CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS

Jul 21, 2017

NCGA Week in Review

When the NC General Assembly adjourned the 2017 long session, they did so with the intention of returning to the capital twice this year to wrap up some unfinished business. Legislators are slated to return to Raleigh in two weeks, on August 3, and then again on September 6. Additionally, this week the Governor took action on 40 bills and made a public announcement opposing offshore drilling and seismic testing off of the state’s coast, and a lawsuit between legislative leaders and the Governor on Medicaid expansion has been dropped.

 

New Laws & A Veto

This week the Governor took action on 40 bills, signing 39 and vetoing one. 48 bills remain on Gov. Cooper’s desk. With the 30-day mark, where the Governor must either take action on legislation on his desk or allow it to go into effect without his signature, coming up at the end of this month, a flurry of action is likely.

Signed Into Law:

HB 26: Worker’s Comp/ Approval of Disputed Legal Fees

HB 30: Various Special Registration Plates

HB 115: Retirement Technical Correction Act of 2017. -AB

HB 135: Technical Changes to Courses of Study Statute

HB 149: Students W/ Dyslexia and Dyscalculia

HB 176: Pensions Integrity Act of 2017- AB

HB 183: Retirement Admin. Changes Act of 2017 – AB

HB 252: Building Code Regulatory Reform

HB 258: Amend Med. Mal. Health Care Provider Defin.

HB 275: No Stormwater Fees on Taxiways or Runways

HB 283: DHHS Recommend Telemedicine Policy

HB 299: State Health Plan Administrative Changes. –AB

HB 383: NAIC Models/ ORSA & Credit for Reinsurance-AB

HB 436: Local Government/ Regulatory Fees.

HB 464: Revise Schedule of Controlled Substances

HB 466: The Pharmacy Patient Fair Practices Act

HB 501: DOT/ Surveying Information in Plans

HB 532: Modify UNC Laboratory Schools

HB 548: Equalize Treatment of Wastewater Products

HB 550: Establish New Nurse Licensure Compact

HB 620: UNC Capital Projects

SB 78: Cost to Comply/ Fed Ed Funds/ PED Study

SB 88: Landlord/ Tenant-Alias & Pluries Summary Eject

SB 100: Aerial Adventure Financial Responsibility

SB 104: Require Criminal BGC/ Pharmacist Licensure

SB 107: Streamline Dam Removal

SB 196: Veterinary Practice Omnibus

SB 338: Disaster Recovery Act of 2017

SB 388: Incapacity to Proceed

SB 391: Ferry Transportation Authority

SB 413: Clarify Motor Vehicle Dealer Laws

SB 415: Clarify Def’n of Collection Agency

SB 450: Uniform Trust Decanting Act

SB 489: Clarify Workers’ Comp. Policy Cancellation

SB 548: Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws/ Studies

SB 567: Reform/ Correct/ Wills and Trusts

SB 569: Uniform Power of Attorney Act

SB 593: Arbitration and Mediation for Business Court

SB 621: Business Contracts/ Choice of Law and Forum

Vetoed:

On Tuesday, the Governor vetoed HB 205: WC for Inmates/ UI & WC/ Newsprint Employees. When HB 205 left the House, the bill only contained provisions to require the average weekly wage of inmates employed under the Prison Industry Enhancement Program be calculated in accordance with the NC Workers’ Compensation Act. While in the Senate, provisions were added to the bill to:

  • Classify newsprint carriers, who have been classified as independent contractors in the state of NC since 2003, as employees of the newspaper they are employed by.
  • Modernize publication of legal advertisements and notices to require newspapers to legal advertisements on their websites at no additional cost.
  • Allow Guilford County and any municipality within the county to use electronic means to provide public notice instead of publication.
  • Allow Guilford County to opt to post legal advertisements and notices on the county website for a fee, with money collected to be used for local supplements for teachers and other county needs.

In his veto message, the Governor noted that he supports the original content of the legislation, but opposes the bill because it “enacts retribution on the media.” The bill has been returned to the legislature and is eligible for consideration in both the August and September sessions.

