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NC Legislative Update: July 19, 2019

July 19, 2019

Legislators spent a short week in Raleigh with the Senate holding session Monday and Tuesday, and the House working Monday through Wednesday. Despite being on the calendar every day, the House has still not taken a vote on Governor Cooper’s veto of the budget. The State is currently operating under a statutory continuing resolution that keeps spending levels at last year’s levels until a new budget is adopted.

The Senate has announced that they will be in town for several days next week and then may adjourn for an indefinite amount of time. House Speaker Tim Moore has indicated that the House will stay in session until a budget deal is struck.

In a press conference this week, Senate leader Phil Berger listed his remaining priorities outside of a budget for the session as Certificate of Need (CON) reform, the annual Farm Act, the Excellent Public Schools Act, and an adjournment resolution.

WRAL: https://www.wral.com/no-end-in-sight-for-state-budget-fight/18513333/

Senate Spending Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee amended House Bill 961 to add provisions that will ensure that the State can spend federal grant money in light of the budget stalemate. The bill contains provisions that are usually included in the budget, and legislators feared that the continuing resolution that is currently in place would not allow the State to spend federal dollars. The bill largely involves grants received by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), but also contains authorization to spend disaster relief money, and agriculture assistance dollars. The House passed a similar bill last week that contained more funding, but is also intended to ensure federal grants will be available.

Certificate of Need Reform

The Senate Health Committee voted to approve a controversial bill reforming the State’s Certificate of Need (CON) laws. The Senate has tried several times this year to pass CON reform, but have not had the votes to get it further than committee, having to pull the bill from the calendar and send it back to committee for modifications. House Bill 126 is the latest effort, and contains increases for spending thresholds, limits on how long a CON can be held, exemptions for home health care and behavioral health, and a CON repeal for dialysis in counties over 300,000 in population. The bill is not expected to move in the House if it gets there, but many people believe that the Senate will have trouble passing the bill out of their own chamber. 

Announcement for Governor

North Carolina Representative Holly Grange announced this week that she will run for Governor in 2020. Representative Grange was appointed to the NC House in 2016 to fill former Representative Rick Catlin’s term and she has won reelection twice. She will likely face Lieutenant Governor Dan Forrest in a Republican primary.

WRAL: https://www.wral.com/republican-lawmaker-running-for-governor/18517340/

Hemp Controversy

The House Finance Committee approved the 2019 NC Farm Act this week, but not before amending the bill’s controversial hemp section. Federal law changes last year have opened the door for states to legalize hemp production and hemp derived products. The Senate version of the bill allowed for smokable hemp products, which are some of the most profitable use of the plant. However, many members of the House have concerns with smokable hemp, and an amendment was adopted in the Finance Committee to outlaw smokable hemp.

Advocates for smokable hemp say that it is a vital revenue stream for hemp growers and that farmers will struggle to make the industry profitable without it. Opponents of smokable hemp call it a backdoor path to marijuana legalization and say that it will make the law hard to enforce. Prosecutors and law enforcement groups worry that since hemp looks and smells similar to marijuana, it will prevent them from having probable cause when enforcing other laws. They claim that the smell of marijuana is a common way to obtain probable cause, and this bill will take that away.

In the new version of the Farm Act, one section states that the term marijuana includes smokable hemp. In an abundance of caution, the House also included the same language equating smokable hemp with marijuana in a separate controlled substance bill they were hearing in the Judiciary Committee the same day. 

