The General Assembly’s Short Session began on 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.
Follow us on Twitter @MVA_PA
On Tuesday, the Governor signed H 230, Clarify Read to Achieve/School Performance Grades, into law.
ON THE FLOOR
The week, the Senate passed S 879, Honor Zeb Alley, H 133, Charlotte Airport Commission Clarifications and S 648, the NC Commerce Protection Act of 2014.
The House passed H 1069, Unemployment Insurance Law Changes and an amended version of S 744, the Appropriations Act of 2014. The House and Senate will begin to meet next week to work out the differences between the House passed budget and the Senate passed budget.
Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee
The Committee took up the House version of the budget on Wednesday, June 11. The House Appropriations Committee co-chairs and Subcommittee chairs reviewed the provisions included in the House budget for other members of the House Appropriations Committee and the public. The Committee passed the bill.
Senate Education/Higher Education Committee
The Committee met Wednesday, June 11, to take up two bills, S 793, Charter School Modifications, and H 1060, Military Student Identifier. The Committee discussed S 793, which intends to amend required public disclosures for charter schools in the State. The Committee Substitute passed by voice vote with only one dissenting voice.
Senate Health Care Committee
The Committee met Wednesday, June 11 to take up one bill, S 749, Strengthen Controlled Substances Monitoring. Members heard reports from staff regarding the intent of the bill – reducing prescription drug abuse – and discussed possible changes. The Committee Substitute was passed by a voice vote.
Senate Commerce Committee
The Senate Commerce Committee met on Wednesday, June 11, and approved three bills, each of which do just as its title suggests. S 742, Adjust the Utility Regulatory Fee, and H 1074, Confirm Linda Combs as State Controller, passed the Committee easily with little debate or controversy. H 1112, Confirm Charlton L. Allen to Industrial Comm., passed a sharply divided Committee after a great deal of debate. Debate centered around statements made by Mr. Allen in the past with respect to the minimum wage and worker protections and around controversial actions Mr. Allen had participated in while a college student.
Senate Finance Committee
The Senate Finance Committee met on Tuesday, June 10, and Wednesday, June 11. On Tuesday, the Committee approved six bills. H 133, Charlotte Airport Commission Clarifications, made several changes with respect to legislation enacted last year about control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. H 531, Weaverville, Buncombe & Henderson, is a local bill involving several changes with respect to municipalities in Buncombe County. S 797, 911 Board/Back-up PSAP, would clarify the responsibilities of the 911 Board and the Department of Revenue with respect to 911 fees and would require local 911 operators to have back-up plans in place in case of system interruption. H 573, Stormwater Management Fee Uses, would amend the uses to which these fees could be put. S 790, Cape Hatteras EMC Tax Status, would phase in the sales tax on electricity sold by the Cape Hatteras Electric Membership Corporation. S 853, Business Court Modernization, would designate certain cases as mandatory cases for business court and would raise the fees associated with business court.
On Wednesday, the Committee approved 10 bills. Five of the bills - S 741, Bladen/Columbus/Franklin - Tax Cert; S 767, Rockingham Deannexation; S 871, Raleigh/Durham/Deannexation/Annexation; S 874, Spruce Pine Deannexation; and H 569, Foxfire/Satellite Annexations - are local bills and passed without much discussion. A sixth local bill - S 876, Brevard Meals Tax - that would authorize a local prepared food tax also passed easily. S 648, NC Commerce Protection Act of 2014, and H 618, Amend Firearm Restoration Law, were each in the Committee due to a fee provision and easily passed after discussion of the fee provision only. H 558, Soil and Water/Regional Jails Refunds, would allow for a refund of sales and use taxes paid by soil and water districts or regional jails. H 1069, Unemployment Insurance Law Changes, would make several changes to the laws regarding unemployment insurance benefits.
Senate Judiciary I Committee
The Senate Judiciary I Committee met on Tuesday, June 10, and Wednesday, June 11. On Tuesday, the Committee approved S648, NC Commerce Protection Act of 2014. The bill was amended in committee to remove some more controversial provisions dealing with product liability lawsuits. On Wednesday, the Committee approved two bills. S 815, Ensuring Privacy of Student Records, would require the State Board of Education to make information regarding the student data system available to the public, create rules and plans to ensure privacy and security of individual student data in the system, and restrict the collection of certain data in the system The bill would also require local school boards to provide notice on parental rights and opt-out opportunities regarding student records and participation in certain surveys. S 853, Business Court Modernization, would make a number of procedural and jurisdictional changes to the North Carolina Business Court, would authorize internal corporate reorganization by a merger utilizing a holding company without shareholder authorization, and would require that cases claiming a State statute is unconstitutional on its face be heard by a panel of three Superior Court judges rather than by proceeding through the regular process.
House Appropriations Subcommittees
All of the House Appropriations Subcommittees met on Tuesday. Each Subcommittee reviewed the House budget proposal and allowed amendments.
House Finance Committee
The House Finance Committee met on Wednesday, June 11 and took up S 744, Appropriations Act of 2014. The budget bill was in the Finance Committee due to several provisions dealing with taxes, fees, and debt financing. The main event in the Committee involved an amendment that would have extended the State's income tax credit for film production, with some modifications. The amendment ultimately failed leaving the future of the program uncertain.
In the News
Raleigh News & Observer: House gives state budget final approval, despite lingering concerns
Charlotte Observer: Charlotte Douglas airport bill clears Senate, on to House
Raleigh News & Observer: NC House GOP split as it kills attempt to extend film incentives
WRAL: House makes key changes to budget
WRAL: House bid to leave SBI under AG fails
Raleigh News & Observer: How the NC House and NC Senate budget proposals differ
WRAL: Bill targets prescription drug abuse
WRAL: McCrory signs bill changing reading requirements
Raleigh News & Observer: Senate OKs public-private partnership