99: The Anti-Discrimination Act of 2017 would prohibit discriminatory profiling, require the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to collect information on traffic stops made to determine immigration status, require DPS to report additional statistics on homicides, and require law enforcement officers to participate in annual discriminatory profiling training and education. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary III Committee.

Sponsored by Reps. George Cleveland (R-Onslow), Debra Conrad (R-Forsyth), Chris Millis (R-Pender) and Michael Speciale (R-Beaufort), HB 113: Pvt Action Local Compliance/ Immigration Laws would allow private individuals to take legal action if they believe that their local government is not in compliance with state immigration laws and is acting as a sanctuary city. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary I Committee.

Sponsored by Sen. Cathy Dunn (R- Davidson), SB 109: Hate Crime Against Emergency Worker would make any attempts, threats and acted assault against a law enforcement officer, firefighters, emergency medical technician or medical responder a hate crime classified as a Class H felony or higher. The bill has not received a committee referral yet.

Transportation

Sponsored by Reps. John Torbett (R-Gaston) and Michael Speciale (R-Beaufort), and Sen. Wesley Meredith (R-Cumberland) HB 91/ SB 66: Require Safety Helmets/ Under 21 would allow individuals over the age of 21 to ride and operate motorcycles without a protective helmet. The Senate version of the bill was sent to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate, while the House version was referred to the House Committee on Transportation.

Sponsored by Reps. John Torbett (R-Gaston) and Scott Stone (R-Mecklenburg) HB 92: Blue Ribbon Committee/ Transportation Funding would create a Blue Ribbon Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Funding. The Committee would be tasked with studying all options available, including debt instruments, revenue changes, local government participation and tolling to increase funding for the transportation infrastructure needs of NC. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation.

On Wednesday, Governor Cooper released a list of eight “shovel ready” major transportation projects to be considered for federal funding. The Governor’s list prioritizes improving highways and mass transit and includes an 18-mile light rail project that would connect Durham and Chapel Hill and improvements to Interstate 95.