Mar 31, 2017
NCGA Week in Review
In the midst of bill filing
deadlines and with crossover, the date which bills must cross from one chamber to the
other, looming next month, the General Assembly has had an eventful week. A
bipartisan compromise on HB 2 has been the big story this week. Meanwhile,
189 bills were filed in the Senate and 65 in the House this week.
HB 2 Repeal
Just over a year ago,
HB 2: Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, now commonly referred to as the bathroom bill, was passed in response to
a local ordinance enacted by the Charlotte City Council that would have
allowed people to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender
identity. This week, the legislature and the Governor reached a compromise
and signed a repeal into law.
On Wednesday night, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate
President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham)
announced that they had reached an agreement with Gov. Cooper on a repeal bill. In
statements, the Governor noted that the compromise is not perfect, but it is
necessary, while Rep. Moore and Sen. Berger noted that they are pleased
that the proposal protects bathroom safety and privacy.
HB 142: Reset of S.L. 2016-3 was introduced in the Senate Rules Committee Thursday morning. The bill:
Repeals HB 2.
Clarifies that state institutions, including the University of North
Carolina and the Community College Systems, and local boards of
education, are held to state laws on multiple occupancy restrooms,
showers and changing facilities, not local ordinances.
Places a four-year moratorium on local governments enacting
The bill was first heard in the Senate, where it passed 32-16, six
Democrats and ten Republicans voted against the repeal. The bill was then
immediately sent to the House for consideration and passed 70-48, 15
Democrats and 33 Republicans voted in opposition to the bill. Gov. Cooper
signed the repeal into law later that afternoon and the law went into effect
HB 142 faced criticism from both social conservatives, who opposed a
repeal, and social liberals, who considered the compromise to be continued
discrimination against the LGBT community.
Higher Education Reforms & Workforce Development
In an effort to improve outcomes in the UNC system, Sens. David Curtis
(R-Lincoln), Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and Tom McInnis (R-Rockingham)
SB 519: NCGRADE on Wednesday. Currently, the average graduation rate in the UNC system is
six years, which the bill sponsors consider to be too long. The bill would:
- Establish that applicants to UNC system schools must have a grade point
average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a seven-point scale for admission.
- Create the NC Graduation Rate Acceleration Double Enrollment (NCGRADE)
Program. This program would allow students who do not meet the GPA
requirement to participate in a dual-enrollment program between the
university and a participating community college. The student would earn an
associate’s degree at the designated community college before enrolling at
the selected constituent university.
- Found a NCGRADE Grant Fund to grant $1,000 per academic semester for
participants in the NCGRADE Program.
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the
Many legislators and the Governor believe that reestablishing a teaching
fellows program for future educators may help the state respond to teacher
shortages. North Carolina had a teaching fellows program from 1986 to 2011,
which awarded scholarships to students with a promise that the student
would teach in NC for at least four years. Sponsored by Reps. Craig Horn
(R-Union), Stephen Ross (R-Alamance), Holly Grange (R-New Hanover), and
Frank Iler (R-Brunswick) and Sens. Chad Barefoot (R-Franklin), Michael Lee
(R-New Hanover) and Deanna Ballard (R-Watuaga)
HB 339 /
SB 252: North Carolina Teaching Fellows, would re-establish the program with a focus on STEM and special education
teachers and low performing schools. The bill would provide forgivable
loans of up the $8,250 per semester to students and in return, the students
would be required to teach in schools across the state for an allotted
number of years to receive loan forgiveness. The House version of the bill
has been given the OK by the House Committee on Education – Universities,
and has now been sent to the House Committee on Appropriations. The Senate
version of the bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education/
Regulatory Relief for Alcohol Industry
HB 460 /
SB 155: Economic & Job Growth for NC Distilleries, which was
reported on earlier this month and moved forward in the Senate yesterday, the
General Assembly introduced an omnibus bill concerning the Alcoholic
Beverage Control (ABC) Commission this week.
Sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Bill Brawley
(R-Mecklenburg), Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) and Pricey Harrison
HB 500: ABC Omnibus Legislation would make a number of changes to the state’s ABC laws:
- Authorize the sale of growlers of beer and wine by locations with a
- Allow breweries, wineries and distilleries to store alcoholic beverages
- Authorize tastings at brewery tours.
- Amend home brewing laws to allow homebrewers to serve their product at
organized affairs and exhibitions.
- Allow brewery taprooms to serve other alcoholic beverages.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Alcoholic Beverage
Support for Nonprofits
The Senate Committee on Commerce and Insurance reviewed and gave a thumbs
SB 154: Charitable Fundraising for Nonprofit Orgs, which would ease regulations for charitable fundraising events, this week.
Sponsored by Sens. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance), Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) and Kathy
Harrington (R-Gaston), SB 154 would:
- Allow nonprofits to hold no more than four raffles per year. Current law
allows nonprofits to hold two raffles per year.
- Increase the total allowed cash prizes and fair market value for prizes
offered in nonprofit raffles from $125,000 to $250,000.
- Allow nonprofits to obtain ABC permits to serve alcohol at raffles and to
offer alcohol as a prize in raffles.
The bill has been sent to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the
Senate, its last committee stop before heading to the floor for a vote.
Similar to SB 154, a bill sponsored by Reps. Jamie Boles (R-Moore), Marvin
Lucas (D-Cumberland), Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) and Elmer Floyd
(D-Cumberland), would allow nonprofits to hold game nights as a means of
HB 511: Game Nights/ Nonprofit Fundraiser was filed on Tuesday and has been sent to the House Committee on Alcoholic
Beverage Control. The bill would require nonprofits to acquire game night
permits and hold up to four game nights per year as a means of fundraising.
The bill would also allow nonprofits to serve alcohol at these events.
Sponsored by Sens. Don Davis (D-Pitt) and Louis Pate (R-Wayne),
SB 497: Nonprofit Sales Tax Exempt would provide a sales tax exemption for tangible personal property, digital
property, and services for use in carrying on the work of the following
- Nonprofit hospitals and over-the-counter drugs purchased for for-profit
- Organizations that are exempt from income tax under the 501(c)(3) code
and meet other classifications.
- Volunteer fire departments and volunteer emergency medical service squads
that are financially accountable to a local government.
- Certain single member LLCs that are disregarded for income tax.
- Certain retirement facilities.
- University-affiliated nonprofits that procures, designs, constructs, or
provides facilities to a school in the UNC system.
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Rues and Operations of the
Sponsored by Sens. Jeff Tarte (R-Mecklenburg), Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), and
Brent Jackson (R-Sampson),
SB 304: Required Financial Audits would require financial audits of all state offices and nonprofits that
receive state funds. Originally, the bill would have required audits every
four years for all nonprofits that receive state funds. A change made in
the Senate State and Local Government Committee this week changed that
provision to require quadrennial audits only for nonprofits that has annual
revenues of $1 million or more and independent financial reviews for
nonprofits with annual revenues of less than $1 million. The bill has been
referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations/ Base Budget.