While various bills made their way through committees and chambers this week, the highlight was the release of Governor Cooper's proposed Budget Recommendations for fiscal years 2017-2018.

Secretary Hall Confirmed After three declined invitations to testify before a Senate Committee and weeks of legal standoff, Military and Veteran Affairs Secretary Larry Hall was approved Thursday by both the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Nominations. The recommendation will go before the full Senate for a vote on Monday night.

Partisan Elections (HB100 (link is external)) A bill sponsored by Representative Justin Burr (R-Montgomery) that would require the political party of a judicial candidate be listed on the ballot passed through the Senate Elections and Rules Committees this week. The bill will now go to the Senate floor and if approved to the Governor.

Sunday Brunch (SB155 (link is external)) A bipartisan bill filed this week seeks to change the blue law that bans the sale of alcohol before noon on Sundays. The proposed law wouldn't allow sale of beer and wine at grocery or convenience stores, but would give restaurants the ability to serve alcoholic beverages beginning at 10am on Sunday.

Regulatory Reform (SB131 (link is external)) A bill entitled Regulatory Reform Act of 2016, which seeks to adopt all of the regulatory provisions agreed upon by the Senate last year, passed the Senate Natural and Environmental Resources Committee yesterday with an amendment that included changes related to private wells, storm water control, stream mitigation, and Sentinel Landscapes.

Governor's Budget State Budget Director, Charles Perusse, introduced Governor Cooper's Budget Recommendations to the joint Appropriations Committee yesterday. The proposed $24.4 billion in spending would amount to a $1 billion increase over the current fiscal year, representing a 5.1 percent increase in FY 2017-18, followed by a 1.6 percent increase in FY 2018-19. Notably, the recommendations call for the installation of a Film and Entertainment Tax Credit along with a Child-Care and Dependent Tax Credit. Click here for a full version of the Governor's Budget Recommendations (link is external).

  • Education: The Governor's goals to increase early childhood education rates from 22 percent to 55 percent, raise the high school graduation rate from 85 to 91 percent, and increase the number adults with higher education degrees from 38 to 55 percent aim to put North Carolina in the top 10 most educated states by the year 2025. Specifics on how to reach this goal include public school teachers receiving a 10 percent pay increase over the next two years (with an included $150 stipend for classroom materials), establishing a scholarship program to forgive $10,000 in loans for students who commit to teaching in public schools for four years, or three years at a low-income or low-preforming school, and a commitment to fully fund the NC Promise Program.
  • Health and Human Services: Cooper's proposed budget calls for the state to fully fund the Medicaid rebase with expansions, increase spending on mental health services by $152.8 million, and to develop and implement North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology (NC FAST), a case management system that seeks to improve the way the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the 100 county departments of social services conduct business while enabling staff to spend less time performing administrative tasks and more time assisting families.
  • Economic Development: The proposed budget calls for $85 million for local government infrastructure and assistance, $10 million for a development fund to assist large manufacturing site projects, $30 million to attract new projects, $10 million for downtown revitalizations, and $20 million to expand broadband— specifically in far west and north east tier 1 and tier 2 counties. The recommendations also call for the higher of a 2 percent or $800 raise to state employees who are not teachers, along with a $500 bonus. The proposal call for a 1.5 percent COLA for retirees.
  • Public Safety: The proposal would appropriate $13 million towards reducing recidivism rates, $1.8 million to the State Crime Lab, and $2 million in grants to assist local law enforcement in the fight against opioids. The proposal also includes the hiring of 56 new probation officers, a $5 an hour pay increase for private counsel representing persons declared indigent, and funding to support Raise the Age legislation including $13 million to support operating costs of a new youth detention center for 16 and 17 years olds in the case that the legislation is approved.
  • Environment: In addition to investments in the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, and he Agriculture and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, the proposal calls for $ 2 million to build capacity in areas of erosion control, dam safety, and water quality including coal ash management.
  • Transportation: The proposed budget would provide an additional $76 million in FY 2017-18 and over $114 million in FY 2018-19 to the Highway Fund for highway maintence, system preservation, and contract resurfacing and over $153 million in FY 2017-18 and over $181 million in FY 2018-19 to enhance transportation infrastructure supporting economic growth and job creation. The plan also calls for $3 million to DMV to help meet customer needs through online services, additional staff, and a new license office as well as $11 million to the ferry and rail facilities to upgrade equipment.
  • Disaster Relief: The Governor has recommended an additional $100 million be appropriated to assist with disaster relief relating to Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires in the west in addition to adding $300 million to the state's Savings Reserve.

Bills Filed

House Bills

H198 (link is external)

Repeal Centerville Charter.

H199 (link is external)

Establish Standards for Surgical Technology.

H200 (link is external)

Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission.

H201 (link is external)

NC Constitutional Carry Act.

H202 (link is external)

School Calendar Flex./Rutherford County.

H203 (link is external)

School Calendar Flex./Watauga County.

H204 (link is external)

School-Justice Partnership/Training SROs.

H205 (link is external)

Workers' Compensation/Prison Inmates.

H206 (link is external)

NC Cancer Treatment Fairness.

H207 (link is external)

Motorcycle License/Exempt Antique Scooters.

H208 (link is external)

Occup. Therapy/Choice of Provider.

H209 (link is external)

School Calendar Flex./Certain School Systems.

H210 (link is external)

School Calendar Flexibility/Guilford County.

H211 (link is external)

Increase Sampson County Occupancy Tax Auth.

H212 (link is external)

Zeta Phi Beta Special Registration Plate.

H213 (link is external)

School Calendar Flexibility/Wake County.

H214 (link is external)

Autocycles/No Helmet Required.