WRAL: https://www.wral.com/house-looks-to-define-smokable-hemp-as-marijuana/18515437/

2019 Session Laws

The following 122 bills have become law this session:

  1. SB 7: Bipartisan Ethics Appointments
  2. SB 75: Restore Ct. of Appeals Membership
  3. SB 77: Ag Disaster Fund/Certain Counties
  4. SB 214: Ensure Orderly 2019 Elections
  5. SB 12: Fill Certain Vacancies/Alexander & Burke Co.
  6. SB 56: Revenue Laws Technical Changes
  7. SB 4: Extend Terms of 2 Members/Coastal Carolina CC
  8. SB 272: Zoning for University Facilities-Durham
  9. SB 6: Dare County/CC Construction Funds
  10. SB 162: Loan Origination/Late Payment Charge Changes
  11. HB 263: Fill Vacancies/Modify 2018 Appointments
  12. SB 63: City of Kannapolis/Annexation
  13. HB 130: Allow Game Nights
  14. SB 505: Rural Job Retention Act
  15. SB 605: Highway Storm Recovery Act
  16. HB 1014: 2020 Census VTD Verification Program
  17. SB 310: Electric Co-Op Rural Broadband Services
  18. HB 363: Craft Beer Distribution & Modernization Act
  19. HB 233: State Auditor/Local Finance Officer Amends
  20. HB 532: DNCR Add New Trails & Various Changes
  21. HB 388: Immunizing Pharmacists
  22. HB 646: ID Approval/Flex Muni One-Stop
  23. HB 70: Delay NC HealthConnex for Certain Providers
  24. HB 9: Bessemer City Charter Amendment
  25. HB 201: Randolph Co. Register of Deeds Tax Cert
  26. SB 252: Dental Bill of Rights
  27. SB 138: Even-Yr Municipal Elections/Town of Black Mtn.
  28. SB 139: Even-Yr. Municipal Elections/Town of Montreat
  29. HB 336: Extend Suspension of Spencer Mountain
  30. SB 235: Franklin/Nash Municipalities/Unfit Dwellings
  31. SB 30 Stanly CC/Contracting Date Extension
  32. SB 381: Reconstitute/Clarify Boards and Commissions
  33. HB 301: CIP Revisions/Juvenile Code
  34. HB 179: Mini-Truck Classification
  35. HB 131: Repeal Map Act
  36. HB 82: Railroad Crossings/On-Track Equipment
  37. SB 648: Support Shellfish Aquaculture
  38. SB 448: Amend Appt For Compact on Education/Military
  39. SB 255: State Board Construction Contract Claim
  40. SB 151: Break or Enter Pharmacy/Increase Penalty
  41. HB 617: Allow Repeat Referral to Teen Court
  42. HB 578: Modify Legitimations Provisions
  43. HB 548: Modify Physical Therapy Definition
  44. HB 383: Topsail Beach Charter/Board Vacancies
  45. HB 1016: UNC Boards of Trustees Appointments
  46. HB 1017: Special Master Wake House Plan
  47. HB 415: Photos of Juveniles/Show-Ups
  48. SB 148: Public Records/Release of LEO Recordings
  49. SB 11: ABC Regulation and Reform
  50. SB 466: EDPNC Modifications
  51. HB 57: Create Term for Public Schs. & Codify NCVPS
  52. HB 389: ABC/Univ Athletic Facility
  53. HB 531: Tenants at Foreclosure Act Restored
  54. HB 658: Allow Donations of Unexpired Drugs
  55. HB 664: myFutureNC/Postsecondary Attainment Goal
  56. HB 432: Water/Sewer to Contiguous Dwelling Units
  57. HB 219: NAIC Accreditation Amendments.-AB
  58. SB 80: China Grove Satellite Annexation
  59. SB 242: Recreational Land Fee Changes
  60. SB 227: TP3/Principal Fellows Consolidation
  61. SB 84: Walkertown Zoning Authorizations
  62. SB 262: Union/Prohibit Certain Hunting Acts
  63. SB 674: Surry Co./Mt. Airy/Elkin City/Bd. Ed Partisan
  64. HB 15: Lexington/Dissolve Utilities Commission
  65. HB 240: Albemarle/City Labor for Business Ctr
  66. HB 299: Henderson Cty/Build Community College Bldgs
  67. HB 6: Burlington Airport/Lease/Contract Authority
