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NC Legislative Update: 2016 in Review

August 3, 2016

The 2016 Session

Lawmakers kept their promise of a truly short session this year. The legislature adjourned the 2015-16 Session sine die on Friday, July 1st, just before midnight. In total, the House was in session for 40 legislative days while the Senate was in session for 43 legislative days. After convening on April 25th, lawmakers completed the short session in just over two calendar months, a far cry from last year’s long session which lasted over nine months. On the last day of session, lawmakers finalized adjustments to the budget to match revenues, the primary purpose of the short session, to account for a $425 Million revenue surplus. In total, the budget was adjusted upward by 2.8% to $22.34 Billion. The higher than expected revenues activate another automatic cut to the corporate income tax, dropping from 4% to 3% effective in 2017. The personal income tax rate will also drop from 5.7% to 5.49%.

141 bills became law during the short session. The Governor had until this past Sunday, July 31st to sign or veto legislation on his desk, or let any unsigned bills remaining after the 30-day window, become law without his signature. He did not veto any legislation following the end of session. Perhaps more interesting than what did pass this year are the several high profile pieces of legislation that did not pass. Many of those will be reintroduced in the 2017-18 session. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, lawmakers are not scheduled to return until next year on January 11, 2017 to convene the 2017-18 General Assembly. There will be at least 20 new members. In the interim, necessary renovations will take place to the Legislative building, including asbestos removal, which will close the third floor of the building. 
Legislators end short session – Wilkes Journal-Patriot 
Several high-profile bills left behind by lawmakers – WRAL 
What NC lawmakers did – and didn’t do – in the short session – Charlotte Observer 
Leaks blowing roof off Legislative Building – WRAL

The State Budget

After reaching an agreement on the 235-page, $22.34 Billion budget, the two chambers passed the Conference Report for House Bill 1030, which includes a 2.8% spending increase over fiscal year 2015-16. The Senate passed the budget, largely along party lines 36-14. The House passed the budget with strong bipartisan numbers of 91-22, with 19 Democrats voting with the Republican majority. Among the provisions, the budget:

General Provisions

  • Provides additional $475 Million to the Savings Reserve Account, or “rainy day fund”, bringing the total to nearly $1.6 Billion, almost 8% of state’s annual spending for any future economic downturns or emergencies
  • Provides $500,000 for Zika virus prevention
  • Uses $18 million from the sale of the Dorothea Dix campus to expand inpatient behavioral health beds targeting rural areas
  • Provides $7.7 million for graduate medical residency program at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center
  • Accelerates the repeal of the Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) for Mission Hospital from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2016
  • Provides $11 Million to create a Asheville campus for the UNC School of Medicine
  • Funds additional 300 slots for Alzheimer’s patients and their families through the Community Alternative Program for Disabled Adults
  • Increases average teacher pay from $47,783 to $54,224 over the next three years
  • Establishes a pilot program awarding performance based bonuses for 3rd grade teachers
  • Fully funds enrollment growth for K-12, community colleges and university system
  • Establishes $34.8 Million opportunity scholarship grant fund reserve for need-based scholarships
  • Establishes tuition reimbursement pilot program for up to 25 teacher assistants per County in Anson, Franklin, Moore, Richmond, and Scotland Counties who pursue a full teaching degree
  • Reduces in-state tuition to $500 per semester at Western Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, and UNC Pembroke beginning in 2018, and stabilize tuition increases at other institutions
  • Provides a permanent 1.5% pay increase for state employees; a 0.5% one-time bonus for state employees; and 1.6% cost of living bonus for retired state employees
  • Repeals the $500,000 cap on state funding for light rail projects effective for the next round of project prioritization, but adds other restrictions
  • Provides additional $32 Million for Strategic Transportation Investment, allowing for new highway projects over the next decade

Finance Provisions

The Finance portion of the budget contains various modifications to North Carolina tax law. Among other provisions the budget:

