Short Session in Review
I guess if one were to look back at the session that ended last Friday, one could say that it was the shortest session in recent memory. Under normal circumstances, the “short sessions” traditionally run from mid-May to the mid-to-latter part of July. For a session to last longer than that in an even-numbered year, one only needs to go back to 2002, where the session did not end until November 13 of that year.
The 2018 session can be broken down in three phases. The first phase, of course, was the budget. The second phase was a smattering of local bills, while the third phase was a combination of local bills, veto overrides, and constitutional amendments.
Of course, the process for constitutional amendments are, by no means done. As I stated in the previous two newsletters, the votes taken in the General Assembly only means that voters will have a say as to what gets added to the North Carolina Constitution.
Local bills are bills that, by rules of the legislature, effect fifteen or fewer counties. With few exceptions, local bills generally have either unanimous or near-unanimous support, and does not require the signature of the governor. Some issues that might inspire a local bill might be about personnel policy issues that only effect small counties and municipalities, or the need to establish fire districts in a particular county.
During the session, there were several overrides of gubernatorial vetoes. Here is a summary of some of those bill. Other bills has been covered in previous newsletters.
House Bill 374 Regulatory Reform Act of 2018
One of the main missions of the General Assembly since 2011, was untangle businesses’ and entrepreneurs from the ever growing amount of red tape that was hampering growth of the economy. Here are the main provisions of this years’ regulatory reform bill.
- Allow electronic delivery of agency decision documents in contested cases
- Allow temporary food establishments to operate: (i) for up to 30 days, with a possible one-time 15-day extension, and (ii) operate at agritourism businesses
- Change the required office location for the North Carolina Board Of Cosmetic Art Examiners from Raleigh to Wake County
- Amend the law on contracts with automatic renewal clauses to exempt real estate professionals from the applicable requirements
- Make motorcycle financing changes to exempt motorcycles with a purchase price of $7,500 or more from the prohibition on balloon payments
- Clarify registration requirements for employees of alarm system businesses to include those employees who install or service commercial business establishments to those persons who a licensee must register with the Alarm Systems Licensing Board
- Modify the timing for renewable precertification for persons transporting essentials or restoring utilities during emergency declarations
- Require the Division of Mitigation Services to review and revise its bidding and contracting procedures for procurement of mitigation services
- Clarify improvement permit and construction authorization extensions for wastewater systems to provide that for purposes of extending a permit’s duration, site activities begun or completed pursuant to requirements from the local health department under the original permit would not be construed to be altered conditions and cannot constitute a basis for refusal of the permit extension
- Require the Legislative Research Commission to study mandatory connection authority relating to use of the engineer option permit for wastewater · Revise wastewater permitting requirements
- Expand the definition of “accepted wastewater dispersal system” to include approved trench dispersal systems
- Cap Title V air quality permit fees for air curtain burners
- Require the Environmental Management Commission to review local government implementation of certain water quality laws · Authorize replacement of certain temporary erosion control structures
- Authorize certain coastal stormwater program variances
- Allow American eels to be imported from Maryland for aquaculture purposes
- Clarify applicability of institutional controls and notice recordation for aboveground tanks, and modify other requirements for underground storage tanks
- Expand exemptions for certain local governments’ authority to enact flow control
- Clarify landfill life-of-site/franchise requirements for sanitary landfills
- Amend recoverable costs in the fuel clause rider for electric public utilities that have fewer than 150,000 North Carolina retail jurisdictional customers to include the cost of PURPA QF purchased power, and subject them to the current 1% annual cap on cost increases Amend the process for vacancy appointments to the Utilities Commission and the Industrial Commission
- Adjust the number of assistant district attorneys in Prosecutorial Districts 10 and 22
- Exempt the personal property of charter schools from property tax
- Amend legislation regarding maintenance of roads surrounding schools
- Repeal State Board of Education policies inconsistent with State law, as affirmed by the North Carolina Supreme Court, nd address State Board of Education rules
- Prohibit the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service from revoking or refusing to renew a funeral license under certain circumstances
House Bill 382 DOI Omnibus
House Bill 382 would 1) incorporate model act language from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) into North Carolina’s Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Act; 2) amend the Surplus Lines Act to allow an insurer to be designated a Domestic Surplus Lines Insurer (“DSLI”) and be domiciled in and write surplus lines insurance in North Carolina; 3) amend the notice provisions in the consent to rate statute and add data collection provisions; and 4) amend and make technical changes to other insurance laws, as recommended by the Department of Insurance.
House Bill 717 Judicial Elections Changes
House Bill 717 would do the following:
- Re-establish judicial divisions, reducing the number of divisions to five from eight, effective July 1, 2018
- Combine Duplin, Jones, Onslow, and Sampson Counties into one district for Superior Court
.Restructure the assignments of Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties to establish two districts for Prosecutorial districts, and establish residency requirements for filing in district court.
- Restructure the assignment of Hoke and Moore Counties to establish a two county district consisting of those counties for Superior, District, and Prosecutorial districts.
- Restructure the assignment of Anson, Richmond, and Scotland Counties to establish a three county district consisting of those counties for Superior, District, and Prosecutorial districts.
- Require that official ballots contain a designation of the seat sought by a candidate when there are two or more vacancies for the office, to be determined by the State Board, provided that the designation is not an individual’s name.
Also in this session, I had a chance to make at least some progress on getting some of my own bills moved.
House Bill 1089 Candidacy Challenge/Expunged Felony/Sheriff
While the bill did pass the House, the bill did not become law since it got bottled up in the Senate. My hope is that the bill can go through the complete process, and become law next year. This bill stemmed from a challenge of candidacy against the Sheriff of Swain County, Curtis Cochran. The intent of the bill is to put the burden of proof on the challenger, since even candidates should have the same presumption of innocence as any other citizen would.
House Bill 414 Official Fly Fishing Museum/Outdoor Festival
One bright spot for me in this session was the passage of House Bill 414. The original language was kept intact, but the Outdoor Festival piece was added in the Senate. I supported the addition, and at my behest the House concurred with the Senate version, and was signed by the Governor on June 15th.
Naturally, I would’ve loved to have seen all my other bills move. Sometimes, it may take several sessions before a bill moves through the entire process. All in all, more than half of the bills on which I was a primary sponsor made it to the other chamber. That is not a small feat for any freshman. My hope is all the bills I introduced in 2017 and 2018 can be introduced early next year so that the chances of them moving in the other chamber, and eventually becoming law are improved.
A Dream Come True
This past Saturday, I has the opportunity to join US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, US Senator Thom Tillis, US Rep. Mark Meadows, and the Swain County Leadership in formally receiving the full payment of the $35.2 million that was owed to Swain County by the federal government for the unfinished North Shore Road Project.
I am glad to see that this finally came to fruition, thanks to persistent follow up between myself, Senator Tillis, Congressman Meadows, and Secretary Zinke.
Congressman Mark Meadows, Swain County Commissioner Phil Carson, Rep, Mike Clampitt, Sen. Jim Davis, Rep. Kevin Corbin, US Sen. Thom Tillis, Secretary Ryan Zinke
Please remember that you can reach my office by phone and by email. My phone number is (919) 715-3005, and my email address is email@example.com. Also, you can listen to the session, or most committee meetings by visiting ncleg.net,and clicking the audio tab.