NCGA Week in Review

July 13, 2018

Pardon Our Dust

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The legislature adjourned following a grueling short session on Friday, June 29, 2018. The joint adjournment resolution includes an option to bring legislators back into session Tuesday, November 27, 2018 after the election. All 170 Senate and House seats across the state are contested on November 6. The Democrats seek to shift the power of the legislature, hoping to break the Republican supermajority in November. Once the legislature is back in session there are no restrictions on what legislation can be considered during the post-election session. 

Constitutional Amendment Commission

During the short session, the legislature passed six proposed constitutional amendments. The constitutional amendments will be placed on the ballot this November for the voters to decide. A Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission, established in 2016, is in charge of writing a short caption and summary of each amendment to be placed on the ballot. The commission consists of NC Attorney General Josh Stein (D), NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D), and Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble (R).

Unfinished Business

The legislature adjourned leaving hundreds of bills that did not make it into law and were left to “die.” Bills that do not pass before adjournment do not carry over to the next biennium. There were some notable pieces of legislation that did not make it this year but will likely pop up again next year:

House Bill 279: Fantasy Sports Regulation: Sponsored by Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), this bill would have regulated fantasy sports in North Carolina by de-classifying fantasy sports as gambling under state law.

House Bill 471:Felonious Gaming Machines: Sponsored by former Rep. Chris Millis (R-Onslow), this bill would have clarified the felonious possession of electronic sweepstakes machines or devices.

House Bill 810: Loan Origination/Late Payment Charge Changes: Sponsored by Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), this legislation would have let banks triple origination fees on loans under $20,000, capping those fees at $150. For loans under $100,000, the fee would be capped at $250, and anything above a $100,000 loan would be based on a percentage.

House Bill 994: Revise Marijuana Laws: Sponsored by Rep. Kelly Alexander (D- Mecklenburg), this bill would have revised North Carolina’s marijuana laws by increasing the amount of marijuana one could possess for personal use without being charged.

House Bill 1065: Digital Communications in Elections: Sponsored by Rep. John Hardister (R-Guilford), this bill would have required disclosure of who paid for an election ad on social media websites such as Twitter or Facebook.

House Bill 1073: Establish Econ. Dev. Energy Task Force: Sponsored by Rep. Larry Strickland (R-Johnston), this draft legislation aimed to establish a state task force on natural gas infrastructure and access.

House Bill 1081: Transfer of School Support Personnel Funds: Sponsored by Rep. Beverly Earle  (D-Mecklenburg), this bill would have prohibited funds slated for school nurses, school psychologists, school social workers and school resources officers to be transferred, unless the transfer was to another local school board to be used for the same positions

Senate Bill 714: ABC Regulation and Reform: Sponsored by Sen. Norm Sanderson (R- Craven), this bill would make changes to the state’s alcohol and alcohol permitting laws and tweak penalties for ABC law violations

Senate Bill 715: Various Changes to the Revenue Laws: Sponsored by Sen. Tommy Tucker (R- Union), this legislation sought to update the state’s revenue laws that would allow college sports booster groups to avoid sales taxes on their membership fees and game tickets.

Rejected Appointments

Prior to adjournment, the legislature took up appointments to various boards and agencies. These appointments were recommended by Speaker of the House Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), President Pro Tempore of the Senate Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), and Democrat Governor Roy Cooper. The legislature rejected four appointments from Governor Cooper, leaving vacant seats. The following appointments were not confirmed in a joint session of the House and Senate:

State Board of Education 
Sandra Byrd- Retired Professor
J.B. Buxton- Former Deputy State Superintendent

Special Superior Court Judge
Bryan Beatty- Former Secretary of Crime Control

Industrial Commission
Robert Harris- Deputy Industrial Commissioner