  • Increases the standard deduction on personal income, or the “zero tax bracket” for married filing jointly, from $15,500 to $17,500, over 2 years in $1,000 increments.
  • Expands the 1%/$80 tax cap for mill machinery to include: 1) certain machinery and equipment for companies located at a port, used in the process of unloading cargo and; 2) certain equipment used in recycling metal, extracting precious metals, or the fabrication of metal work
  • Directs NC Department of Revenue (DOR) to promulgate rules to implement market based sourcing by January 20th, 2017. The rules will not take effect until the General Assembly takes further action in implementing market based sourcing.
  • In an attempt to “equalize” the impact of the sales tax expansion enacted in 2015, the General Assembly added sales taxes to similar services that had previously been exempt from those taxes. The budget, which passed at the end of the session included taxes on services that were performed as Repair, Maintenance, and Installation (RMI) services. In addition to requiring the consumer to pay the tax, the vendor now has to collect and remit the tax. There is some uncertainty as to the application of these new taxes,butDOR should clarify the issues before the effective date of January 1, 2017. Generally speaking,RMI services are now subject to the sales tax, with the following exemptions:
    • Inspections required by law;
    • Services by a related member;
    • Punch lists on construction on real property;
    • Cleaning of real property other than a pool, fish tank, or other similar aquatic feature;
    • Services to roads, driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks;
    • Removing of waste, trash, debris, grease, and snow, but does not exclude removal of waste from portable toilets;
    • Home inspections relating to the preparation for sale of real property;
    • Landscaping services;
    • Alteration and repair of clothing, but not rental clothing; Perhaps alteration and repair of belts and shoes may be exempt also, but this is not clear;
    • Pest control service;
    • Moving services;
    • Self-service car washes;
    • Services purchased for resale;
    • Certain installation charges; and
    • Storage of motor vehicles and towing services.
  • Exempts service contracts from sales tax for: 1) RMI, which includes the exemptions above, except for the cleaning of a pool, fish tank, or other similar aquatic feature and; 2) motor vehicle service contracts
  • Exempts from sales tax fuel, piped natural gas, and electricity sold to a secondary metals recycler for use in recycling at its facility at which the primary activity is recycling


House Dems criticize state budget, but many vote for it – WRAL
NC budget compromise: Teacher raises, low college tuition, tax cut – N&O
Lawmakers’ pet projects get $47 million in new NC budget – N&O
State budget provision could return ER to Franklin County – WRAL

Revenue Law Changes

The General Assembly enacted a number of changes recommended by DOR. A majority of the changes were included in Senate Bill 729. However, a provision to require the Department of Revenue to publish on its website, private letter rulings that give specific guidance to individual taxpayers who request it, within 90 days after the written determination is provided to the taxpayer was included inSenate Bill 481. Other enacted revenue law changes include:

  • Repeals the annual franchise or privilege tax on mutual burial associations for taxes dues on or after April 1, 2017
  • Defines a "qualified air freight forwarder" as a company that is an affiliate of an airline and whose air freight forwarding business is primarily carried on with that affiliated airline
  • Clarifies that an exercise of the royalty reporting option by a taxpayer does not affect whether the taxpayer has nexus and does not permit receipts to be excluded from the calculation of the sales factor
  • Excludes financial swaps and other similar financial derivatives, and certain receipts in the nature of dividends from the definition of "sales" that determine how much of a multistate corporate taxpayer's income is subject to tax in NC
  • Makes the definition of deductible interest expense paid between parent and subsidiary corporations consistent for in-State and out-of-State companies
  • Limits the qualified interest expense deduction for interest paid to a related corporation to 15% (from 30%) of a corporate taxpayer's adjusted taxable income and allows an unlimited qualified interest expense deduction if the corporate taxpayer can trace the interest expense to a unrelated lender
  • Makes various changes to deductions for personal income tax
  • Changes the term "conditional service contract" to "conditional contract" so that the transactions in the statutory section will not be confused with a service contract
  • Clarifies that a “park model RV” is a recreational vehicle and the sale is subject to the highway use tax with a cap of $2,000
  • Conforms the bonding requirements for entities that must pay excise tax on cigarettes and tobacco products
  • Clarifies the applicability of the tax on other tobacco products (OTP) to specify that the OTP rate does not apply to cigarettes that are taxed at 45¢ per pack and does not apply to vapor products that are taxed at 5¢ per mL of consumable product
  • Authorizes wine shippers to file excise tax returns on shipments once a year, rather than monthly