 

Gov. Cooper Takes Stance on Offshore Drilling & Seismic Testing

At a press conference on Thursday morning, Gov. Cooper said he will oppose seismic testing and offshore drilling off the coast of NC, and that the Department of Environmental Quality will submit detailed comments to the federal government today. North Carolina is on the list of potential off-shore drilling locations after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to expand off-shore drilling in April. In his statement, Gov. Cooper said that the risks do not outweigh the benefits of offshore drilling and seismic testing, and that is the duty of North Carolinians to protect the coast.

 

Legislators Drop Lawsuit Challenging Medicaid Expansion Attempt

In early January, prior to the transition between the Obama and Trump administrations, Gov. Cooper announced that he planned to take immediate executive action to expand Medicaid, in defiance of a state law that gives the legislature sole power to do so. A lawsuit between GOP leadership and the Governor followed, but was dropped this week because Gov. Cooper never submitted formal paperwork for expansion and the suit is now unnecessary. NC is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid.

 

What to Expect in August & September at the NCGA

Per SJR 686: Adjournment Resolution, the NC General Assembly is slated to return to Raleigh twice in the coming months, reconvening first on August 3, and then again on September 6.

In August, the legislature is authorized to consider vetoes issued by the Governor, nominations and appointments, bills responding to litigation concerning state congressional, legislative, judicial, municipal and county maps, bills that were returned to their originating chamber by June 28 for concurrence, bills providing for impeachment and revenue related bills that have either passed a second floor vote in the receiving chamber but have not been taken up for a third reading or have passed a second, but not third, reading for concurrence, which means that the following bills can be taken up.

Vetoed:

HB 576: Allow Aerosolization of Leachate

HB 511: Game Nights/ Nonprofit Fundraiser

HB 205: WC for Inmates/ UI & WC/ Newsprint Employees

In Conference:

HB 56: Amend Environmental Laws

HB 90: NC Truth in Education

HB 162: Amend Administrative Procedure Laws

HB 403: Behavioral Health and Medicaid Modifications

HB 482: County Comm. Role in School Bldg. Acquisition

HB 770: Amend Environmental Laws 3

SB 16: Business & Agency Reg. Reform Act of 2017

SB 99: Report Certain CTR Data/ Auto Ins. Accuracy

SB 335: Study/ Fair Treatment of College Athletes

SB 582: Agency Technical Corrections

SB 628: Various Changes to the Revenue Laws

SB 656: Electoral Freedom Act of 2017

Returned for Concurrence:

SB 114: Annual Reports/ Prop. Tax/ Recodification Comm.

SB 223: Exclude Tiers 1 & 2 from JDIG Cap

Passed 2nd Reading in Receiving Chamber:

SB 552: Omnibus Occupancy Taxes

Related to Impeachment:

HB 925: Creation of House Select Investigatory Com’t

In addition to the above legislation, in September, the legislature may also consider bills proposing an amendment to the NC Constitution and making statutory changes to implement those constitutional amendments, meaning the following bills are eligible.

Constitutional Amendments:

HB 3 / SB 34: Eminent Domain

HB 105: Const. Amendment – Limit Governor/ LG to 2 Terms

HB 133: Elect the State Board of Education

HB 148: Amend NC Constitution – Literacy Requirement

HB 145: Repeal Const. Reg. of Concealed Weapons

HB 146: Citizen’s Allegiance to U.S. Constitution

HB 147: Amend NC Constitution – Remove Secession

HB 193: Legislative Four-Year Terms

HB 413: Limit Legislative Service to 16 Years

HB 551 / SB 595: Strengthening Victims’ Rights

HB 674: Independent Redistricting Commission

HB 727: Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights

HB 735: Redistricting by Computer

HB 819: Protect NC Right to Work Constitutional Amendment

HB 820 / SB 631: Protect Right to Work/ Conforming Changes

SB 75: Const. Amd. – Max Income Tax Rate of 5.5%

SB 677: Protect Right to Hunt and Fish

Moreover, the SJR 686 requires the legislature to redraw the state’s legislative maps, in which 28 districts have been ruled unconstitutional racial gerrymanders, no later than November 15. There will be some clarity towards this process next week as the Joint Select Committee on Redistricting meets on Wednesday and a three-judge federal panel will hear arguments the following day on when maps should be withdrawn and if a special election should be held prior to November 2018.