May 12, 2017
NCGA Week in Review
This week, the Senate passed their budget
, which now heads to the House. While the legislature’s resources were
primarily focused on the budget process, the House saw some action, holding
a few committees on Wednesday and Thursday, and passing a handful of bills.
Additionally, the legislature voted to override the Governor’s fourth veto.
Senate Passes Proposed Budget
The Senate has passed their version of the budget,
SB 257: Appropriations Act of 2017, with a vote count of 32-15 along party lines around 3:00am on Friday,
after considering 13 amendments on the floor on Thursday and Friday. For a
comprehensive review of the Senate’s proposal, click
Here’s a look at some of the amendments approved by the Senate:
set forth by Sen. Ralph Hise aims to protect patients in emergent
situations from being bill for out-of-network-benefits.
Sen. Louis Pate
to provide additional funds to provide naloxone, a drug that reverses
the effects of an opioid overdose, to the NC Harm Reduction Coalition
and law enforcement agencies.
Sen. Rick Gunn sponsored an
extending funds to the International Recruitment Coordination Office
into the 2017-18 fiscal year.
sponsored by Sen. David Curtis would grant flexibility to local
education agencies to purchase textbooks and digital materials from
vendors of their choosing.
Sen. Shirley Randleman moved to
the jurisdiction of ABC and ALE law enforcement officers to grant them
the authority to enforce criminal laws under certain circumstances.
sponsored by Sen. Brent Jackson eliminates funding for some projects,
including funds for food deserts, operational funds for state parks,
and Eastern NC STEM to increase funding for opioid treatment pilot
When the senators returned to the chamber shortly after midnight, the
Democratic caucus ran a number of amendments to implement programs proposed
by Gov. Cooper, none of which were adopted. To review the differences
between the Governor and the Senate’s proposals, follow this
The budget is now in the House where Senior Appropriations Chairman Rep.
Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) noted that the House is on track to begin committee
work on SB 257 the week after next, and vote on the budget during the week
of Memorial Day.
What Happened in the House?
Though the Senate’s budget proposal was the focus of the week, there was
some action in the House.
Justice & Public Safety
Both chambers are considering legislation to “raise the age” of juvenile
jurisdiction to include 16 and 17 year olds. This week, two House
committees gave approval to
HB 280: Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), David Lewis (R-Harnett),
Duane Hall (D-Wake) and Susan Martin (R-Wilson). In introducing the bill,
Rep. McGrady noted that the bill was before the committee to aid in
negotiations with the Senate, whose plan differs slightly from the House.
HB 280 would shift all misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases to juvenile
courts by 2019, while the Senate
proposal, which is included in their budget, would raise the age only for
misdemeanors and would not go into effect until 2020. It is likely that
these difference will be worked out by the chambers after the House passes
their version of the budget later this month.
The House voted 112-1 on Thursday to pass
SB 53: Law Enforcement Authority/ Custody of Child, which will now goes to the Governor. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim
Davis (R-Macon), would authorize law enforcement officers to obtain custody
of a child if a court determines that the child is in danger.
The House Committee on Regulatory Reform discussed, but did not vote on,
HB 590: Interior Design Profession Act
on Wednesday. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance), Pat
McElraft (R-Carteret), Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) and Susan Martin (R-Wilson),
would allow interior designers to voluntarily register with the state if
they had passed a national exam and proven continued education. Registered
designers would then be allowed to submit their own plans for permitting
purposes, which currently can only be done by an engineer or architect. The
bill sponsors indicated that HB 590 will come before the committee in
coming weeks for a vote.
The House voted 113-0 on Thursday in favor of
SB 24: Allow Restaurants to Use Outdoor Grills. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Tom McInnis (R-Rockingham), Jeff Tarte
(R-Mecklenburg) and Jim Davis (R-Macon), would allow restaurants to use an
outdoor grill to prepare foods. This would allow smaller restaurants, who
often cannot afford the fire safety equipment required to operate an indoor
grill, an alternate means to prepare food. The bill has been sent back to
the Senate, who must approve of changes made by the House, before it is
sent to the Governor.
The House and Senate voted to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of
HB 467: Agriculture and Forestry Nuisance Remedies. On Wednesday afternoon, the House voted 74-42 to override the veto and
the Senate voted 30-18 the next day. The bill goes into effect immediately.
President Trump Appoints Gov. Cooper to Opioid & Addiction Panel
President Donald Trump has
Gov. Cooper to a panel on the growing opioid epidemic. Upon accepting the
nomination Gov. Cooper noted, “we agree that opioid abuse, not only in
North Carolina, but across the country, is a significant problem.” The
panel will be chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
National Report on Transportation Examines North Carolina
released on Thursday by TRIP, a national transportation research group,
“Keeping North Carolina Mobile: Progress and Challenges in Providing an
Efficient, Safe and Well-Maintained Transportation System,” examines NC’s
transportation infrastructure and funding. While the report finds that NC
is ahead of most states, NC will only be able to fund 17% of necessary
projects in the next decade under current plans. The state is experiencing
significant population growth, 26% since 2000, which demands additional
infrastructure to ease congestion. Additionally, the report found that 44%
of urban and major roads in the state are in poor condition. The report
concludes that the modest increases in transportation funding are
insufficient to maintain and improve the state’s transportation