Notable Legislation

Crowdfunding & Utility Use of Municipal Right-of-Way
The first provision of Senate Bill 481 exempts certain transactions from the North Carolina Securities Act. The new exemption allows crowdfunding transactions where in-state businesses can sell securities to in-state investors, called an intrastate transaction. The amounts of securities that can be sold by NC issuers and bought by NC investors are limited. An offering would be limited to $1 Million for a business without a current audit or review and $2 Million for a business with a current audit or review. Each non-accredited investor would be limited to contributing no more than $5,000 individually. Accredited investors may purchase an unlimited amount, subject to the limit on the offering size. Another provision would prohibit a city from imposing a fee on gas, telecommunications, electricity, or video programming utilities for activities conducted in the city's right-of-way, unless the city's right-of-way management expenses related to these activities exceeds distributions. The bill also contained the DOR private letter rulings provision noted under Revenue Law Changes.

Coal Ash
Following Gov. McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 71, which made changes to the Coal Ash Management Act, the two chambers passed House Bill 630, a compromise between the legislative and executive branches. After meeting privately with the Governor and House leaders, the Senate used the “gut and amend” tactic to put the language in a House Bill that had been sitting in the Senate Rules Committee since April of last year. The bill repeals all provisions related to the Coal Ash Management Commission in the General Statutes and modifies appointments and other provisions governing the Mining Commission and the Oil and Gas Commission. It also requires the owner of a coal ash basin to provide permanent alternative water supplies for residents in areas surrounding the site. It provides for the reconsideration of risk classifications for coal ash basin based on fulfillment of certain criteria, allowing some of the basins to be classified as low-risk and capped in place. This legislation could save Duke Energy millions of dollars in cleanup costs. Environmental groups opposed the legislation, although there was little time for public input. 
Lawmakers approve easing coal ash law – WRAL

Farm Act of 2016
Among other provisions, Senate Bill 770:

  • Grants the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) several new powers to enforce the DACS bedding sanitation program
  • Authorizes DACS to appoint and deploy agricultural emergency response teams to respond to agricultural emergencies.

  • Authorizes employees of the Wildlife Resources Commission and employees of federal agencies whose responsibilities include fisheries and wildlife management, to cull feral swine from an aircraft with the written permission of the landowner

  • Eliminates the rendering plant inspection committee

  • Allow local school boards to develop and implement policies to facilitate and maximize purchases of food grown or raised in North Carolina

  • Extends the sunset for the production credit for commercial facilities for processing renewable fuel from January 1, 2017 to January 1, 2020.

  • Clarifies that a building permit is not required for certain work costing less than $15,000 provided that the work is performed in accordance with the current edition of the North Carolina State Building Code

  • Exempts any activity that constitutes a bona fide farm use, including the production of mulch, ornamental plants, sod, and other horticultural products from the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act

  • Waives or prorates deferred taxes when property under present use valuation (PUV) is transferred for less than its true value to a nonprofit entity for conservation or historical preservation

  • Adds section extending the renewable energy tax credit for swine and poultry waste renewable energy facilities to January 1st 2017 for those in the public utility's interconnection queue, provided that prior to May 21, 2016, the facility has: entered into the interconnection queue and; either obtained a certificate of public convenience and necessity or reported to the Utilities Commission that it proposes to construct the facility

Wild hogs can now be shot from helicopters in North Carolina – N&O 
Farm bill benefits agriculture, governor – N&O

