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NC Legislative Update: May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017

This Week

Longtime legislative reporter Mark Binker, most recently editor of the The Insider, passed away unexpectedly this past Saturday at 43 years old. Mark was a friend to many including the Nexsen Pruet Public Policy team and his physical absence and his professionalism in the NC Press Corps will be sorely missed by many. In tribute to Binker, WUNC put together a podcast, which you can listen to here, with comments by his friends and colleagues. A memorial service is scheduled for next Friday, May 12th at 3:00 in Raleigh’s Fletcher Auditorium.

‘The soul of the NC press room’ – Mark Binker remembered fondly – N&O
State leaders mourn loss of reporter Mark Binker – WRAL

This week was a “hangover” following a long and hectic week ahead of last Thursday’s crossover deadline.  Both chambers held no-vote “skeleton” sessions all week with the exception of Wednesday, where lawmakers held a joint session to honor the UNC Tarheel men’s basketball team on their national championship.  The House is expected to hold skeleton sessions Monday and Tuesday next week as well.  No Committees have met, so there are no bills on the floor for votes.

Tar Heels honored by governor, lawmakers – News & Record
Williams urges more teamwork among NC lawmaker – WRAL
NC representative introduces amendment to keep Pinson, Bradley at UNC for another year – N&O

The Senate however, was here all week, although not quite in plain sight. Senate Budget writers and the Chairs of the various Appropriations Subcommittees worked behind closed doors on their budget proposal throughout last weekend and into this week. Senate leaders anticipate unveiling and voting on their proposal next week with a final vote by no later than Friday. This time schedule will allow time for the House to pass its own budget proposal, leaving time to resolve the differences in a Conference Committee before the end of the current fiscal year, June 30th.  

Senate on track to pass its N Carolina budget plan next week – N&O

Meeting this goal is one that is regularly set, but rarely attained, and often requires a Continuing Resolution to keep State government operating until the new Budget becomes law.  This is especially true in a divided government where Gov. Cooper (D) is almost certain to veto the Republican led legislature’s spending proposal.  House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) did note this week that budget writers in the two chambers have been working together on many of the issues and are on pace to adjourn by the end of June or early July.  Both chambers currently wield veto-proof majorities.

Democratic governor poses new impediment to GOP budget writers – Carolina Journal

Ahead of today, there were two bills pending on Gov. Cooper’s desk and the Governor took action on both this morning.  Gov. Cooper signed Senate Bill 131, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017, sponsored by Sen. Andy Wells (R-Catawba).  The law amends several State laws related to agricultural, energy, business, environmental, and natural resources, and State and local government regulations.  The bill title notes 2016 because the legislation contains the provisions that passed both chambers from last year’s Regulatory Reform Act, which ultimately failed to pass, as well as new provisions.

The other bill that was pending was House Bill 467, entitled Agriculture and Forestry Nuisance Remedies, sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin) was vetoed.  The bill would have limited the amount of compensatory damages awarded in a private nuisance action against an agricultural or forestry operation to the fair market value or fair rental value of the plaintiff's property.  The proposal drew opposition from environmental interests and support from agricultural interests.  Both chambers passed the measure with veto-proof majorities.

Cooper vetoes hog farm nuisance lawsuit limits – WRAL

A link to next week’s announced Committee calendar can be found here.  A cumulative list of House and Senate bills filed so far this year, links to each bill, and its current status can be found here.

Crossed Over

Of the 1,597 bills filed between the two chambers, the House has passed 334 bills and the Senate has passed 119 of its bills.  A  list of House bills that have crossed over can be found here, and Senate bills that have crossed over can be found here.  The NCGA central staff also released their crossover publication, which can be found here.  All of these bills made crossover, although not all of them necessarily were subject to the now expired deadline.  After 15 weeks of session, the State has enacted just 10 bills into law.  It is also worth noting that all of the House bills sent to the Senate that have not already passed both chambers, with the exception of one, currently reside in the Senate Rules Committee.  It is expected that these bill will be released methodically.  The House has referred many of the Senate bills it has received to various Committees.