  68. SB 225: Repeal Tuition Surcharge
  69. HB 537: Hwy Use Tax Vehicle Subscriptions
  70. HB 934: Right to Try Adult Stem Cell Treatments
  71. SB 219: Modify Teacher Licensing Requirements
  72. SB 55: Continuing Education for General Contractors
  73. SB 483: Vacation Rental Act Changes
  74. SB 610: Authorize Northern Peaks Trail
  75. SB 95: Veterans Memorial Funds/Do Not Revert
  76. SB 556: GSC People First Language 2019
  77. SB 529: Fees/Returned Checks
  78. SB 88: Electrician Requirements for Certain Orgs
  79. SB 313: Guar. to Streamline Afford. Housing
  80. SB 127: Protect Governmental Accountability
  81. HB 656: Medicaid Changes for Transformation
  82. HB 924: Teacher Contract Changes
  83. HB 474: Death by Distribution
  84. HB 67: Road Barrier Prohibition
  85. HB 310: Clarify Insurance Prod'r Crim. Bckgrd Check
  86. HB 812: Nutrient Offset Amendments
  87. HB 886: Study Participation of Operators in NC Pre-K
  88. HB 529: Utilities/Water and Wastewater Consumption
  89. HB 917: Emergency Declaration/Clarify Rd Closure
  90. HB 747: NC Missing Person Information Sharing
  91. HB 770: Freedom to Work/OLB Reform
  92. HB 871: Fair Contracts
  93. HB 4: Claremont Deannexation
  94. HB 52: Wrightsville Beach Local Act Amendment
  95. HB 204: Town of Beaufort/Annexation
  96. HB 349: Wilkes County Fire Tax-Procedure
  97. HB 489: Lincolnton-Lincoln County Airport Authority
  98. HB 80: Roanoke Rapids Lake/Unattended Equip
  99. HB 237: Brunswick County Zoning Procedure Changes
  100. HB 368: Bermuda Run/Speed Restrictions
  101. HB 98: Macon/Clay/No Right-of-Way Spotlighting
  102. HB 134: Filling Vacancy/Onslow County Board of Comm
  103. HB 170: Various Satellite Annexations
  104. HB 187: Amend Town of Elon Charter/Parking Ordinances
  105. HB 285: City of Sanford/Town of Beaufort/Vol Annex
  106. HB 239: Pitt County Animal Control Records
  107. HB 324: Local Hunting Omnibus
  108. HB 429: Navigable Waters/Manteo/Hyde
  109. SB 191: Out-of-State Law Enforcement/2020 Rep Convtn
  110. SB 399: Rehire High-Need Teachers
  111. SB 355: Land-Use Regulatory Changes
  112. SB 378: Local Economic Development Modifications
  113. SB 394: Changes to Estates & Trusts Statutes
  114. SB 311: Massage Board Membership
  115. HB 257: Motorcycles/Face Masks
  116. HB 224: Assault w/ Firearm on LEO/Increase Punishment
  117. SB 594: Register of Deeds Updates
  118. SB 525: Textile Hist. Site/Operate SE NC Museum
  119. SB 220: Removal of Political Signs by Citizens
  120. SB 500: Modify Advanced Math Course Enrollment
  121. SB 186: Beaufort-Morehead Cty Airport Authority/Amend
  122. SB 686: Appointments Bill 2019


More about Nexsen Pruet's North Carolina Public Policy Team
In addition to providing Government Affairs Services, 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 during the legislative session. Please feel free to pass this along to your clients or other interested parties. If you would like to receive the update in your inbox, please email shernandez@nexsenpruet.com to be added to the list. If you are interested in learning more about how Nexsen Pruet can help you achieve your public policy goals and acquiring legislative representation in North Carolina or South Carolina, please reach out to Sandy Sands at ssands@nexsenpruet.com or Ross Barnhardt at rbarnhardt@nexsenpruet.com.

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