DOT Proposed Legislative Changes 
House Bill 959 makes revisions to various transportation laws. One provision requires individuals riding a bicycle to have a red rear light or wear a reflective vest or clothing visible from a distance of at least 300 feet from the rear when riding at night. Another section repeals a law that reduces the penalty from a misdemeanor to an infraction, for a vehicle owner who fails to sign their registration card with pen and ink upon receipt. The most notable provision repeals the MAP Act, a law that allowed DOT to restrict the use of private property falling under a proposed corridor for a potential future project. The MAP Act was recently found to be an unconstitutional taking by the NC Supreme Court, and could result in millions of dollars owed by the state to the affected landowners. 
House Passes bill effectively nullifying Map Act – Carolina Journal

Police Body Cameras
House bill 972, regulates the disclosure of footage from police body cameras and dashboard cameras statewide, excluding both from public record laws. Concerns about transparency were raised as reviewing the footage will be more difficult under the new legislation. 
NC Senate votes to regulate release of body-cam footage – N&O

Statewide Standing Order/Opioid Antagonist
Senate Bill 734, is designed to help combat overdoses from various legal and illegal drugs, by making it easier for individuals to access an opioid antagonist. The bill would allow anyone to purchase naloxone hydrochloride, which is used to treat overdose from heroin and prescription pain killers, at a pharmacy under a standing order from the NC State Health Director. Expanding access to the drug is seen by many as a way to save countless lives as the rate of deaths caused by overdose in NC has skyrocketed in recent decades.

LegalZoom Bill 
House Bill 436 amends the definition of what constitutes the “practice of law” in North Carolina. The bill excludes from the definition of the practice of law, certain websites offering interactive software to produce legal documents. The bill is the result of a multiyear dispute between the NC State Bar and the company LegalZoom. Last year, the two parties were close to an agreement but the legislation ultimately failed. This bill is the result of the agreement between the parties to allow LegalZoom to operate in NC and mirrors a consent judgement entered into by the parties in 2015.

Achievement School District 
House Bill 242 gives the State the authority to authorize the transfer of administration of up to five low-performing, public schools to a private charter school administrator under one Achievement School District (ASD). The five schools would be administrated by a superintendent of the ASD appointed by the NC Board of Education. Opponents argued that similar proposals have not proven successful, citing Tennessee as an example. 
NC Senate OKs state takeover of 5 struggling schools – N&O

LLC Clarifications & Employee Invention Ownership 
Senate Bill 482 makes technical and clarifying changes to the LLC Act. It further defines employer and employee rights to inventions of the employee. The bill adds language stating that unless provided for otherwise in an employee’s written agreement, an employer’s vested ownership of an employee’s invention is not subject to revocation or rescission if a dispute arises concerning payment of compensation or benefits to the employee. The bill was advocated for by business interests to strengthen an employer’s property protections in regards to the ownership of an invention, discovery, or development created using company resources by an employee.

Bitcoin Bill
House Bill 289, the Money Transmitters Act, is a compromise between the virtual currency industry, which includes bitcoins, and the banking industry generally. The bill gives the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks more authority to regulate those currencies in NC, which some investors say could be a boost for entrepreneurs and the State’s economy. 
North Carolina Governor Signs Bitcoin Bill Into Law – Coin Desk

Natural Gas Economic Development Infrastructure 
Senate Bill 673 allows for cost recovery through rates by a natural gas local distribution company that constructs natural gas economic development infrastructure in an eligible area where a project is not otherwise economically feasible. The Department of Commerce would determine whether a project meets certain criteria, including an investment of, or an intent to invest, at least $200 Million in improvements and employ at least 1,500 people. The bill is effective when it becomes law and expires July 1, 2021.

