The General Assembly’s Short Session began Wednesday, May 14, 2014. 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.
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On The Floor
This week, the Senate passed H 644, Prevent Hazardous Drug Exposure, H 375, Increase Allowed Size of Passenger Buses, H 1145, Insurance and Registration for Mopeds, H 101, Special License Plate Development Process and H 369, Criminal Law Changes.
The House passed H 644, Prevent Hazardous Drug Exposure.
Both the House and Senate adopted the conference report for S 812, Replace Common Core with NC’s Higher Academic Standards. The bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.
Conference Committee on S 744, Appropriations Act of 2014
House budget conferees met on Monday, July 14. Representative Dollar stated that there has been a lot of progress made in various parts of the budget with the House and Senate, but not on education or health care related provisions. House members discussed differences between the House and Senate offers.
On Tuesday afternoon, both the House and Senate conferees met. The Senate made another budget offer to the House. The Senate offer included a plan to raise teacher pay eight percent and second-grade teaching assistants would be funded for another year. The Senate also offered to simplify the teacher salary schedule.
Senate Finance Committee
The Senate Finance Committee met on Tuesday, July 15, and Wednesday, July 16. On Tuesday, the Committee approved H 1145, Insurance & Registration for Mopeds, which would require mopeds operated on highways or public vehicular areas to be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles and to be covered by insurance. In addition, the Committee approved five local bills: H 1114, Elk Park/Deed Transferring Property; H 1154, Moore Co. Schools Transfer of Property; H 1155, Pinehurst Annexation; H 1212 Burlington Charter/Revision and Consolidation; and S 788, Town of Duck/Eminent Domain.
On Wednesday, the Committee heard and approved four bills. H 101, Special License Plate Development Process, would reauthorize certain expired special registration plates, authorize additional registration plates with a special background, and establish a process by which persons must obtain a minimum number of paid applications prior to obtaining legislative approval for a new special registration plate. H 1033, Special Assessment/Dam Repair, would authorize a special assessment on property owners around a lake to be used for repairs to the lake’s dam. H 1224, Local Sales Tax for Education/Econ Dev. Changes, would limit local sales and use taxes to 2.5% (certain counties are authorized to levy these taxes up to 2.75% currently), allow counties to use the proceeds of a portion of the local option sales and use tax for public transportation for public education purposes instead, expand the eligibility criteria for the Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund, create a new Jobs Catalyst Fund to provide funding for recruitment of large manufacturing projects (though no money is currently appropriated for the fund), and provide a one-time increase in the limit on JDIG grants that may be awarded during the 2013-15 fiscal biennium. H 1245, Pleasant Garden Annex/Watha Deannex, is a local bill dealing with the corporate limits of the Town of Pleasant Garden and the Town of Watha.
Senate Rules Committee
The Senate Rules Committee met on Tuesday, July 15, Wednesday, July 16, and Thursday, July 17. On Tuesday, the Committee approved two bills. H 644, Prevent Hazardous Drug Exposure, would require the Commissioner of Labor to adopt rules to establish requirements for the handling of antineoplastic agents in facilities where there is occupational exposure to such agents. H 1245, Pleasant Garden Annex/Watha Deannex, is a local bill dealing with the corporate limits of the Town of Pleasant Garden and the Town of Watha.
On Wednesday, the Committee approved three bills. First, the Committee approved two local bills: H 375, Increase Allowed Size of Passenger Buses, and H 1096, Union County/Contracted Ambulance Service. The Committee also approved H 369, Criminal Law Changes, which makes numerous changes in various areas of criminal law (including reducing the level of offense for possession of marijuana paraphernalia and increasing the levels of offense for providing a cell phone to an inmate or for assaulting or threatening others in retaliation for actions by certain government officials) and clarifying the local government contracts to which e-Verify applies. In addition, the Committee began discussions of H 1181, North Carolina Medicaid Modernization, but did not take final action on that bill until Thursday.
On Thursday, the Committee approved four bills. H 201, Building Reutilization for Economic Dev. Act, would amend the applicability of the Energy Conservation Code to certain existing nonresidential buildings, clarify and reinstate various requirements related to storm water, create an exemption from the North Carolina Environmental Protection Act for the reoccupation of an existing building, and allow more localities to access building reuse funds administered by the Rural Economic Development Division. H 1056, Lake Lure Official Map, would make technical amendments to the charter of the Town of Lake Lure related to the town’s map. S 883, Disapprove/Amend Buffer Rules, would disapprove certain rules adopted by the Environmental Management Commission and provide further direction to the Commission on the adoption of buffer rules. H 1181, North Carolina Medicaid Modernization, would direct a reform of the State’s Medicaid program using provider-led and non-provider-led capitated health plans to take on all financial risks (other than enrollment numbers and mix) associated with the program and would create a new Department of Medical Benefits to develop and implement this reform plan.
Senate Commerce Committee
The Senate Commerce Committee met on Wednesday and Senator Barringer chaired the meeting. The Committee considered H 680, Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups Act. H 680 would allow North Carolina residents to have the ability to invest small amounts of money in new state ventures through crowd funding. The Senate also added S 522, the New Markets Jobs Act, to H 680. H 680 passed the Committee and has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration.