North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review

June 22, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

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The North Carolina General Assembly was in full swing this week as legislators aim to adjourn short session by next week. A number of bills ranging from appropriations, regulatory reform, and criminal justice reform to transportation oversight and the re-opening of businesses which were left out of Governor Cooper’s Phase 2 made there way through both chambers.  Phase 2 is expected to end June 26, at which time he will announce if the state will  remain in Phase 2 or move into Phase 3. This short session has looked different than previous due to the pandemic. Legislators have remained vocal during debate, despite some choosing to wear masks during committee and on the floor. Members stayed late throughout the week debating budgetary needs, re-opening of small businesses, and liability immunity to those businesses which choose to re-open. Our team has put together a comprehensive list of the most substantive  bills presented to the governor and bills that saw action this week. Follow us on Twitter @KeepnUpWJonesSt for the latest updates from the General Assembly. 

As of Friday morning, in the state of North Carolina, there were 49,840 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 712,313 completed tests, 1,197 deaths, 871 current hospitalizations, and all of the state’s 100 counties had seen confirmed coronavirus cases. Due to the continued rise of cases, cities across the state including Durham and Raleigh, have implemented mask requirements for the public. Mayors of numerous cities have urged citizens to wear masks in public spaces to slow the spread of COVID-19. Governor Cooper and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen are expected to announce whether or not a statewide mask requirement will be put in place next week. 

As we all continue to feel the effects of the global pandemic and adjust to a new normal, we want to highlight a few ways our clients across North Carolina have worked to support residents and make this time a little easier for those throughout the state. Read more about what our clients are doing to help by clicking here.

For more information on COVID-19 in North Carolina, click here to visit the Department of Health and Human Services website, and be sure to stay up to date on the latest federal guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by clicking here

Bills presented to Governor 

H158 COVID-19 New Driver Response – Rep. Michele Presnell (R – Yancey)

  • Presented to the governor 6/16/20
  • Temporarily waives road test requirement for new drivers seeking to obtain a Level 2 limited provisional license, requires road test to obtain a Level 3 full provisional license

H679 Rules of Civ Procedure/E-Filing and Service – Rep. Lee Zachary (R-Yadkin)

  • Presented to Governor 6/17/20 
  • Amends Rule 3 of the Rules of Civil Procedure to allow electronic filing made in accordance with Rule 5 of the General Rules of Practice for the Superior and District Courts if electronic filing is available in the county of filing

 S562 The Second Chance Act – Sen. Danny Britt (R-Robeson) 

  • Presented to Govenor 6/18/2020 
  • Allows expunction of certain offenses committed prior to December 1, 2019 while a person was less than 18 years of age but at least 16 years of age
  • Misdemeanors and Class H or I felonies could be expunged unless they were an offense involving impaired driving or an offense requiring registration as a sex offender

Senate Bill 599: Open Skating Rinks/Bowling Alleys – Sen. Chuck Edwards (R – Henderson)

  • Presented to the governor 6/22/20
  • Authorizes existing skating rinks and bowling alleys to open and resume operations under specific conditions, temporarily allows minor league baseball stadiums with existing food and beverage establishments to have outdoor seating up to 10% of the permanent seating capacity of the stadium under certain conditions

Senate Bill 708: CPS Intake Screening/PED Recommendations – Sen. Chuck Edwards (R – Henderson)

  • To be presented to the governor 6/22/20
  • Directs DHHS to make policy changes to improve the child protective services intake screening process and prevents county social services departments from establishing an intake screening criteria more stringent or lenient than the State’s policy
  • Members of the General Assembly would be allowed to request confidential social services records from DHHS or local departments of social services and directs PED to study the implementation of a child welfare simulation training and certification program

S811 Connect NC Park Facilities Operating Reserves – Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow)

  • Presented to governor 6/16/20 
  • Would transfer funds from the Pay Plan Reserve and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for up to 19 full-time equivalent positions, equipment, and other nonrecurring expenses for state parks expanded or improved through Connect NC bonds

 S812 Agriculture Sciences Center Funds – Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow)

  • Presented to governor 6/16/20 
  • Provides $115,000 in recurring funds for an Executive Director position for the Center, funded by a reallocation of funds from the Pay Plan Reserve.
  • The bill also provides $10 million in nonrecurring funds for equipment, moving costs, and other nonrecurring expense

S814 NC Promise Tuition Plan Funds – Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow)

  • Presented to Governor 6/16/20
  • Transfers  $10M in nonrecurring funds from the cash balance in the Education Lottery Reserve Fund and $5M in nonrecurring funds from the cash balance for UNC Board of Governors Institutional Programs
  • Sets tuition at $500 per semester for North Carolina residents and $2,500 per semester for nonresidents at Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Western Carolina University

S818 Compensation of Certain School Employees – Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow)

  • Presented to Governor 6/17/20
  • Would provide teachers, instructional support personnel, and assistant principals with salary increases based on years of experience, provide bonuses for teachers and instructional support personnel, encourage additional bonuses for teachers, instructional support personnel, and noncertified personnel, clarify principal salaries for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, provide bonuses to principals, and provide funds to reflect an increase in the average salary of various public school employee positions

Bills with Action 

H77 DOT 2020-2021 FY Budget/Governance – Rep. John Torbett (R- Gaston)

  • Passed 3rd reading in Senate 6/19/20, returned to House
  • Appropriates funds to the NC Department of Transportation (DOT), adjusts motor fuel tax, implements financial responsibility and transparency measures for DOT, makes adjustments to the Board of DOT, increases DOT budgetary oversight by the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) and the State Auditor

H118 COVID-19 Liab. Safe Harbor – Rep. Harry Warren (R – Rowan)

  • Passed 3rd reading in Senate on 6/18/20, placed on House calendar for 6/23/20
  • Temporarily provides immunity from liability for claims arising from contraction of COVID-19 provided any act or omission that does not amount to gross negligence, willful or wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing 

H258 Open Amusement Parks/Arcades/Venues – Rep. JamieBoles (R-Moore)

  • Passed 3rd reading in Senate 6/19/20
  • Authorizes amusement parks and gaming and business establishments with video games and arcade games, existing on March 10, 2020, to open and resume operations, provided specific conditions are met
  • Authorizes existing venues for receptions or parties to resume operations, provided specific conditions are met

H308 Various Ag/NER Changes – Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R- Duplin) 

  • Passed Senate second reading 6/19/20
  • Would expand the powers and duties of the NC On-Site Wastewater Contractors and Inspectors Certification Board to authorize the Board to acquire, hold, convey, rent, encumber, alienate, and otherwise deal with real property in the same manner as a private person or corporation, subject only to the approval of the Governor and Council of State

 H425 Implement Conner’s Law – Rep. John Faircloth (R-Guilford)

  • Passed 3rd reading in Senate and sent to House 6/19/20

  • Transfers $1.2M in nonrecurring funds for the 2020-2021 fiscal year from the Statewide Misdemeanant Fund to the Department of State Treasurer to provide a new death benefit of $100k for public safety employees murdered in the line of duty

H455 Amend Various Motor Vehicle Laws – Rep. Steven Ross (R-Alamance)

  • Reported favorably from the Senate 6/19/20
  • Would extend deadlines related to loaner dealer registration plates and
    dealer data requirements and include out-of-state titles in the titled in transit process

H463 Education in Prisons – Rep. David Rogers (R- Burke) 

  • Placed on House calendar for 6/23/20 
  • Would remove the restriction that prohibits funds from being used for
    Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of General Education degrees in prisons
  • Would allow courses taught in local jails to earn regular budget FTE, if the courses are approved by the State Board, beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year

H471 Exempt Direct Primary Care from DOI Regs – Rep. John Hardister (R-Guilford)

  • Referred to House Rules 6/17/20
  • Would define the terms “medical direct primary care,” “primary care
    provider,” and “primary care service”
  • It would also clarify that medical direct primary care agreements are not insurance and are not subject to the provisions of Chapter 58

H593 JCPC/Detention/CAA and Other Fees – Rep. Billy Richardson (D- Cumberland) 

  • Re-referred to Senate Rules 6/19/20
  • Makes certain modification to current law related to Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils
  • Clarifies that persons under 18 held in custody must be held in a juvenile detention facility
  • Makes conforming changes to current law related to inmates held in the Statewide

H635 Purchase & Contracts Benchmarks/Property – Rep. Stephen Ross (R – Alamance)

  • Placed on House calendar for 6/23/20
  • Establishes expenditure benchmarks to review protests on state contracts, waivers of competition

H652 Freedom to Worship Safely – Rep. John Torbett (R- Gaston)  

  • Passed 3rd reading in Senate and Engrossed 6/19/200
  • Would allow a concealed carry handgun permittee, or someone exempt from needing a handgun permit, to possess and carry a handgun at a religious place of worship that is the location of a school if: The educational property is not a university, college, or community college, the educational property is not owned by a local board of education or county commission, the weapon is a handgun

H806 HOA/Condo Pool Opening Ltd. Immunity – Rep. Jason Saine (R – Lincoln)

  • Placed on House calendar for 6/23/20
  • Provides limited immunity to owners and operators of private community pools from claims seeking damages related to contraction of COVID

H902 Delay Certain ABC Permit Renewal Payments – Rep. Holly Grange (R- New Hanover) 