Elections Omnibus Revisions 
Senate Bill 667 makes a number of changes to provisions regarding elections and election administration. One provision would require the State to be a party to all actions related to the validity or constitutionality of a local act enacted by the General Assembly, and for the Attorney General to represent the State in those actions. The bill also proposes a study on holding municipal elections on even-numbered years beginning in the 2020 election cycle. Another provision, which has received the most attention, would rearrange the ballot order for the Court of Appeals to mirror how candidates for partisan races are listed. Democrats claim that the change was made to ensure Republicans running for the Court of Appeals appear first on the ballot, which includes the son of the President Pro-Tem.

Sheyenne’s Law
Prior to House Bill 958, the penalty for seriously injuring or killing someone while operating a boat under the influence was a Class 2 misdemeanor. This bill makes it a felony with comparable penalties for similar offenses that occur on the highways. The bill is in response to the death of Sheyenne Marshall, who was knee boarding and run over by an impaired boater at Lake Norman last year.

NC/SC Border Shift
North Carolina will likely gain 16 new households by way of altering the state line with South Carolina, in response to a discussion that began in the mid-90’s regarding the 300 plus-mile border between the two states. Three North Carolinian home owners may also find themselves Palmetto State tax payers depending on the outcome of legislation and discussions with South Carolina. Senate Bill 575, filed by Sen. Tucker (R-Union), would shift the state line, moving the aforementioned residents into the opposite state. It would also split 54 properties, the owners of which could decide in which state they wish to reside. Governor McCrory has signed the bill into law but no official action has been taken on changing the Stateline.

Legislation in the News: 
NC Senate opts against vote on Whitewater Center plan – Charlotte Observer 
Needle/ Syringe Exchange Bill Has Good Shot at Becoming Law – NC Health News 
'Blue Alert' will aid in search for those who assault police – WRAL 
Lead testing, water park testing bill clears House – WRAL 
Bill would force NC attorney general to defend redistricting, other local acts – Winston-Salem Journal

Unfinished Business

The failure of two local bills in the House sponsored by two powerful Senators was evidence of the friction between the two chambers and was largely responsible for an abrupt adjournment. The House Finance Committee rejected Senate Bill 46 entitled Jacksonville Occupancy Tax, sponsored by Sen. Brown (R-Onslow), the Senate Majority Leader and Senior Appropriations Chairman. The bill would have used revenues from the tax to build a sporting complex or stadium. During a contentious debate, several House members noted that the bill violated a House rule requiring revenues from occupancy taxes be used to promote tourism. Later that evening, the full House rejected Senate Bill 897, sponsored by Sen. Apodaca (R-Henderson), the Senate Rules Chairman, which would have redistricted the City of Asheville. Sen. Apodaca was in the House chamber when a bipartisan coalition voted 47-59 against the measure. When approached by reporters Sen. Apodaca, who is retiring from the Senate, said "I'm sure they're just sending a goodbye present to me."
Fractious House shoots down Asheville redistricting measure – WRAL
House Republicans stood up to questionable process – Citizen-Times

Other bills that failed to gain the approval of both chambers, many of which lawmakers have already indicated will be readdressed again in the 2017-18 session, included:

  • Certificate of Need (CON) repeal was unveiled in the Senate Health Committee near the end of session, as a PCS to a bill that originally provided for making the bobcat the State cat. This proposal never received a vote
  • Major changes to House Bill 2
  • Wake County Commission re-redistricting
  • House Bill 1048 – Reduce Barriers to Improve NC Health & Safety which would have prevented health insurers from requiring a process called Step Therapy, whereby patients must try less expensive, generic drugs before insurance will cover a more expensive drug
  • House Bill 954 – Terminate Agreement for Tolling of I-77
  • Omnibus Constitutional Amendments, House Bill 3, which contained three independent constitutional amendments dealing with: reducing the maximum income tax from 10% to 5.5%; preserving the right to hunt and fish; and eminent domain
  • House bill 100 – Local Government Immigration Compliance, which would withhold state funding to cities and counties for roads and schools if they were not following state laws on immigration; and prevent police officers from accepting ID cards from nonprofit groups and local governments to identify people
  • Perennial regulatory changes in Senate Bill 303, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2016
  • House Bill 763 – Military Operations Protections Act of 2016 which included restrictions on wind farms
  • House Bill 593 – Amend Environmental & Other Laws
  • House Bill 976 – Enhance Oversight of Service Contracts/PED
  • Senate Bill 821 – The perennial GSC Technical Corrections bill