H215 (link is external)

State of State.

H216 (link is external)

DOC and JJ Combined Records.

H217 (link is external)

Domestic Violence Fatality Review in Buncombe.

H218 (link is external)

Prohibit Hunting From ROW/Buncombe County.

H219 (link is external)

Transportation Megaproject Funding.

H220 (link is external)

State Infrastructure Bank Revisions.

H221 (link is external)

Repeal HB2.

H222 (link is external)

State Auditor/Sharing Records.-AB

H223 (link is external)

Disabled Veteran Plate for Motorcycles.

H224 (link is external)

Warrant Check of Inmates in Custody.

H225 (link is external)

Property Taken Not Preclude Attempted Robbery.

H226 (link is external)

Consultation Requirements for DHHS.

H227 (link is external)

Preserve Tenancy by the Entirety.

H228 (link is external)

Postpone Assumed Name Revisions.

H229 (link is external)

GSC Technical Corrections 2017.

H230 (link is external)

Revised Uniform Athlete Agents Act.

H231 (link is external)

School Calendar Flex./Martin County.

H232 (link is external)

Main Street Funding for Poorest Counties.

H233 (link is external)

Ban the Box.

H234 (link is external)

School Calendar Flex./Caldwell County.

H235 (link is external)

Teacher Mentor Qualifications.

H236 (link is external)

NCAOC Omnibus Bill.

H237 (link is external)

Amend Expunction.

H238 (link is external)

Economic Security Act of 2017.

H239 (link is external)

Reduce Court of Appeals to 12 Judges.

H240 (link is external)

GA Appoint for District Court Vacancies.

H241 (link is external)

Special Sup. Ct. Judgeship Appointed by GA.

H242 (link is external)

License Plate Reader Systems in State ROWs.

H243 (link is external)

Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP)Act.

H244 (link is external)

Public Participation/Composting Facilities.

H245 (link is external)

Amend W-S Charter/Certain Candidates.

H246 (link is external)

Forsyth Tech Multicampus Funds.

H247 (link is external)

Limit Soldiers' Community College Tuition.

H248 (link is external)

Establish Aging Subcommittee of JLOC HHS.

H249 (link is external)

Economic Terrorism.

H250 (link is external)

Body Art Regulation Changes.

H251 (link is external)

Allow Concealed Carry on UNC & CC Campuses.

H252 (link is external)

Building Code Regulatory Reform.

H253 (link is external)

School Calendar Flex./Certain School Systems.

Senate Bills

S133 (link is external)

Senate 2017 UNC BOG Vacancy Election.

S134 (link is external)

Senate 2017 UNC Board of Governors Election.

S135 (link is external)

Domestic Violence Fatality Review in Buncombe.

S136 (link is external)

Restore Partisan Elections/Sup. & Dist. Court.

S137 (link is external)

Surcharge Transparency.

S138 (link is external)

Accountability for Taxpayer Investment Board.

S139 (link is external)

47th Senatorial District Local Act-1.

S140 (link is external)

Revise State Nature and Historic Preserve.

S141 (link is external)

Designate Official State Gold Festival.

S142 (link is external)

Designate Official State Spider.

S143 (link is external)

CDBG: Modify Uses to Include Scattered Sites.

S144 (link is external)

Fayetteville/Small Business Enterprise Pgm.

S145 (link is external)

Government Immigration Compliance.

S146 (link is external)

Juvenile Reinvestment Act.

S147 (link is external)

Reenact School Sales Tax Holiday.

S148 (link is external)

Juror Excused by Clerk of Sup. Ct.

S149 (link is external)

Modify School Performance Grades.

S150 (link is external)

Auto Ins./Notice to Lienholder of Termination.

S151 (link is external)

Inaccessible Liquid Resources/D-SNAP.

S152 (link is external)

NC Cancer Treatment Fairness.

S153 (link is external)

Military State Income Tax Relief.

S154 (link is external)

Charitable Fundraising for Nonprofit Orgs.

S155 (link is external)

Economic & Job Growth for NC Distilleries.

S156 (link is external)

Plumbing & Heating Contractors Changes.

S157 (link is external)

Amend Laws Regarding Mental Commitment Bars.

S158 (link is external)

English Proficiency Req./Massage Therapy Lic.

S159 (link is external)

Access to Sports/Extracurr. for All Students.

S160 (link is external)

Handicap Parking Privilege Certification.

S161 (link is external)

Conforming Changes LME/MCO Grievances/Appeals.

S162 (link is external)

LEO Assistance and Protection Act of 2017.

S163 (link is external)

Solid Waste Amendments.

S164 (link is external)

27th Senatorial District Local Act-1.

S165 (link is external)

Workers' Comp./Clarify Medicare Methodology.

S166 (link is external)

Expand Local Option Sales Tax for Education.

S167 (link is external)

30th Senatorial District Local Act-1.

S168 (link is external)

Subsidy Recipients to Cooperate/Child Support.

S169 (link is external)

Teaching Excellence Bonus Expansion.

S170 (link is external)

Remove Limits on Light Rail Funding.

S171 (link is external)

Remove Limits on Light Rail Funding.

S172 (link is external)

Remove Limits on Light Rail Funding.

S173 (link is external)

Housing Juveniles Under 18 in County Facility.

S174 (link is external)

Economic Security Act of 2017.

S175 (link is external)

Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP)Act.

S176 (link is external)

Modernize Physical Therapy Practice.

S177 (link is external)

Modernize Physical Therapy Practice.

S178 (link is external)

Ltd. Driving/Remove Wait for First Offense.

For more information, contact the Brooks Pierce Government Affairs Team, linked below.