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North Carolina Legislative Report - March 1, 2013

February 23 - March 1, 2013

The NC General Assembly reconvened January 9, 2013, opening the long legislative session. The MVA Public Affairs Legislative Report on North Carolina will be distributed weekly to keep you up to date on the latest legislative issues facing the state while the North Carolina Legislature is in session.

On the Floor

Governor’s Office

HB 5: Temporary Funding/Group Homes & SCUs

A fix for funding for group homes in North Carolina is on its way to the Governor.  The House voted 113-0 to approve the fix with no debate on Tuesday afternoon. Senators had already approved the same bill. State lawmakers gave a final OK to a bill that will fix a mistake they made in last year's budget. That mistake left group homes and Alzheimer's care units without emergency funding to make up for Medicaid spending cuts. Read more.

SB 4: No N.C. Exchange/No Medicaid Expansion

North Carolina will reject two central tenets of the federal Affordable Care Act under a bill the House and Senate approved Tuesday. The House vote was 74-40. The Senate vote was 31-16. Gov. Pat McCrory has said he supports the measure. Read more.

Senate

The Senate passed three pieces of legislation this week aimed at reducing and preventing fraudulent workers compensation claims. Each of these bills originated in  the interim study committee created to address workers comp fraud.  After passing out of the Study Committee and being approved by the Senate Commerce Committee this week, all three bills received unanimous approval on the floor and were sent to the House.   

  • SB 43, Study Savings for Administration Claims, directs the Office of State Personnel, Department of Public Instruction and Office of State Budget and Management to study and make recommendations regarding management of workers compensation claims submitted by state and local government employees. 
  • SB 44, Workers Compensation Coverage/Public Records, allows industrial commission to release certain information pertaining to workers compensation. 
  • SB 51, GBICC/Workers Comp Program Integrity, requires the State Controller and Government Business Intelligence Competency Center to enhance the state’s enterprise-level business intelligence by improving coordination of workers compensation information between various agencies for the purpose of fraud prevention and detection.  

SB 76: Domestic Energy Jobs Act

The state Senate on Wednesday quickly approved three bills that would fast-track natural gas drilling in North Carolina. After a heated debate Tuesday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 76 with no discussion by a 39-7 vote and forwarded it to the House. The bill removes the requirement that state lawmakers must approve rules before the first well can be drilled. Instead, it gives the Department of Environment and Natural Resources the authority to start issuing permits on March 1, 2015, without the legislature's say-so. Read more.

House of Representatives

SB 10: Government Reorganization and Efficiency Act

House lawmakers tentatively approved Thursday a proposal to make sweeping changes to the state’s boards and commissions. Senate Bill 10 would eliminate, fire or restructure about two dozen boards and commissions, including the State Board of Elections, the State Board of Education, the Coastal Resources Commission, the Environmental Management Commission, the Wildlife Resources Commission, the Industrial Commission and the Utilities Commission. The House version of the bill went through a number of changes in just 36 hours. The measure passed its second reading, 70-42. It will be up for a final vote on the House floor Monday night. It then goes back to the Senate, where it will be sent to a conference committee. Read more.

 

Committee Meetings

Senate Commerce Committee

The Senate Commerce Committee passed three pieces of legislation aimed at reducing and preventing fraudulent workers compensations claims, all of which were subsequently approved by the Senate. For more information, refer to the Senate Floor report above.

Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee

The Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee held its second meeting of the 2013 session to hear from various departments within its jurisdiction.  This week the Department of Agriculture and the Wildlife Resources Commission gave the committee overviews of each agency/commission and a breakdown of their respective budgets.  They will continue their work next week and begin to address specific legislation.

Senate Finance Committee

On Wednesday, February 27, the Senate Finance Committee met to take up six bills.  All six bills passed, the first four bills discussed below passed overwhelmingly without significant debate.

  • HB 77 (Board of Law Examiners/Update Expense Law) dealt with a small correction to how member of the Board of Law Examiners are compensated. 
  • SB 56 (Wallace Satellite Annexation) corrected some issues with an annexation of some property into the Town of Wallace.
  • SB 84 (Cancel Aircraft Lien w/Surety Bond Deposit) allowed for the cancellation of a mechanics lien on an aircraft if the owner posts a surety bond with the clerk of court.  
  • SB 97 (Property Tax/ Deannexation) provided that a city must release property taxes that had not yet been billed for areas that were deannexed after the listing period. 
  • HB 82 (Internal Revenue Code Update) received some debate in the Senate, but nothing like what occurred in the House.  While the House focused on the absence in the bill of an extension of the State earned income tax credit, discussion in the Senate primarily dealt with the fiscal impact related to nonconformity with some federal changes.   
  • SB 81 (Charlotte Regional Airport Authority) was the subject of much debate.  The bill would transfer ownership and operation of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the City of Charlotte to a newly created Charlotte Regional Airport Authority.  Debate on the bill touched on a wide range of subjects including management of the airport, the effect on employees, and past investments made by the City of Charlotte in the facility.  The most significant discussion focused on the impact of the transfer of the airport on $800 million worth of outstanding revenue bonds. 

House Education Committee

The House Education Committee met on Tuesday to discuss two bills and hear a presentation from the Department of Public Instruction regarding a yearly report to the legislature on The Founding Principles Act.  School Superintendents from over 25 counties were in attendance for the meeting.  The first bill discussed by the committee was House Bill 97, “Lottery Funds Used for Digital Learning.”  The proposed committee substitute of the bill provides flexibility to school systems to use lottery money in the Public School Building Capital Fund to finance digital learning in schools.  The current system requires 40% of the net lottery proceeds to be allocated to the School Capital Fund for construction purposes.  The re-allocation of funds will sunset in July of 2016, unless needed funds have proven to demonstrate consistent improvement and growth in student outcomes.  The Proposed Committee Substitute for House Bill 97 passed.  The second bill, House Joint Resolution 138, sets the date for the House and Senate to elect members to the State Board of Community Colleges.  The bill passed unanimously.  

House Finance Committee

On Wednesday, February 27, the House Finance Committee met to take up two bills – H56 (Amend State Contract Review Laws) and HB 61 (Reform Oversight of State-Owned Vehicles).  Although there was a fair amount of discussion on each bill, neither bill proved controversial and both passed with strong majorities. 

  • HB 56 would change some of the procedures with respect to the review of State contracts.  The bill would require review by the Attorney General of most State contracts with a value in excess of $5 million and would require all State agencies to report to the Department of Administration any contract with a value in excess of $1 million.  In addition, the bill would establish the Contract Management Section (CMS) within the Division of Purchase and Contract.  The CMS would include legal counsel and would assist the Division in the preparation of solicitations, the review of proposals, and the review of contract terms. 
  • HB 61 would make numerous changes with respect to the management of the State’s motor fleet.  The largest changes involved centralizing management of the State’s motor fleet under the Department of Administration and instituting the practice of replacing vehicles once they have reached 125,000 miles.

House Commerce/Rules Committees

On Wednesday, February 27, the House Commerce Committee met to take up SB 10 (Government Reorganization and Efficiency Act).  The House Rules Committee then took up the same bill on Thursday, February 28.  The two committee made substantial changes to the bill that passed the Senate on February 7. The bill received tentative approval by the full House on Thursday. For more information, see the House Floor report above.

Tax Reform

There were no new developments this week with respect to tax reform.  Although a plan is expected to be made public within the coming weeks, there was no indication this week of when that plan could be expected or the exact parameters of such a plan. 

 

In the News

ABC-Wilmington: Progress Energy reaches deal on rate increase

Progress Energy Carolinas says it has reached an agreement with the North Carolina Utilities Commission Public Staff to raise its rates as early as this summer.

Charlotte Observer: New plan would use existing taxes to upgrade BofA stadium

North Carolina lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday that would allow the city of Charlotte to use existing taxes – but no new ones – to upgrade Bank of America Stadium.

WRAL: House passes bill to allow lottery funds to be used for technology needs

School systems will be able to wire schools and buy computer equipment with lottery funding that had previously been set aside for construction needs under a bill the state House passed 109-3 Thursday.

WRAL: America Votes takes responsibility for controversial memo

America Votes has taken responsibility for a controversial strategy memo that led to calls from Republicans to investigate another liberal-leaning nonprofit.

WRAL: Bill would allow guns in private, religious schools

State Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, has filed a proposal to allow private and church-affiliated schools to have armed employees or volunteers on site. 

WRAL: NC lawmakers urged to expand earned income tax credit

A coalition in support of a state tax credit designed to put more money in the wallets of the working poor urged lawmakers on Thursday to keep the measure as a central part of any plan for revenue.

Raleigh News&Observer: Industrial Commission appointment announced

Gov. Pat McCrory made an appointment to the state Industrial Commission on Thursday. Andrew T. Heath, a Wilmington attorney who has defended cases brought before the commission.

AP: Attorneys wrap up arguments in NC redistricting

After two days of legal sparring over North Carolina's political maps, a panel of judges now must decide whether dozens of districts drawn by Republicans amounted to racial discrimination, or if they have more to do with partisanship and following redistricting rules than race.

WRAL: Bill would take 'education' out of lottery name

A bill filed Tuesday by a bipartisan group of lawmakers would place restrictions on lottery advertising and remove the word "education" from the state gambling enterprise's formal title. 

WRAL: Drilling fast-track gets tentative Senate approval

The Senate gave key approval Tuesday to legislation rolling back some of the safeguards in the state's natural gas drilling law.

