This Week

Longtime legislative reporter Mark Binker, most recently editor of the The Insider, passed away unexpectedly this past Saturday at 43 years old. Mark was a friend to many including the Nexsen Pruet Public Policy team and his physical absence and his professionalism in the NC Press Corps will be sorely missed by many. In tribute to Binker, WUNC put together a podcast, which you can listen to here, with comments by his friends and colleagues. A memorial service is scheduled for next Friday, May 12th at 3:00 in Raleigh’s Fletcher Auditorium.

‘The soul of the NC press room’ – Mark Binker remembered fondly – N&O State leaders mourn loss of reporter Mark Binker – WRAL

This week was a “hangover” following a long and hectic week ahead of last Thursday’s crossover deadline.  Both chambers held no-vote “skeleton” sessions all week with the exception of Wednesday, where lawmakers held a joint session to honor the UNC Tarheel men’s basketball team on their national championship.  The House is expected to hold skeleton sessions Monday and Tuesday next week as well.  No Committees have met, so there are no bills on the floor for votes.

Tar Heels honored by governor, lawmakers – News & Record Williams urges more teamwork among NC lawmaker – WRAL NC representative introduces amendment to keep Pinson, Bradley at UNC for another year – N&O

The Senate however, was here all week, although not quite in plain sight. Senate Budget writers and the Chairs of the various Appropriations Subcommittees worked behind closed doors on their budget proposal throughout last weekend and into this week. Senate leaders anticipate unveiling and voting on their proposal next week with a final vote by no later than Friday. This time schedule will allow time for the House to pass its own budget proposal, leaving time to resolve the differences in a Conference Committee before the end of the current fiscal year, June 30th.  

Senate on track to pass its N Carolina budget plan next week – N&O

Meeting this goal is one that is regularly set, but rarely attained, and often requires a Continuing Resolution to keep State government operating until the new Budget becomes law.  This is especially true in a divided government where Gov. Cooper (D) is almost certain to veto the Republican led legislature’s spending proposal.  House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) did note this week that budget writers in the two chambers have been working together on many of the issues and are on pace to adjourn by the end of June or early July.  Both chambers currently wield veto-proof majorities.

Democratic governor poses new impediment to GOP budget writers – Carolina Journal

Ahead of today, there were two bills pending on Gov. Cooper’s desk and the Governor took action on both this morning.  Gov. Cooper signed Senate Bill 131, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017, sponsored by Sen. Andy Wells (R-Catawba).  The law amends several State laws related to agricultural, energy, business, environmental, and natural resources, and State and local government regulations.  The bill title notes 2016 because the legislation contains the provisions that passed both chambers from last year’s Regulatory Reform Act, which ultimately failed to pass, as well as new provisions.

The other bill that was pending was House Bill 467, entitled Agriculture and Forestry Nuisance Remedies, sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin) was vetoed.  The bill would have limited the amount of compensatory damages awarded in a private nuisance action against an agricultural or forestry operation to the fair market value or fair rental value of the plaintiff's property.  The proposal drew opposition from environmental interests and support from agricultural interests.  Both chambers passed the measure with veto-proof majorities.

Cooper vetoes hog farm nuisance lawsuit limits – WRAL

A link to next week’s announced Committee calendar can be found here.  A cumulative list of House and Senate bills filed so far this year, links to each bill, and its current status can be found here.

Crossed Over

Of the 1,597 bills filed between the two chambers, the House has passed 334 bills and the Senate has passed 119 of its bills.  A  list of House bills that have crossed over can be found here, and Senate bills that have crossed over can be found here.  The NCGA central staff also released their crossover publication, which can be found here.  All of these bills made crossover, although not all of them necessarily were subject to the now expired deadline.  After 15 weeks of session, the State has enacted just 10 bills into law.  It is also worth noting that all of the House bills sent to the Senate that have not already passed both chambers, with the exception of one, currently reside in the Senate Rules Committee.  It is expected that these bill will be released methodically.  The House has referred many of the Senate bills it has received to various Committees.

Legislators Slog Through Hundreds Of Bills During Crossover Week – NC Health News 

Some bills worth noting that have advanced to the other chamber include:

Tax/Revenue Laws

House Bill 59 – Revenue Law Technical Changes

House Bill 480 – ABC Permits/Tax Compliance & Reports

Senate Bill 75 – Const. Amd. - Max. Income Tax Rate of 5.5%

Senate Bill 126 – Change the LOST Adjustment

Senate Bill 325 – Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut

Senate Bill 552 – Modify Sales Tax Remittance: Boat/Jet Repairs

Environment/Energy/Agriculture

House Bill 56 – Amend Environmental Laws

House Bill 319 – Study Solar Decommissioning Requirements

House Bill 320 – Study Electronics Recycling

House Bill 321 – Study Solid Waste Disposal Tax

House Bill 507 – Land-Use Regulatory Changes

House Bill 576 – Allow Aerosilization of Leachate

Senate Bill 131 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017

Senate Bill 434 – Amend Environmental Laws

Senate Bill 469 – Preserve Municipal Solid Waste Capacity

Healthcare

House Bill 57 – Enhance Physical Therapy Licensure Compact

House Bill 187 – Modernize Physical Therapy Practice Act

House Bill 206 – NC Cancer Treatment Fairness Act

House Bill 243 – Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act

House Bill 307 – Board Cert. Behavior Analyst/Autism Coverage

House Bill 403 – LME/MCO Claims Reporting/Mental Health Amdts.

House Bill 446 – The Pharmacy Patient Fair Practice Act

House Bill 550 – Establish New Nurse Licensure Compact

Senate Bill 42 – Reduce Cost & Reg. Burden/Hosp. Construction

Senate Bill 630 – Revise IVC Laws to Improve Behavioral Health 

Commerce/Insurance/Business/Transportation

House Bill 16 – Enhance Oversight of Service Contracts/PED

House Bill 35 – Protect NC Workers Act

House Bill 68 – BRIGHT Futures Act

House Bill 110 – DOT/DMV Changes – Megaproject Funding

House Bill 214 – Autocycles/No Helmet Required

House Bill 500 – ABC Omnibus Legislation

House Bill 773 – ABC Sales/Sports & entertainment Venues

House Bill 819 – Protect NC Right to Work Constitutional Amend.

House Bill 820 – Protect Right to Work/Conforming Changes

Senate Bill 621 – Business Contracts/Choice of Law and Forum

Senate Bill 660 – Economic Development Incentives Modification

Education

House Bill 375 – School Cal. Flex./CC

House Bill 389 – School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program

House Bill 704 – Divide School Systems/Study Committee

Senate Bill 531 – School Boards Can’t Sue Counties

Elections/Redistricting/Appointments

House Bill 240 – GA Appoint for District Court Vacancies

House Bill 241 – Special Sup. Ct Judgeship Appointed by GA

House Bill 496 – Fair and Nonpartisan Ballot Placement

House Bill 576 – Filling Vacancies/U.S. Senate

Senate Bill 285 – Equal Representation for Asheville

Senate Bill 486 - Uniform Voting Hours Act

Senate Bill 655 – Change Date When Primary Elections Held

Senate Bill 656 – Electoral Freedom Act of 2017 

Miscellaneous

House Bill 3 – Eminent Domain

House Bill 105 – Const. Amendment-Limit Governor/LG to 2 Terms

House Bill 113 – Pvt Action Local Compliance/Immigration Laws.

House Bill 229 – GSC Technical Corrections 2017

House Bill 527 – Restore/Preserve Campus Free Speech

House Bill 551 – Strengthening Victim’s Rights

Senate Bill 145 – Government Immigration Compliance