When the NC General Assembly adjourned the 2017 long session, they did so with the intention of returning to the capital twice this year to wrap up some unfinished business. Legislators are slated to return to Raleigh in two weeks, on August 3, and then again on September 6. Additionally, this week the Governor took action on 40 bills and made a public announcement opposing offshore drilling and seismic testing off of the state’s coast, and a lawsuit between legislative leaders and the Governor on Medicaid expansion has been dropped.
New Laws & A Veto
This week the Governor took action on 40 bills, signing 39 and vetoing one. 48 bills remain on Gov. Cooper’s desk. With the 30-day mark, where the Governor must either take action on legislation on his desk or allow it to go into effect without his signature, coming up at the end of this month, a flurry of action is likely.
Signed Into Law:
HB 26: Worker’s Comp/ Approval of Disputed Legal Fees
HB 30: Various Special Registration Plates
HB 115: Retirement Technical Correction Act of 2017. -AB
HB 135: Technical Changes to Courses of Study Statute
HB 149: Students W/ Dyslexia and Dyscalculia
HB 176: Pensions Integrity Act of 2017- AB
HB 183: Retirement Admin. Changes Act of 2017 – AB
HB 252: Building Code Regulatory Reform
HB 258: Amend Med. Mal. Health Care Provider Defin.
HB 275: No Stormwater Fees on Taxiways or Runways
HB 283: DHHS Recommend Telemedicine Policy
HB 299: State Health Plan Administrative Changes. –AB
HB 383: NAIC Models/ ORSA & Credit for Reinsurance-AB
HB 436: Local Government/ Regulatory Fees.
HB 464: Revise Schedule of Controlled Substances
HB 466: The Pharmacy Patient Fair Practices Act
HB 501: DOT/ Surveying Information in Plans
HB 532: Modify UNC Laboratory Schools
HB 548: Equalize Treatment of Wastewater Products
HB 550: Establish New Nurse Licensure Compact
HB 620: UNC Capital Projects
SB 78: Cost to Comply/ Fed Ed Funds/ PED Study
SB 88: Landlord/ Tenant-Alias & Pluries Summary Eject
SB 100: Aerial Adventure Financial Responsibility
SB 104: Require Criminal BGC/ Pharmacist Licensure
SB 107: Streamline Dam Removal
SB 196: Veterinary Practice Omnibus
SB 338: Disaster Recovery Act of 2017
SB 388: Incapacity to Proceed
SB 391: Ferry Transportation Authority
SB 413: Clarify Motor Vehicle Dealer Laws
SB 415: Clarify Def’n of Collection Agency
SB 450: Uniform Trust Decanting Act
SB 489: Clarify Workers’ Comp. Policy Cancellation
SB 548: Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws/ Studies
SB 567: Reform/ Correct/ Wills and Trusts
SB 569: Uniform Power of Attorney Act
SB 593: Arbitration and Mediation for Business Court
SB 621: Business Contracts/ Choice of Law and Forum
On Tuesday, the Governor vetoed HB 205: WC for Inmates/ UI & WC/ Newsprint Employees. When HB 205 left the House, the bill only contained provisions to require the average weekly wage of inmates employed under the Prison Industry Enhancement Program be calculated in accordance with the NC Workers’ Compensation Act. While in the Senate, provisions were added to the bill to:
- Classify newsprint carriers, who have been classified as independent contractors in the state of NC since 2003, as employees of the newspaper they are employed by.
- Modernize publication of legal advertisements and notices to require newspapers to legal advertisements on their websites at no additional cost.
- Allow Guilford County and any municipality within the county to use electronic means to provide public notice instead of publication.
- Allow Guilford County to opt to post legal advertisements and notices on the county website for a fee, with money collected to be used for local supplements for teachers and other county needs.
In his veto message, the Governor noted that he supports the original content of the legislation, but opposes the bill because it “enacts retribution on the media.” The bill has been returned to the legislature and is eligible for consideration in both the August and September sessions.
