NCGA Week in Review

December 14, 2018

Pardon Our Dust

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The General Assembly resumed Tuesday after holding no-vote sessions on Monday due to weather conditions. Lawmakers kept the week busy working to get bills through committees and out to the House and Senate floors for votes. Legislative leaders met their goal to conclude business by the end of this week. Now the Governor holds the power to veto any remaining bills on his desk. The General Assembly will now wait for the Governor’s action and schedule any veto overrides as necessary.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Investigation

The Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, Subcommittee on Atlantic Coast Pipeline met on Wednesday, December 12. The purpose of the meeting was to hire private investigators to look into a $58 million mitigation agreement between Governor Cooper’s administration and Atlantic Coast Pipeline Developers.

The committee was formed to look into the agreement after numerous failed attempts to obtain documents about the deal from the Cooper administration. Documents requested from the committee co-chaired by Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown (R-Onslow) were not produced in a timely manner, prompting the investigation.

The Governor’s office and the Department of Environmental Equality has maintained that the documents are on the way. The firm hired by the committee consists of two former IRS agents and one former FBI agent. The current estimate of services is $100 per investigative hour. The committee currently does not know what the total budget will be. For more information on this matter please see the links below:

State Board Changes

After heavy debate throughout the week, House Bill 1029: Bipartisan State Board Changes cleared the House 82-17 and the Senate 34-3. The bill will split the State Board of Elections and Ethics into two entities. This this will be a return to how things were done in 2016. No amendments were allowed on the bill and only one vote was required in each chamber. 

The structure of the State Board of Elections under the bill will now be a five member elections board appointed by the Governor – likely made up of a three person majority of their party. The Ethics board will be made up of eight members with four being appointed by the Governor and four appointed by lawmakers. That could make the board evenly split and bi-partisan between Democrats and Republicans.

The bill also includes changes to lobbying in which the Secretary of State’s office would reclaim the state’s Lobbying Compliance Division. This will revert back to the previous way lobbying registration and filing was handled.

The current Elections and Ethics Board will remain in place until December 28 if the 2018 elections are not certified before then. The effective date of the bill is January 31, meaning the changes would not take place until then. The bill now goes to Governor Cooper, who historically has been opposed to legislative changes to the board of elections.

To view the summary of the bill click here.

Technical Corrections

Senate Bill 469: Technical Corrections was pushed through both chambers this week as legislators moved to vote on the final version of the bill. As an update from last week, the 20-page bill received some new provisions during conference committee.

Key provisions that did not make it into the final bill includes a requirement that counties automatically re-issue voter registration cards every four years, regulations and definitions for Electric Scooters, and election provisions that now allow school schedules as an option on the reasonable impediment form when voting.

The final votes were mostly among party lines in both the House and the Senate. The House passed the bill 57-35 while the Senate passed it 19-8.

For the final version of the Conference Committee Substitute click here.

Upcoming Legislative Meetings

Wednesday, Dec. 19

9:00 AM
North Carolina Child Well-Being Transformation Council
544 LOB