House Bill 2

Prior to the short session, lawmakers called themselves into a special session to respond to a municipal ordinance by the City of Charlotte. The Charlotte City Council adopted an ordinance allowing individuals in public spaces to choose the bathroom corresponding to the gender with which they identify. Lawmakers overturned the ordinance in House Bill 2, requiring individuals to use the restroom corresponding with the gender on their birth certificate. However, the bill also contained provisions to prevent all Counties and Cities from raising the minimum wage locally or adopting additional nondiscrimination ordinances beyond the statewide policy which omits gender identity and sexual orientation. An additional provision eliminated the ability of employees who are fired to file suit in State court for alleged discriminatory termination based on race, gender, handicap, religion or age among other reasons.

Amid both internal and external pressure to fix or repeal the measure, discussions began in the last week of session regarding a potential change to House Bill 2. Governor McCrory (R) addressed a joint caucus of House and Senate Republicans to discuss the proposed changes. He also met independently with Senate Democrats at the Governor’s mansion in an attempt to move forward with the “fix”. Draft legislation circulated later in the week included restoring a plaintiff’s ability to file discriminatory termination suits in State Court among other minor changes. The NBA however issued a press release stating that the changes were insufficient to satisfy their concerns over the antidiscrimination provisions of HB2. In the waning hours of session, lawmakers used an unrelated Conference Report for House Bill 169 to pass a stand-alone provision restoring plaintiff’s ability to sue in state court for wrongful discharge due to discrimination. Prior to HB2, the statute of limitations was three years which was reduced to one under this change. The budget technical corrections bill also contained an appropriation of $500,000 to defend the State in litigation over HB2. Following the end of session, the NBA decided to move the 2017 All Star game from North Carolina, citing House Bill 2 as the reason.
McCrory says NC will defend voter ID without attorney general – N&O
McCrory stands ground on HB2 after NBA decision, calls controversy 'PC BS' – WRAL
2017 PGA Championship to stay in Charlotte despite HB2 controversy – Charlotte Observer
Bipartisan coalition to pass HB2 changes fell apart amid pressure from Roy Cooper – WBTV
Lawmakers reverse small piece of HB2 – WRAL
Lawmakers set aside $500,000 for HB2 litigation – WRAL

Resignations & Retirements

When the General Assembly convenes next year, there will be a number of freshman legislators. Several areas will have new representation in the General Assembly due to “open seats” where the incumbent is not seeking reelection. The Senate is losing two members of the Pro-Tem’s leadership team including his top lieutenant, Sen. Apodaca (R-Henderson), the Senate Rules Chairman and Sen. Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), a senior Finance Chairman. The worst kept secret in the Raleigh this year has been that Sen. Apodaca intends to become a lobbyist next year. With exactly 6 months left in his term, Apodaca resigned from the Senate on July 15th in order to meet the 6-month cooling off period required for legislators before they can register to lobby. Local Republican operatives are expected to appoint Chuck Edwards, the Republican nominee for the seat in November. Other members not seeking reelection include longtime public servants Sen. Bingham (R-Davidson) and Sen. Hartsell (R-Cabarrus). Hartsell, who had previously decided not to run, was recently indicted for filing false campaign finance reports. Sen. Newton (R-Nash) and Sen. Stein (D-Wake) were unable to seek reelection as they are both running for Attorney General.
Retirements shake up General Assembly – N&O
Apodaca resigns from Senate seat – WRAL
Edwards likely to fill Senate seat before election – Blue Ridge Now