Gov. Cooper Takes Stance on Offshore Drilling & Seismic Testing
At a press conference on Thursday morning, Gov. Cooper said he will oppose seismic testing and offshore drilling off the coast of NC, and that the Department of Environmental Quality will submit detailed comments to the federal government today. North Carolina is on the list of potential off-shore drilling locations after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to expand off-shore drilling in April. In his statement, Gov. Cooper said that the risks do not outweigh the benefits of offshore drilling and seismic testing, and that is the duty of North Carolinians to protect the coast.
Legislators Drop Lawsuit Challenging Medicaid Expansion Attempt
In early January, prior to the transition between the Obama and Trump administrations, Gov. Cooper announced that he planned to take immediate executive action to expand Medicaid, in defiance of a state law that gives the legislature sole power to do so. A lawsuit between GOP leadership and the Governor followed, but was dropped this week because Gov. Cooper never submitted formal paperwork for expansion and the suit is now unnecessary. NC is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid.
What to Expect in August & September at the NCGA
Per SJR 686: Adjournment Resolution, the NC General Assembly is slated to return to Raleigh twice in the coming months, reconvening first on August 3, and then again on September 6.
In August, the legislature is authorized to consider vetoes issued by the Governor, nominations and appointments, bills responding to litigation concerning state congressional, legislative, judicial, municipal and county maps, bills that were returned to their originating chamber by June 28 for concurrence, bills providing for impeachment and revenue related bills that have either passed a second floor vote in the receiving chamber but have not been taken up for a third reading or have passed a second, but not third, reading for concurrence, which means that the following bills can be taken up.
HB 576: Allow Aerosolization of Leachate
HB 511: Game Nights/ Nonprofit Fundraiser
HB 205: WC for Inmates/ UI & WC/ Newsprint Employees
HB 56: Amend Environmental Laws
HB 90: NC Truth in Education
HB 162: Amend Administrative Procedure Laws
HB 403: Behavioral Health and Medicaid Modifications
HB 482: County Comm. Role in School Bldg. Acquisition
HB 770: Amend Environmental Laws 3
SB 16: Business & Agency Reg. Reform Act of 2017
SB 99: Report Certain CTR Data/ Auto Ins. Accuracy
SB 335: Study/ Fair Treatment of College Athletes
SB 582: Agency Technical Corrections
SB 628: Various Changes to the Revenue Laws
SB 656: Electoral Freedom Act of 2017
Returned for Concurrence:
SB 114: Annual Reports/ Prop. Tax/ Recodification Comm.
SB 223: Exclude Tiers 1 & 2 from JDIG Cap
Passed 2nd Reading in Receiving Chamber:
SB 552: Omnibus Occupancy Taxes
Related to Impeachment:
HB 925: Creation of House Select Investigatory Com’t
In addition to the above legislation, in September, the legislature may also consider bills proposing an amendment to the NC Constitution and making statutory changes to implement those constitutional amendments, meaning the following bills are eligible.
HB 3/ SB 34: Eminent Domain
HB 105: Const. Amendment – Limit Governor/ LG to 2 Terms
HB 133: Elect the State Board of Education
HB 148: Amend NC Constitution – Literacy Requirement
HB 145: Repeal Const. Reg. of Concealed Weapons
HB 146: Citizen’s Allegiance to U.S. Constitution
HB 147: Amend NC Constitution – Remove Secession
HB 193: Legislative Four-Year Terms
HB 413: Limit Legislative Service to 16 Years
HB 551/ SB 595: Strengthening Victims’ Rights
HB 674: Independent Redistricting Commission
HB 727: Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights
HB 735: Redistricting by Computer
HB 819: Protect NC Right to Work Constitutional Amendment
HB 820/ SB 631: Protect Right to Work/ Conforming Changes
SB 75: Const. Amd. – Max Income Tax Rate of 5.5%
SB 677: Protect Right to Hunt and Fish
Moreover, the SJR 686 requires the legislature to redraw the state’s legislative maps, in which 28 districts have been ruled unconstitutional racial gerrymanders, no later than November 15. There will be some clarity towards this process next week as the Joint Select Committee on Redistricting meets on Wednesday and a three-judge federal panel will hear arguments the following day on when maps should be withdrawn and if a special election should be held prior to November 2018.