North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review

August 25, 2023

Pardon Our Dust

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Legislators did not convene in Raleigh for official business this week, as members of Republican leadership continue to negotiate the state budget and other bills. Lawmakers have publicly said they expect to return for votes, potentially on a final budget proposal, during the week of September 11. At an event celebrating the opening of Freedom Park in downtown Raleigh on Wednesday, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper urged Republicans to pass the state budget so Medicaid expansion implementation can begin. Over the last few weeks, the governor has traveled to rural counties to host round table discussions about Medicaid expansion and school funding.

Additionally, this week Governor Cooper vetoed two controversial bills passed by the General Assembly. SB 747: Elections Law Changes would curtail the deadline for voters to return mail-in ballots and make other changes to poll observers and early voting laws. In a video announcing the veto, Governor Cooper said, “legislative Republicans in North Carolina are pushing an all-out assault on the right to vote.”

The governor also vetoed SB 512: Greater Accountability for Boards/Commissions, which would take some appointment powers to various state boards and commissions from the governor and give it to the General Assembly. In his veto statement, Governor Cooper said the bill would impair “the Governor’s constitutionally required duty to execute the laws passed by the legislature.” The governor’s actions this week set up a likely veto override vote by the legislature when they return next month.

Bill Signings 

Governor Roy Cooper signed four bills into law this week, all of which passed the General Assembly last week with bipartisan support. After the governor signed these four bills and vetoed the two aforementioned bills dealing with elections and state boards, there are no bills pending gubernatorial action. The bills signed into law this week include:

HB 186: Juv Just Mods/DOI Expenses/Tech Changes – proposes changes to the juvenile justice system, specifically targeting transfer processes, confidentiality, interrogation procedures, and other aspects. It suggests transferring Class A to G felonies committed by juveniles aged 16 or older, and Class A felonies by those under 16, to superior court for adult trial upon indictment. Limited identifying information about juveniles could be released with court orders or exigent circumstances. Custodial interrogation rules for juveniles aged 16 or older would allow statements in the presence of a “caretaker” if parents or guardians cannot be reached. The bill also authorizes medical evaluation and treatment orders and requires annual juvenile minority sensitivity training.

HB 323: Retain Adult Devel. Voc. Rehab. Programs – aims to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from reducing Adult Developmental and Vocational Programs (ADVP) and Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP) or the number of participants in these programs without involving stakeholders, conducting proper service reviews, and ensuring adequate funding. The bill intends to maintain existing services and individuals in ADVPs and CRPs until a thorough review is completed and new services are endorsed. ADVPs are state-funded day programs for adults with intellectual disabilities, fostering independence, while CRPs provide varied employment-related and support services for those with special needs.

HB 422: Unfair Real Estate Agreements Act – introduces new provisions under a new Article in Chapter 93A of the General Statutes, focusing on real estate service agreements. The bill aims to prohibit and void unfair real estate service agreements, which include agreements that run with the land, allow assignment without notice or consent, or create liens without permission. The bill also prohibits the recording of unfair real estate service agreements, rendering any such recording without legal effect. Owners and buyers would not be required to void the recording. Violations of the article would constitute deceptive trade practices. The Attorney General could enforce these provisions, while aggrieved parties would have a private right of action. The bill provides remedies for inconvenienced or harmed owners.

HB 447: Clarify Motor Vehicle Dealer Laws – proposes changes to North Carolina’s motor vehicle dealer and manufacturer regulations. The bill requires manufacturers to provide vehicle availability to dealers, offers dealers website control, mandates fair vehicle allocation, and regulates add-on product sales. Warranty reimbursement calculations, manufacturer incentive programs, insurance requirements for conditionally delivered vehicles, and manufacturer license applications are also addressed. The bill carries specific effective dates for its provisions.

Upcoming Legislative Meetings

Monday, August 28

3:00 PM: House Session
4:00 PM: Senate Session