In the House, several tenured members are not seeking reelection. Members who chose not to seek reelection include: Speaker Pro-Tem Rep. Stam (R-Wake); Rep. Daughtry (R-Johnston); Rep. Langdon (R-Johnston); Rep. Baskerville (D-Vance); Rep. R. Brown (R-Davidson); Rep. Cotham (D-Mecklenburg); Rep. Waddell (D-Columbus); Rep. Whitmire (R-Transylvania); and Rep. Tine (U-Dare). Rep. Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) is running for Senate. Two incumbents in the House also lost their primaries to challengers. Rep. Robinson (R-Caldwell), who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former Rep. Edgar Starnes, was defeated in his bid to retain the seat by attorney Destin Hall. Freshman Rep. Johnson (D-Guilford) passed away on the day of the primary after suffering from a stroke earlier in the year. He lost in the primary to Greensboro Pastor, Amos Quick who, with no opposition in November, will fill the seat in 2017. However, the Guilford County Democratic Party chose Chris Sgro, executive director of EqualityNC, to serve the remainder of Johnson’s term.
Daughtry, Langdon close careers in N.C. House – N&O

Rep. Jeter (R-Mecklenburg) abruptly resigned on Monday July 25th. Jeter was in his second term and was the House Republican Conference Chairman, whose responsibility is to manage the political wing and election efforts of the House majority caucus. Jeter was considered the most vulnerable House Republican, facing a tough reelection as a moderate in a swing district in suburban Mecklenburg County. Jeter cited wanting to spend more time with his family as the reason for his departure. Rep. Dixon (R-Duplin) is expected to fill Jeter’s vacated leadership role of House Republican Conference Chairman.
Rep. Charles Jeter resigns – WRAL

The House will also be without a stalwart of the chamber when the 2017-18 Session convenes in January. Longtime and beloved House Principal Clerk, Denise Weeks will retire by the end of the year. She had intended to retire on May 1st, but was convinced by leaders in both parties to stay on through the short session. To prevent her from retiring altogether, bipartisan legislation, House Bill 1019, was filed by Rep. G. Martin (D-Wake) and Rep. Torbett (R-Gaston). The bill establishes duties a Principal Clerk of the House of Representatives must realize to be eligible for retirement and was debated by the Committee of the Whole, which is the full House. The bill paid homage to Mrs. Weeks, recognizing her many accolades as requirements for retirement eligibility, with the exception of one. The last duty in the proposed legislation requires the House Principal Clerk to serve in the role for 50 years, preventing her from retiring for another 27 years. The House passed the resolution unanimously in the last few minutes of the session. The problem is Denise plans to retire anyway.

The Council of State will also see at least two new faces. Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) decided to challenge Gov. McCrory in a run for Governor, opening the Attorney General’s seat which is being sought by Sen. Newton and former Sen. Stein. The State will also have a new Treasurer as Janet Cowell (D) chose not to seek reelection. Former Speaker Pro-Tem and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce at the Division of Employment Security, Dale Folwell (R), and former Wake County Democratic Party Chairman and son of the current Senate Minority Leader, Dan Blue III (D) are the respective nominees vying to replace her.

2016 Session Laws

Link to North Carolina General Assembly to view all 2016 laws.

In the News

Court ruling on voter ID bill could affect North Carolina races – N&O
Dynamic duo? Gardner, Tillis eye NRSC co-chairmanship – Politico
Faced with early retirements, NC lawmakers extend pension law – N&O
HB2 unlikely to drive voter turnout, decisions – WRAL
N.C. pension fund posts another slow-growth quarter – TBJ
Parents fight against plan to cut services for children with special needs – WRAL
Over half a million eligible voters have lived in NC for less than 5 years – UNC Demography
Amendment lowering income tax rate cap will return – Carolina Journal
House Speaker Tim Moore’s campaign plans possible libel lawsuit – N&O
N.C. State free-speech decision could set precedent – Carolina Journal
How they voted is a supreme secret – WRAL
Legislature will remain a prize – Carolina Journal
Restoration coming to NC Capitol – N&O
Sen. Richard Burr visits Bitty and Beau’s Coffee shop – Port City Daily

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