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NC Legislative Update: July 26, 2019

July 26, 2019

The House and Senate continued moving legislation this week as they attempt to wind down the session. Both chambers were in town Monday through Wednesday. The House will be back next week, however the Senate is not planning to return to Raleigh until August 6th. The Senate is waiting on the House to attempt an override of Governor Cooper’s veto of the budget. A vote on the override is not expected for several weeks since various members have planned to be away, and Republicans will need all 65 of their members plus seven Democrats to successfully override the veto.

Temporary Spending Bill

The legislature sent House Bill 961 to Governor Cooper’s desk this week. The bill ensures 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 money on disaster relief, low income energy assistance, suicide prevention, and agriculture assistance. The State is currently operating on a statutory continuing resolution that keeps last year’s budget in place until a new budget is adopted. The statutory continuing resolution does not allow for non-recurring money to be spent, which jeopardized federal funding. The authorization in House Bill 961 will allow those dollars to be drawn down and spent.

Literacy Assessment Controversy

13 Senate Democrats are calling for a special committee to look into the three-year, $8.3 million contract award for the K-3 Read to Achieve reading assessment system. The current system uses an in-person system called mCLASS, owned by Amplify, but State Superintendent Mark Johnson will be moving to a computer–based assessment system called Istation. Superintendent Johnson had formed an evaluation committee within the Department of Instruction (DPI) to pick a system that they felt best met the reading assessment needs. The committee recommended that the State stay with Amplify and continue using mCLASS. Despite this, the Superintendent choose to cancel the RFP and award the contract to Istation. Amplify has contested the award, and some groups have called for the Attorney General and State Auditor to investigate the award. Teachers and school administrators are also worried about the switch, citing logistical problems with training to use a new system so close to the beginning of the school year. Superintendent Johnson has proposed delaying the implementation until the middle of the school calendar. The Senate rejected a House-backed bill this week that would allow local school administrations the option to choose which system they want to use.

WRAL: https://www.wral.com/after-weeks-of-controversy-records-show-nc-superintendent-chose-different-reading-test-than-recommended/18507166/

WRAL: https://www.wral.com/senate-democrats-call-for-legislative-review-of-dpis-istation-pick/18531540/

Liquor Privatization

The House Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee heard House Bill 971 this week, which would privatize the sale of alcohol in the State. Currently, individuals have to go to a government-run ABC store to purchase alcohol. Representative Chuck McGrady, who has pushed this idea for several years, told the committee that the move would raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. The bill would allow convenience stations and grocery stores to sell bottles of alcohol. Permits would be limited to 1,500, which would triple the number of places selling alcohol since only 500 ABC stores are in operation currently. The bill is supported by the restaurant, lodging, and retail industries, while religious groups opposed the bill. Some religious groups pointed to other laws that have passed this year which expand alcohol sales, claiming that the legislature has already done enough. Representative McGrady did not asked the Committee to vote on the bill, saying that he would be surprised if it even passed next year.

WRALhttps://www.wral.com/lawmaker-proposes-scrapping-abc-stores-allowing-retailers-to-sell-liquor/18528148/

Smokable Hemp

The House Judiciary Committee and Finance Committee both voted to make smokable hemp illegal last week. However, when hearing the 2019 Farm Act this week, the House Judiciary Committee reversed course and voted to legalize smokable hemp. This year’s Farm Act contains a lengthy hemp section, in response to federal law changes last year that 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 uses of the plant. However, many members of the House have had concerns with smokable hemp and claimed that it is a backdoor way to legalize marijuana. Law enforcement groups have even said that smokable hemp will prevent them from obtaining the probable cause needed to enforce other crimes. Representative Jimmy Dixon, who led the charge against smokable hemp, is the one who recommended that it be added back into the bill. There is still some skepticism as to whether the bill can pass the House floor with smokable hemp attached. Other sections of the bill dealing with environmental issues will likely subtract some Democrats from supporting it. 

WRAL: https://www.wral.com/house-lawmakers-change-course-on-smokable-hemp/18529805/

2019 Session Laws

The following 160 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
  123. HB 492: Simplify Builder Inventory Exclusion
  124. HB 402: UNC Capital Projects
  125. SB 384: Clarify Motor Vehicle Dealer Laws
  126. HB 761: Clarify Wastewater Permitting Liability
  127. HB 758: MSD Expansion and Governance/DACS Study
  128. HB 755: Travel Insurance Amendments
  129. HB 735: Adopt Rules Incorporating 2017 Food Code
  130. HB 629: Law Enforcement Mutual Aid
  131. HB 495: No Municipal Reg/Off-Site Wastewater Systems
  132. HB 329: Renewable Energy Amends
  133. HB 156: Swain County Settlement Trust Fund
  134. HB 138: Damage Jail & Prison Fire Sprinkler/Penalty
  135. HB 106: Inmate Health Care & 340B Program
  136. HB 18: Allow Absentee Ballots/Fire District Election
  137. HB 757: Pender County/Butner Property Transfers
  138. SB 535: Authorize State Park/Clarify Corps Name
  139. HB 668: Various Higher Education Changes
  140. HB 590: Amend Administrative Procedure Laws
  141. SB 444: Allow Use of Oyster Shells As Serving Dishes
  142. HB 411: Modify School Qual./Student Success Indicator
  143. SB 210: Organ & Tissue Donation/Heart Heroes
  144. SB 316: Affordable Housing
  145. SB 297: Cancer Research Advisory Panel
  146. SB 462: Modifications to NC Appraisal Board
  147. SB 508: Civil Procedure/Deponent Declaration
  148. SB 606: Prioritize Native NC Plants on Highway ROW
  149. HB 107: PED Oversight/EPP Changes
  150. HB 323: Assess Costs of Local LEO Crime Lab Analysis
  151. HB 268: Amend On-Site Wastewater Laws/Misc. TC
  152. HB 243: State Human Resources Act Amendments.-AB
  153. HB 337: Change Salvage Vehicle Transfer Requirements
  154. HB 362: 15-Point Scale For School Performance Grades
  155. HB 546: Prohibit Counterfeit/Nonfunctional Airbags
  156. HB 620: Street Database/Manual/Public Record Except
  157. SB 29: Move Over Law/Increase Penalties/Amber Lights
  158. HB 198: Human Trafficking Commission Recommendations.-AB
  159. HB 325: Opioid Epidemic Response Act
  160. SB 194: West Jefferson/Saluda Satellite Annexations


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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