NC Legislative Update
By Cady Thomas
SB105 – State Budget
The Senate passed their budget which include the tax changes and reductions in H 334 which previously passed the Senate. The overall Senate budget spending is just below the $25.7 billion spending number agreed to between the House and Senate.
Of note for CRMCA are the following sections and provisions:
Funds the Be Pro Be Proud Program to be run through the Department of Labor (p203 of S105) and is funded at $5 million in FY 21-22
DOT Funding Starts on J 32 of the Money Report and includes a total budget of $2.63 billion in FY 21-22 which is a 12.6% increase.
Highway Trust fund will receive $1.6+ billion in FY 21-22 and $1.7+ billion in FY 22-23 which are increases of 26.1% and 11.4% respectively.
Adds $300 million in nonrecurring funds to the DOT Reserve in FY 22-23
DOT Revenue forecast is up 17.2%
Highway Maintenance is funded at $1.8 billion (14.8% increase)
Bridge Repair = $344 million
Pavement Projects = $680 million
Resurfacing = $570 million
There are also several special provisions relating to NCDOT which were included based on State Auditor Beth Wood’s suggestions. They are:
Creates a budget office within DOT (p376 of S105); and
Eliminates the requirement that DOT have a cash balance below $1 billion in order to issue bonds for just FY 21-22 (p377 of S 105).
The Senate is expected to pass their budget by the end of this week and then the House will start their process. Once the House and Senate approve a final budget, it will go to the Governor who has not yet commented on the Senate’s budget. However, Governor Cooper’s proposed budget was $27.3 billion and included Medicaid expansion.
Bills and Legislation
SB208 – Labor Law Changes
The NC Department of Labor’s bill requires employers to provide earlier notice of wage changes of at least one pay period rather than 24 hours. It also gives workers the ability to request, in writing, how they want their final paycheck sent to them. The bill received its final vote by the NCGA on June 29 and is off to the governor for his consideration.
HB951 – Study Emerging Energy Generation
This bill aims to reduce the amount of coal plants used by Duke Energy and replace them with gas-powered generation. It is understood that this would require the advancement of the controversial MVP-Southgate pipeline. Many groups have opposed this legislation since it’s introduction and it has not yet received a committee vote.
HB130 – East Coast Greenway/State Trails
This week Governor Cooper signed a bill that will add the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile trail from Florida to Maine, to the state’s parks system.
Numbers as of June 29:
1,013,689 total cases
393 currently hospitalized
2.7% percentage of positive tests each day
53% of adult population fully vaccinated
Other Important Items
NC Department of Environmental Quality Nominated
After Governor Cooper’s first nomination for this role was rejected by the NC Senate, he named Elizabeth Biser as his next choice. Most recently, Mrs. Biser was the senior policy adviser for the Recycling Partnership. Her previous positions include Legislative Liaison for DEQ and contract lobbyist for the Environmental Defense Action Fund and others.
The Governor stated that Mrs. Biser “is a strong leader who has experience with this environmental agency and knows its critical work in North Carolina.”