Greensboro News&Record: Guilford deputies raid Sweepstakes Cafe

Guilford sheriff’s deputies cited two people and seized several computers, cash and documents from the Sweepstakes Cafe on Tuesday as part of an undercover operation, according to a news release.

Carolina Journal: Hospitals, surgeons square off in battle on regulating new facilities

North Carolina surgeon and physician groups are squaring off against hospitals in a regulatory reform battle with potentially hundreds of millions of taxpayer and insurance dollars at stake.

AP: McCrory concerned about return of payday loans

Gov. Pat McCrory is concerned about a bill that would allow a form of short-term borrowing to return to North Carolina a decade after the legislature outlawed payday loans.

Raleigh News&Observer: McCrory details talks during trip to Washington

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he asked President Barack Obama and some of his Cabinet questions about issues he's concerned about during a visit to Washington - but didn't always get the full answer he wanted.

Legislative Calendar

Mon, March 04, 2013

4:00 PM

Press Conference/Rep. Luebke

Press Room LB

7:00 PM

Session Convenes (House)

House

7:00 PM

Session Convenes (Senate)

Senate


Tue, March 05, 2013

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation (Joint)

1228/1327 LB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (Joint)

1425 LB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on Justice and Public Safety (Joint)

415 LOB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on Education (Joint)

421 LOB

8:30 AM

Joint Appropriations on Natural and Economic Resources

Presentation by Conservation Trust

423 LOB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services (Joint)

643 LOB

10:00 AM

Judiciary I (Senate)

Incapacity to Proceed Amendments. (S45)

1027/1128 LB

10:00 AM

Education -- CORRECTED (House)

Arts Education as a Graduation Requirement. (H127)
Provide Access to Campus Police Records. (H142)

643 LOB

11:00 AM

Commerce (Senate)

Utilities/Design/Survey Location Services. (S9)
Bldg. Contracts/Local Business Participation. (S19)

1027/1128 LB

11:00 AM

Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources (Senate)

Tobacco Free Community Colleges. (S23)
Construction/Demolition Landfill Siting. (S24)
Increase Funding for Dredging. (S58)
DENR Support for Regional Water Supply System. (S113)

544 LOB

12:00 PM

State and Local Government (Senate)

Cleveland Co. Property Transfer. (H37)
Carrboro Office of Alderman. (S128)
Cleveland Co. Property Transfer. (S52)
Clinton/Use Design-Build Method. (S111)
Winston-Salem Franchises. (S134)

1124/1224 LB

12:00 PM

Rep. Pierce/Leg. Black Caucus Press Caucus

Press Room LB


Wed, March 06, 2013

8:30 AM

Joint Appropriations on Department of Transportation

1228/1327 LB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (Joint)

1425 LB

8:30 AM

Joint Appropriations on Justice and Public Safety

415 LOB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on Education (Joint) -- CANCELLED

421 LOB

8:30 AM

Joint Appropriations on Natural and Economic Resources

Presentation by Department of Labor

423 LOB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services (Joint)

643 LOB

10:00 AM

Judiciary Subcommittee A (House)

Immunity/Public Safety Dispatchers. (H95)
APA Technical/Clarifying Changes. (S36)
Amend UCC Article 4A Funds Transfers. (S72)

1228/1327 LB

10:00 AM

Judiciary Subcommittee C (House)

Consular Documents Not Acceptable as ID. (H118)
Mechanics Liens/Technical Corrections. (H180)

415 LOB

10:00 AM

Judiciary Subcommittee B (House)

Amend Adoption Laws. (H147)
Caylee's Law/Report Missing Children. (H149)
Honest Lottery Act. (H156)
Mandatory Retirement Age for Magistrates. (H161)

421 LOB

10:00 AM

Education/Higher Education (Senate)

Digital Learning Competencies/School Employees. (S118)
Lottery Funds Used for Digital Learning. (S119)
Transition to Digital Learning in Schools. (S121)

544 LOB

10:00 AM

Regulatory Reform Subcommittee on Local Government (House)

Building Inspections/Local Consistency. (H120)

643 LOB


Thu, March 07, 2013

8:30 AM

Joint Appropriations on Department of Transportation

1228/1327 LB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (Joint)

1425 LB

8:30 AM

Joint Appropriations on Justice and Public Safety

415 LOB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on Education (Joint)

421 LOB

8:30 AM

Joint Appropriations on Natural and Economic Resources

Presentation by Department of Commerce

423 LOB

8:30 AM

Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services (House)

643 LOB

8:30 AM

Joint Appropriations on Health and Human Services

643 LOB


Tue, April 09, 2013

11:45 AM

Rep. D. Ross/NC Women United's Press Conference

Press Room LB


Wed, April 10, 2013

12:00 PM

Rep. Carney

Press Room LB

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For more information or to be added to our distribution list, please feel free to contact our North Carolina Legislative team