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NC Legislative Update - Special Session - August 9, 2017

August 9, 2017

Last Week

Lawmakers reconvened last Thursday for two sessions in one day.  Pursuant to the June 30th adjournment resolution, lawmakers were to reconvene August 3rd at 12:00 noon, in order to address veto overrides, unresolved conference reports, and several other matters as they saw fit.  Governor Cooper (D) called for an additional special session on the same day at 10:00AM, specifically for lawmakers to address the four vetoes he issued during the interim.  The NCGA convened for the special session called by the Governor and adjourned shortly thereafter without taking any action on veto overrides.  Lawmakers then reconvened at noon for their previously scheduled session.  Lawmakers still did not address any veto overrides, but they did pass several conference reports, as well as a local bill for the Speaker’s district and an appointments bill. 

One-day session bogs down over legislative push for regulatory veto – WRAL
Lawmakers select 18 people to serve on new education commissions – WRAL

The bills they passed include:

Senate Bill 560 – Clarify Cleveland Board of Education Election
Senate Bill 689 – 2017 Appointments Bill Modifications
Senate Bill 628 – Various Changes to Revenue Laws
House Bill 770 – Various Clarifying Changes.  Notable provisions include:

  • Makes clarifying changes to Ensure ESSA compliance;
  • Reduces single-stream funding for most LME/MCO’s and reallocates funds;
  • Makes changes to the appointments for membership of the NC Medical Board by reducing the number of Governor appointees from six to four, and creates two legislative appointments with the Speaker of the House and the Pro-Tem of the Senate each appointing one member;
  • Prohibits attorneys who are serving as trustees, from representing noteholders or borrowers while initiating a foreclosure proceeding;
  • Allows a member of the Lottery Commission to be an elected law enforcement official.

Most Mental Health Management Organizations to See Additional Trim – NC Health News

Senate Bill 16 – Business Regulatory Reform Act of 2017.  Notable provisions include:

  • Eliminates duplicative electrical equipment and appliance certification requirements;
  • Authorizes private condemnation of land for pipelines and mains originating outside of the state;
  • Implements “life-of-site” permitting for sanitary landfills;
  • Provides an extension for certain wastewater system permits;
  • Makes various changes to the authority of Commissioner of Labor;
  • Includes several studies.

Senate Bill 407 – Employee Misclassification/IC Changes

  • Enacts the Employee Fair Classification Act;
  • Requires the Industrial Commission to implement rules related to opioids and pain management;
  • Removes the requirement that the Industrial Commission study causes of injury and recommend ways to prevent injuries;
  • Delays the effective date for the requirement that employers respond to unemployment insurance claims in 10 days, from October 1, 2017 until July 1, 2018.

Four of those bills require action from the Governor.  Since the legislature did not adjourn for more than 30 days, the governor has 10 days to take action on them.  SB 560, a local bill, and SB 689, an appointments bill, do not require gubernatorial action and became law.

Notably, lawmakers amended the adjournment resolution to strike the scheduled September 6th special session and instead will reconvene on August 18th for redistricting, among other matters.  This was in response to the ruling by a federal three-judge panel that ordered lawmakers to draw new legislative district maps by September 1st.  The judges did not order a special election and the new maps will be in effect for the 2018 general election.  House Rules Chairman Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) noted that the 18th will be a no-vote session.  He said members should expect to be back in Raleigh the following Wednesday the 23rd or Thursday the 24th for voting sessions.  In addition to legislative redistricting, when lawmakers return near the end of the month, the amended adjournment resolution outlines several other criteria for matters the NCGA may address. 

Legislative schedule: Maps, veto votes later this month – WRAL
No special NC elections this year; judges order quick drawing of maps to correct unconstitutional gerrymanders – N&O

Eligible matters for the upcoming session include:

  • Revising the Senate and House legislative districts;
  • Revising the judicial divisions of the State, the superior court districts, the district court districts, and the prosecutorial districts;
  • Revising districts for cities, counties, and other political subdivisions of the State;
  • Adoption of conference reports;
  • Bills returned on or after Wednesday, June 28, 2017, to the house in which the bill originated for concurrence;
  • Bills relating to election laws.