  • Reported favorable from Senate Rules 6/19/20
  • Delays the deadline for payment of a renewal fee for an ABC permit until
    90 days after the Governor rescinds the Executive Orders prohibiting those ABC permittees from operating, if the permittee requests the delay
  • Allows those ABC permittees that have already paid a permit renewal fee to request a refund of the fee that must be repaid by the extended payment deadline

H918 Expedite Permanency/DHHS Report SNAP/TANF – Rep. Steve Jarvis (R- Davidson)  

  • Placed on Senate Calendar for 6/22/20
  • Expedites permanency planning hearings for children who have been removed from the home
  • Creates a presumption that foster parents with whom a child has lived continuously for nine months are deemed non-relative kin

H1035 2020-2021 Calendar Modifications – Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union) 

  • Referred to Senate Rules on 6/17/20
  • Removes restrictions on when remote instruction days can be scheduled in the 2020-2021 school year
  • Removes restrictions on the number of remote instruction days allowed in the 2020-2021 school year when needed to address the health and safety of students
  • Authorizes flexibility in adopted single-track year-round calendars when needed to address the health and safety of students

H1050 PED/Low-Performing School Districts – Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union) 

  • Placed on Senate calendar for 6/22/20
  • Would require that plans for improvement and comprehensive needs
    assessments of low-performing local school administrative units include consideration and examination of early childhood learning

H1052 PED Report/Student Financial Assistance – Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union)

  • Referred to Senate Rules 6/17/20
  • Would detail increased reporting requirements for the State Education
    Assistance Authority (SEAA) regarding multiple need-based and service-repayment loan programs
  • The bill would also require the SEAA to develop a strategic plan with performance goals and assessment measures, and it would appropriate funds to assist with administrative costs

H1067 Modernize Debt Settlement Prohibition – Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie)

  • Re-referred to Senate Judiciary on 6/18/20
  • Would move the prohibition of debt adjusting and debt settlement from
    the criminal chapter into the civil chapter on consumer protection and would expand the prohibition as follows: Include the conduct of affiliates to determine if debt adjusting or debt settlement occurred, treat any fees paid as consideration, regardless of when paid, make debt adjusting and debt settlement unfair trade practices subject to civil remedies by the
    Attorney General and consumers under Article 75, and void any contracts for debt adjusting or debt settlement

H1080 Revenue Laws Recommendations – Rep. Julia Howard (R – Davie)

  • Placed on House calendar for third reading for 6/22/20
  • Provides an Internal Revenue Code update, decouples the state from various federal tax provisions makes excise tax changes on tobacco and motor fuel, allows nonprofits and governmental entities to apply for a State and local sales tax refund for certain digital property as well as tangier personal property and services, enacts changes related to some sales tax remittance, simplifies and clarifies certain corporate tax statutes, clarifies various pieces of language involving tax enforcement, extends the sunset on the Natural Gas Economic Development Infrastructure Cost Recovery Program to allow natural gas companies to recover a portion of line extension through rates, extends the sunset on the Jobs Development Investment Grant (JDIG), sets the insurance regulatory charge at 6.5% in statute

H1082 ABC Admin. Penalties/Alcohol Consumables – Rep. Pat Hurley (R- Randolph) 

  • Re-referred to Senate Rules on 6/17/20
  • Would direct the ABC Commission to create a policy that establishes a
    rationale for administrative penalties and improves transparency for permittees, and include effectiveness criteria on its web site to evaluate the effectiveness of administrative penalties at reducing the number of repeat offenders

H1087 Water/Wastewater Public Enterprise Reform – Rep. Donny Lambeth (R – Forsyth)

  • Passed 2nd reading in Senate 6/19/20, remains on calendar 
  • Creates process for identifying distressed public water and wastewater systems, establishes a utility fund to assist them, provides a series of ways to increase flexibility to allow these systems to request help or help themselves, appropriates funds to assist in recovery for these systems

H1096 UNC Omnibus Changes/UNC Lab School Funds – Rep. John Fraley (R- Iredell) 

  • Re-referred to Senate Rules 6/19/20
  • Would make various changes to statutes related to the
    programs and operation of The University of North Carolina and would appropriate $500,000 for the UNC Teacher and Principal Preparation Laboratory School Program
  • Additionally, it would direct the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to study the feasibility of offering accelerated undergraduate degree programs at constituent institutions

H1105 COVID/Supplementary G.R.E.A.T. Grant Period – Rep. Dean Arp (R – Union) 

  • Placed on House calendar for 6/22/20
  • Appropriates $30M in CARES Act funding to the Department of Information Technology (DIT) for a supplementary grant process for the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program to extend broadband infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

H1113 Local Option Sales Tax/School Construction –  Rep. John Hardister (R-Guilford) 

