NCGA Week in Review January 2019 #2

McGuireWoods Consulting

The 154th General Assembly will reconvene later this month on Wednesday, January 30th. For the first time since 2012, the Republican-led chambers will lack the numbers to override an executive veto. Both House and Senate leaders hope to work across the aisle in order to have a successful session which is expected to last late into the year. Lawmakers have said that crafting the state budget is on the top of their agenda for the 2019-2020 session. Additional items that are expected to be in the spotlight this year include but are not limited to education, Medicaid expansion, transportation, and rural economic development. The House is expected to finalize committee assignments within the next couple of weeks. The Senate released their list of committee assignments earlier in the week.

Senate Committees

The office of Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) has released a list of Senate committee assignments for the 2019-2020 session. Please note that Sen. Louis Pate (R- Lenoir, Wayne) resigned on January 14th for health reasons. The Republican parties in Wayne and Lenoir Counties are required by state law to nominate a replacement who will then be appointed by Governor Cooper.

Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources

Chairs: Norman W. Sanderson, Andy Wells

Members: Brent Jackson, John M. Alexander, Jr., Tom McInnis, Chuck Edwards, Paul Newton, Vickie Sawyer, W. Ted Alexander, Jim Burgin, Eddie Gallimore, Jeff Jackson, Mike Woodard, Harper Peterson, Wiley Nickel, Don Davis

Appropriations/Base Budget

Chairs: Harry Brown, Kathy Harrington, Brent Jackson

Members: Warren Daniel, Bill Rabon, Norman W. Sanderson, Andy Wells, Dan Bishop, Danny Earl Britt, Jr., Rick Gunn, Jerry W. Tillman, Rick Horner, Jim Davis, Joyce Krawiec, Deanna Ballard, Dan Blue, Erica D. Smith, Paul A. Lowe, Jr., Terry Van Duyn, Jay J. Chaudhuri, Mike Woodard

Appropriations on Department of Transportation

Chairs: Jim Davis, Tom McInnis

Members: Bill Rabon, John M. Alexander, Jr., Mike Woodard, Kirk DeViere, Michael Garrett

Appropriations on Education/Higher Education

Chairs: Deanna Ballard, Jerry W. Tillman

Members: Rick Horner, Todd Johnson, W. Ted Alexander, Chuck Edwards, Don Davis, Erica D. Smith, Joyce Waddell, Wiley Nickel

Appropriations on General Government and Information Technology

Chairs: John M. Alexander, Jr., Rick Horner

Members: Carl Ford, Bob Steinburg, Ben Clark, Valerie P. Foushee, Sam Searcy

Appropriations on Health and Human Services

Chairs: Dan Bishop, Joyce Krawiec, Louis Pate

Members: Ralph Hise, Jim Burgin, Floyd B. McKissick, Jr., Gladys A. Robinson, Terry Van Duyn, Paul A. Lowe, Jr.

Appropriations on Justice and Public Safety

Chairs: Danny Earl Britt, Jr., Warren Daniel, Norman W. Sanderson

Members: Bob Steinburg, Dan Blue, Milton F. “Toby” Fitch, Jr., Jeff Jackson

Appropriations on Agriculture, Natural, and Economic Resources

Chairs: Chuck Edwards, Rick Gunn, Andy Wells

Members: Paul Newton, Vickie Sawyer, Eddie Gallimore, Mujtaba A. Mohammed, Jay J. Chaudhuri, Natasha R. Marcus, Harper Peterson

Commerce and Insurance

Chairs: John M. Alexander, Jr., Chuck Edwards, Rick Gunn

Members: Harry Brown, Norman W. Sanderson, Tom McInnis, Paul Newton, Vickie Sawyer, Todd Johnson, Bob Steinburg, Paul A. Lowe Jr., Gladys A. Robinson, Ben Clark, Valerie P. Foushee, Erica D. Smith

Education/Higher Education

Chairs: Deanna Ballard, Rick Horner, Jerry W. Tillman

Members: Norman W. Sanderson, Joyce Krawiec, Chuck Edwards, Paul Newton, Todd Johnson, Kathy Harrington, Tom McInnis, Don Davis, Gladys A. Robinson, Jay J. Chaudhuri, Valerie P. Foushee, Sam Searcy


Chairs: Ralph Hise, Paul Newton, Jerry W. Tillman

Members: Harry Brown, Warren Daniel, Jim Davis, Rick Gunn,

Kathy Harrington, Brent Jackson, Bill Rabon, Joyce Krawiec, Andy Wells, John M. Alexander, Jr., Chuck Edwards, Dan Bishop, Floyd B. McKissick, Jr., Dan Blue, Ben Clark, Joyce Waddell, Milton F. “Toby” Fitch, Jr., Mike Woodard