The House and Senate Redistricting Committees met jointly on Friday morning to adopt redistricting criteria and offer a period for public comment.  Their next meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, August 10th at 10:00AM.

Action by the Governor

Gov. Cooper signed the vast majority of the bills on his desk into law during the 30-day window following the legislature’s June adjournment. 

He vetoed four bills:

House Bill 140 – Dental Plans Provider Contracts/Transparency
House Bill 205 – WC for Inmates/UI & WC/Newsprint Employees
House Bill 511 – Game Nights/Nonprofit Fund-Raiser
House Bill 576 – Allow Aerosolization of Leachate

He allowed four to become law without his signature:

House Bill 527 – Restore/Preserve Campus Free Speech
House Bill 528 – Budget Technical Corrections
House Bill 704 – Divide School Systems/Study Committee
House Bill 719 – Improve Security/Upper Level/Parking Lot 65

Cooper vetoes credit insurance measure, signs other bills – WRAL
Four bills become law without Cooper's signature – WRAL

In Other News

Sen. Tommy Tucker (R-Union), who is currently serving his 4th term in the NC Senate and Co-chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee, announced that he will not seek reelection in 2018. He cited among other reasons his belief in term limits and wanting to spend more time with his children. He intends to finish serving the remainder of his term.

Longtime Union County senator won’t seek re-election – Charlotte Observer

Governor Cooper expanded his lawsuit against the NCGA over separation of powers in a court brief filed on Tuesday.  The three complaints he added to the suit were directed at portions of the budget, which the Governor vetoed and the legislature overrode.

Cooper expands suit vs. GOP leadership, says parts of budget unconstitutional – WRAL

In the News

DHHS Reveals More Details about Medicaid Reform Plan – NC Health News
State to save money on retiree health plan renegotiation – WRAL
Cooper creates education commission – Daily Reflector
DEQ slow to define funding needs for GenX contamination – WRAL
Feds subpoena records from DEQ on chemical release in Cape Fear River – WRAL
Josh Stein cuts 45 positions in AG’s office: ‘We can’t do the last third’ – N&O
AG’s office argues state agency cannot be sued for violating public records law – WBTV
N. Carolina Dems 'fired up' as party reports campaign haul – WRAL
Six months, six things: A look at NC campaign fundraising – WRAL
New law will fine those who pass stopped school buses $400 or more – WNCN
Wind farm delay doesn't stop Cooper from signing solar bill – WRAL
Campus speech, smaller school district bills become law – N&O
New NC law makes clean slates easier for some criminals – WRAL
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Saine paves way for faster internet – Lincoln Times-News
Governor signs bill expanding teacher hiring pool – Carolina Journal
Gov. Cooper signs drone bills: Here's what changes – CBJ
Two new people just moved into North Carolina’s top-five highest paid state employees – N&O
GOP declines to make endorsement after two emerge for vacant Senate seat – Salisbury Post
NC Community College System president resigns – WRAL
Berger named to GOP legislators’ executive committee – Carolina Journal
GOP push back as state works up new rules to challenge votes – WRAL
NC NAACP calls for stop to all legislative decisions – ABC 11
Anarchist says she’ll fight subpoena in Orange County GOP firebombing case – N&O
Rhinos give gun rights banner to Senate "RINO?" Berger – WRAL
Democratic Party endorses challenger in Raleigh mayor’s race – N&O
Republicans help Jennifer Roberts’ challengers – including a Democrat – Charlotte Observer

The Nexsen Pruet Public Policy team provides attorneys and clients with a newsletter summarizing the week's activities and conveying the inner workings of the legislative process and state government in Raleigh. Please feel free to pass this along to your clients or other interested parties, email to be added to the list.