  • Placed on House calendar for 6/22/2020
  • Would allow Guilford County to designate as the purpose for which it may use the proceeds of the one-quarter cent local sales and use tax either any public purpose or only public school capital outlay purposes
  • The bill would further allow the county to specifically identify that purpose on the ballot for approval of the tax
  • If approved for public school capital outlay purposes, the county is directed to maintain current funding levels for school construction and not to replace existing funds for public school construction with these funds

H1205 Expedited State Leasing – Broadband – Rep. Dean Arp (R – Union)

  • Placed on House calendar for 6/23/20
  • Establishes a four-month limit on the Department of Administration (DOA) and an agency in control of real property in making determinations for certain lease decisions and installation and operation of equipment by a broadband provider on State property, instructs DOA and other agencies to coordinate with DIT to develop a streamlined process to expedite the finalization of lease agreements

H1225 Education & Transportation Bond Act of 2020 – Speaker Tim Moore (R – Cleveland)

  • Placed on House calendar for 6/22/20
  • Authorizes the issuance of $3.1B in general obligation bonds if approved by referendum on the 2020 general election ballot, gives $800M for public school capital outlay projects and repairs and renovations, gives $600M for UNC facilities for capital outlay projects and repairs and renovations, gives $200M for community college facilities for capital outlay projects and repairs and renovations, gives $1.5B for DOT public infrastructure projects

H1229 UI Program Integrity/Temp. ABAWD Time Waivers – Rep. Julia Howard (R – Davie)

  • Presented to Governor 6/22/20
  • Appropriates funds to enhance the program integrity of the unemployment insurance program and authorizes DHHS to seek a temporary waiver related to the Food and Nutrition Services Program in response to COVID-19

SB 284: State Auditor/Verifications & Access – Sen. Ralph Hise (R – Mitchell)

  • Re-referred to House Appropriations 6/18/20
  • Requires the State Auditor to examine whether State agencies are following all of their statutory requirements, provides the State Auditor with the ability to verify audits for compliance with statutory requirements at the direction of the Auditor, Governor, or General Assembly, and allows the Auditor access to any records related to the audit verification for statutory compliance

S380 Clarify Felony Possess Sweepstakes Machine – Sen. Andy Wells (R – Catawba)

  • Re-referred to House Rules 6/17/20
  • Clarifies various definitions, regulations, criminal classifications, and punishments surrounding crimes related to electronic sweepstakes machines 

S488 DMV/MV Dealer Changes – Sen. Brent Jackson (R – Sampson)

  • Placed on Senate calendar for 6/22/19
  • Makes temporary and permanent changes to various Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) processes including expanded utilization of commission contractors, modifications to applications for notations of a security interest and for temporary registration plates and markers, clarifications of the use of criminal record checks, and a grace period for expired license renewals

S730 The No Patient Left Alone Act – Sen. Warren Daniel (R – Burke)

  • Passed 3rd reading in Senate 6/19/20
  • Ensures visitation rights for hospital patients during a disaster declaration or public health emergency

S803 Capital Appropriation – Repairs & Renovations – Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) 

  • Referred to House Appropriations on 6/18/20
  • Provides funding for repairs and renovations projects at State agencies
    and the constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina, makes various statutory changes for the implementation of the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund

S805 Coronavirus Relief Funds/Create Offsets – Sen. Harry Brown (R – Onslow)

  • Re-referred to House Appropriations 6/15/20, if favorable, House Rules
  • Appropriates funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to be used to offset General Fund appropriations across state government for allowable expenditures

SB 808: Medicaid Funding Act – Sen. Harry Brown (R – Onslow)

  • Referred to the House Appropriations 6/18
  • Appropriates funds for the Dorothea Dix campus relocation project and the child welfare component of NC FAST, as well as Coronavirus Relief Funds to go towards behavioral health and crisis services
  • Appropriates funds for Medicaid and Medicaid transformation and sets a new start state for Medicaid transformation no later than July 1, 2021.
  • Removes the Granville County move for the DHHS headquarters and allows it to remain in Wake County

S848 COVID-19 Economic Recovery Grants – Sen. Paul Newton (R – Cabarrus)

  • Passed Senate 3rd reading 6/19/20, engrossed
  • Creates three grant programs using federal CARES Act funds to help businesses recover from hardships endured during the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage businesses to invest in the state during and after the pandemic 

S813 UNC Building Reserve/Certain Project/FY20-21 – Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) 

  • Re-referred to Senate Appropriations 6/16/20
  • The Department of Administration shall transfer the sum of  $8,500,000 in nonrecurring funds for the 2020-2021 fiscal year from the cash balance of the E-Commerce Reserve Fund; The Department of Revenue shall transfer the sum of  3,991,578 in nonrecurring funds for the 2020-2021 fiscal year from the cash balance of Revenue

Upcoming Legislative Meetings

Monday, June 22

3:00PM: House Finance 

3:00PM: House Appropriations 

4:00PM: Senate Ru