Health Care

Chairs: Dan Bishop, Joyce Krawiec, Louis Pate

Members: Jim Davis, Ralph Hise, Deanna Ballard, Vickie Sawyer, Carl Ford, Rick Horner, Jim Burgin, Don Davis, Valerie P. Foushee, Gladys A. Robinson, Terry Van Duyn


Chairs: Danny Earl Britt, Jr., Warren Daniel

Members: Jerry W. Tillman, Harry Brown, Jim Davis, Kathy Harrington, Brent Jackson, Dan Bishop, Rick Horner, Paul Newton, Jeff Jackson, Terry Van Duyn, Milton F. “Toby” Fitch, Jr., Natasha R. Marcus, Mujtaba A. Mohammed

Pensions and Retirement and Aging

Chairs: Bill Rabon, Andy Wells

Members: W. Ted Alexander, Danny Earl Britt, Jr., Eddie Gallimore, Ralph Hise, Rick Horner, Todd Johnson, Louis Pate, Bob Steinburg, Jay J. Chaudhuri, Kirk DeViere, Floyd B. McKissick, Jr., Wiley Nickel

Redistricting and Elections

Chairs: Ralph Hise, Dan Bishop

Members: John M. Alexander, Jr., Danny Earl Britt, Jr., Harry Brown, Warren Daniel, Kathy Harrington, Brent Jackson, Paul Newton, Bill Rabon, Dan Blue, Michael Garrett, Natasha R. Marcus, Floyd B. McKissick, Jr.

Rules and Operations of the Senate

Chair: Bill Rabon

Members: Deanna Ballard, Dan Bishop, Harry Brown, Chuck Edwards, Rick Gunn, Kathy Harrington, Ralph Hise, Brent Jackson, Joyce Krawiec, Vickie Sawyer, Jerry W. Tillman, Andy Wells, Dan Blue, Ben Clark, Don Davis, Paul A. Lowe, Jr., Floyd B. McKissick, Jr., Joyce Waddell

State and Local Government

Chairs: John M. Alexander, Jr., Rick Horner

Members: W. Ted Alexander, Jim Burgin, Carl Ford, Eddie Gallimore, Tom McInnis, Louis Pate, Norman W. Sanderson, Bob Steinburg, Jeff Jackson, Mujtaba A. Mohammed, Harper Peterson, Sam Searcy


Chairs: Jim Davis, Tom McInnis

Members: John M. Alexander, Jr., Deanna Ballard, Danny Earl Britt, Jr., Warren Daniel, Carl Ford, Rick Gunn, Kathy Harrington, Bill Rabon, Kirk DeViere, Milton F. “Toby” Fitch, Jr., Michael Garrett, Erica D. Smith, Joyce Waddell

Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission

The Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission met on Wednesday, January 16th. The agenda consisted of presentations on the effects of the federal Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 on industrial hemp, Department of Revenue recommendations on present use valuations, and a commission report for the 2019 session.

North Carolina’s industrial hemp program saw a uptick in growth during 2018. According to the NC Department of Agriculture, the state has 2,500 licensed field acres, 149 licensed industrial hemp growers, and 322,000 licensed square feet of greenhouse production. Congress removed hemp from the list of controlled substances and now the market is rapidly expanding throughout the state.

Currently, the Plant Industry Division of the NC Department of Agriculture has been working to assess the program. Legislators were interested to know about the cost of having to administer more samples and staff positions. The Commissioner of Agriculture confirmed that the Department has been able to cover the cost so far but expects that there will need to be additional funding in the near future.

Additionally, the Department made recommendations to legislators around potential regulation of the processing, pricing, and extraction of cannabidiol oil, also known as CBD oil. The oil is used to treat medical conditions and is being sold in CBD dispensaries across the state. Some think that these regulations could potentially lead to progression for legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

NC Attorney General

Currently, North Carolina is the only state in which a domestic violence protective order (50B order) cannot be obtained by same-sex couples who are not married. The issue has been brought to light by a recent lawsuit filed before the state Court of Appeals. In response, NC Attorney General Josh Stein (D) filed a brief to strike this section of the law as unconstitutional.

Earlier this year, a woman was facing threats from her ex-partner after a breakup. A 50B protective order can be altered for specific cases and offers more protection such as banning the accused from possessing or potentially buying a weapon. In North Carolina, you can obtain a 50B if you were or are currently in a same-sex marriage. If you are not legally not married in a same-sex relationship the state can only issue you a 50C civil-no contact order. This is a broader order that does not offer the same violence protections and is less enforceable.

The brief filed by the Attorney General asked the court to strike down the language limiting protective orders that can be issued to same-sex couples who are not married. It does not ask that the whole law be stricken as unconstitutional. The ACLU has noted that other states in recent years have changed the language to legally accommodate same-sex couples who seek protection.

To view the brief, click here.

The Week Ahead:

Wednesday, January 29

1:00 PM Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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