Legislators Slog Through Hundreds Of Bills During Crossover Week – NC Health News 

Some bills worth noting that have advanced to the other chamber include:

Tax/Revenue Laws

House Bill 59 – Revenue Law Technical Changes
House Bill 480 – ABC Permits/Tax Compliance & Reports
Senate Bill 75 – Const. Amd. - Max. Income Tax Rate of 5.5%
Senate Bill 126 – Change the LOST Adjustment
Senate Bill 325 – Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut
Senate Bill 552 – Modify Sales Tax Remittance: Boat/Jet Repairs

Environment/Energy/Agriculture

House Bill 56 – Amend Environmental Laws
House Bill 319 – Study Solar Decommissioning Requirements
House Bill 320 – Study Electronics Recycling
House Bill 321 – Study Solid Waste Disposal Tax
House Bill 507 – Land-Use Regulatory Changes
House Bill 576 – Allow Aerosilization of Leachate
Senate Bill 131 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017
Senate Bill 434 – Amend Environmental Laws 2
Senate Bill 469 – Preserve Municipal Solid Waste Capacity

Healthcare

House Bill 57 – Enhance Physical Therapy Licensure Compact
House Bill 187 – Modernize Physical Therapy Practice Act
House Bill 206 – NC Cancer Treatment Fairness Act
House Bill 243 – Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act
House Bill 307 – Board Cert. Behavior Analyst/Autism Coverage
House Bill 403 – LME/MCO Claims Reporting/Mental Health Amdts.
House Bill 446 – The Pharmacy Patient Fair Practice Act
House Bill 550 – Establish New Nurse Licensure Compact
Senate Bill 42 – Reduce Cost & Reg. Burden/Hosp. Construction
Senate Bill 630 – Revise IVC Laws to Improve Behavioral Health 

Commerce/Insurance/Business/Transportation

House Bill 16 – Enhance Oversight of Service Contracts/PED
House Bill 35 – Protect NC Workers Act
House Bill 68 – BRIGHT Futures Act
House Bill 110 – DOT/DMV Changes – Megaproject Funding
House Bill 214 – Autocycles/No Helmet Required
House Bill 500 – ABC Omnibus Legislation
House Bill 773 – ABC Sales/Sports & entertainment Venues
House Bill 819 – Protect NC Right to Work Constitutional Amend.
House Bill 820 – Protect Right to Work/Conforming Changes
Senate Bill 621 – Business Contracts/Choice of Law and Forum
Senate Bill 660 – Economic Development Incentives Modification

Education

House Bill 375 – School Cal. Flex./CC
House Bill 389 – School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program
House Bill 704 – Divide School Systems/Study Committee
Senate Bill 531 – School Boards Can’t Sue Counties

Elections/Redistricting/Appointments

House Bill 240 – GA Appoint for District Court Vacancies
House Bill 241 – Special Sup. Ct Judgeship Appointed by GA
House Bill 496 – Fair and Nonpartisan Ballot Placement
House Bill 576 – Filling Vacancies/U.S. Senate
Senate Bill 285 – Equal Representation for Asheville
Senate Bill 486 - Uniform Voting Hours Act
Senate Bill 655 – Change Date When Primary Elections Held
Senate Bill 656 – Electoral Freedom Act of 2017 

Miscellaneous

House Bill 3 – Eminent Domain
House Bill 105 – Const. Amendment-Limit Governor/LG to 2 Terms
House Bill 113 – Pvt Action Local Compliance/Immigration Laws.
House Bill 229 – GSC Technical Corrections 2017
House Bill 527 – Restore/Preserve Campus Free Speech
House Bill 551 – Strengthening Victim’s Rights
Senate Bill 145 – Government Immigration Compliance

In the News

NC is last state standing on "Raise the Age" legislation – NSJ
Limiting NC retirement benefits will hurt state employees, critics say – N&O
N.C. hospital association offers recommendations to limit opioid abuse – News & Record
Dueling polls set up battle between nurse anesthetists, doctors – N&O
Free the mimosa: Restaurant industry pushing Sunday morning liquor bill – WRAL
The NC education board makes staff moves against the backdrop of a lawsuit
Anheuser-Busch buys Asheville’s Wicked Weed Brewing – TBJ
Are North Carolina's Court Of Appeals Judges Working Too Much Or Too Little? – WUNC
People with mental illness at increased risk for homelessness, incarceration – N&O
Swing voters aren’t all alike – Carolina Journal
Meet the NC state employees who make lawmaking a family business – N&O
Hospitals ready to use political clout to preserve certificate of need – Carolina Journal
Probe of North Carolina congressman ends without charges – AP
NC elections agency works to avoid late-night result changes, ineligible felon voters – N&O
N.C. bests Texas to win Site Selection’s 2017 Prosperity Cup – TBJ
Federal funds will help preserve farms and forests around NC military bases – N&O
More UNC campuses giving free speech its due, FIRE reports – Carolina Journal
Aldona Wos, a former NC agency head, will help lead a White House commission for Trump – N&O


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 Kdjones@nexsenpruet.com to be added to the list.

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