SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Each week NC House Representative Harry Warren, (R-District 77), provides WBTV with an update on what's happening in the General Assembly, with special attention paid to actions that impact Rowan County.
Here, unedited, is the latest edition of what we call "Warren's Weekly;"
I would like to thank those of you who attended my Town Hall meeting this past Friday evening. Representative Carl Ford joined me for a combined meeting for Districts 77 and 76. I do not anticipate holding another Town Hall again until next session, which begins in January, 2015. It is expected that we will adjourn this 2013 -2014 session of the General Assembly "sine die," within the next ten calendar days. Whatever occurs between now and then, I will cover in a newsletter for you.
Below is a recap of last week's activities for the General Assembly and the various committee meetings that were held. As you can see from the Calendar of Events, there are very few committee meetings scheduled this week as both chambers are frantically closing down, in anticipation of going home.
Today, I Co-chaired what I expect will be the last Government Committee meeting for the 2013 - 2014 session.
I hope you find the information helpful and informative.
(Certain items of this report provided by and reprinted with the permission of MVA Public Affairs.)
Last week, Governor McCrory signed:
· HB 558, Soil and Water/Regional Jails Refunds
· HB 777 Sex Offender/Expand Residential Restrictions
· HB 1031, NC Economic Development Partnership Modifications
· HB 698, Background Checks for Firefighters
· SB 463, Jail Dormitory Minimum Standards
· SB 719, Student Organizations/Rights & Recognition into law.
· The Governor also vetoed HB 1069, Unemployment Insurance Law Changes.
Last week, the Senate passed:
· SB 729, Coal Ash Management Act of 2014
· HB 267, Captive Insurance Amendments
· HB 366, NC Farm Act of 2014
· HB 1220, Hope 4 Haley and Friends
The House passed:
· SB 38, Amend Environmental Laws 2014
· SB 403, Omnibus Election Clarifications
· SB 812, Replace Common Core with NC's Higher Academic Standards
· SB 815, Ensuring Privacy of Student Records
· HB 1099, Unmanned Aircraft Regulation
· SB 493, Health and Safety Regulatory Reform
· SB 614, Military Lands Protection Act
· SB 648, NC Commerce Protection Act
· SB 734, Regulatory Reform Act of 2014
· SB 3, 2014 Budget Modifications/Pay Raises/Other Changes
The Committee met on Tuesday, June 24. The Committee took up:
· HB 366, the NC Farm Act of 2014. This bill contains a host of agriculture related law changes including provisions that would prohibit local governments from regulating the use or sale of fertilizer, landscape contractors would have to be licensed by the state and illegal trespassing on farm property could be a felony if a person intends to disrupt the operation.
· HB 379, Amend Veterinary Practice Act/Fees. This bill seeks to authorize the NC Veterinary Medical Board to change the Board's laws pertaining to licensure fees and license reinstatement.
· HB 1139, State Nature and Historic Preserve Adds & Deletes. H 1139 seeks to accept and remove certain properties as part of the State Nature and Historic Preserve.
All three bills passed the Committee. HB 366 and HB 379 have been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration.
The Committee met on Wednesday, June 25 and approved these bills:
· HB 366, NC Farm Act of 2014, which would make numerous changes with respect to laws regarding agricultural operations, including provisions that would allow for the confidentiality of environmental investigations of agricultural operations, allow the Commissioner of Agriculture to appoint limited-jurisdiction law enforcement officers, rewrite the landscape contractor licensing statutes, classify trespassing on an agricultural facility as first degree trespass, and clarify the inspection authority of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.
· HB 379, Amend Veterinary Practice Act/Fees, a bill that would allow the Veterinary Medicine Board to change some licensing fees and would amend the laws with respect to license reinstatement.
· HB 1052, Adjust the Utility Regulatory Fee, which would allow the General Assembly to establish a different utility regulatory fee for the retail services of telecommunications providers that have elected an alternative method of regulation.
· HB 1182, UNC Nonappropriated Capital Projects. This bill would authorize various capital projects in the University system to be paid for by receipts other than State appropriations.
The Committee met on Thursday, June 27. Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) Director Art Pope and OSBM staff presented the Administration's Medicaid spending projections. Fiscal Research staff and members of the committee asked questions of Administration staff regarding projections. No legislation was taken up during this committee meeting.
The Committee met on Tuesday, June 25. Two regulatory reform bills were considered and passed out of Committee during this meeting.
· SB 493, Health and Safety Regulatory Reform, which was modified to include only health and safety related regulatory reform issues.
· SB 734, Regulatory Reform Act of 2014, which was modified to include a host of business and government related regulatory reform issues. The bill next goes to the full House for consideration.
The Committee met three times last week – on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. All but three of the bills taken up by the Committee were local bills.
· HB 1033, Special Assessment/Dam Repair, (which was approved by the Committee on Wednesday) began as a local bill for Richmond County but was converted into a public bill due to concerns about whether a local bill on the subject matter would be constitutional. The bill would allow a county to impose a special assessment on property contiguous to a lake for the purpose of repairing the dam of that lake.
· SB 105, Political Signs/Add Towns to SHP, (which was approved by the Committee on Thursday) would clarify that a municipal political sign ordinance may apply to State highways within the municipality and would authorize the towns of Elizabethtown and Matthews to enroll their employees in the State Health Plan.
· SB 871, Raleigh/Durham/Deannexation/Annexation, (which was approved by the Committee on Thursday) would shift certain property from the corporate limits of the City of Raleigh to the City of Durham and amends a bill enacted in 2013 regarding the annexation of other specific property into the City of Durham.
The Subcommittee met on Wednesday, June 25, and approved two bills:
· HB 1099, Unmanned Aircraft Regulation, which would regulate the use of unmanned aircraft systems (commonly referred to as 'drones') within the State.
· SB 648, NC Commerce Protection Act of 2014, that would regulate contracts between the Attorney General and private outside counsel and would establish procedures intended to reduce frivolous claims with respect to patent infringement.
The Committee met twice last week to address their new budget bill and an omnibus Justice and Public Safety bill. On Wednesday, June 25, the House Committee approved a PCS to SB 3 that addresses teacher and state employee raises, teacher career development, in state tuition for veterans and funding for new coal ash regulators. SB 3 received a favorable report in Committee and was approved on the House floor by a vote of 117-0.
On Thursday, June 26, the Committee met again to take up SB 594, Omnibus Justice Amendments. The bill makes numerous criminal justice changes including a provision that moves the SBI out of the Attorney General's office and into the Department of Public Safety. SB 594 received a favorable report in Committee and passed second reading in the House by a vote of 75-39.
IN THE NEWS
Raleigh News & Observer: House, Senate political theater leads to little progress on budget bill
Raleigh News & Observer: Veto leads to change
Charlotte Observer: For sale: Coal ash to right buyer
Raleigh News & Observer: NC House reassembles Senate regulatory overhaul bill