CRMCA Legislative Wrap Up & Successes
November 9, 2020
This year has been filled with many new challenges for businesses, communities, and individuals across the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic quickly became the primary focus of North Carolina lawmakers and other state officials, with policy decisions impacting stakeholders constantly being considered. We navigated through the unique legislative session with several legislative successes:
- Called an ‘Essential Business’: At the beginning of the pandemic, in the midst of businesses having to shut down, businesses among various trades were urging the Governor’s office to consider them as an ‘essential business’ in Governor Cooper’s executive order(s). We successfully ensured that the list of essential businesses encompassed this industry so that CRMCA members could continue to operate.
- Defended against workers’ compensation law changes: This year was filled with numerous efforts to change the workers’ compensation law, which would have increased liability for employers. We worked alongside employers across the state to successfully fight against proposals to create a rebuttable presumption that employees who are infection with COVID-19 contracted the disease in the course of employment.
- Ensured continued operations during local curfews: To prepare for protests, cities across the state have called for local curfews, and will likely continue to do so. We have been working with local officials to explain the need for industry members to be at certain work sites during the curfew. As a result, several local curfew orders have included exemptions to avoid project disruptions by allowing this important work to continue.
- Concrete testing: Although COVID-19 was the focus of lawmakers’ efforts this year, we continued to talk to legislators and stakeholders about our issues with concrete testing so that we can move forward with a solution next year, when we expect to see an appetite for other policy changes.
- Highway Use Tax cap: We are continuing to research problems and inconsistencies with NC’s highway use tax cap to ensure fair and legal taxes are charged to CRMCA members.
- NC DOT funding: The topic of DOT funding become more urgent and relevant this year – especially with decreased gas consumption, lower tax revenue projections, and industry members that were already concerned about DOT’s financial crisis anticipating additional strains. We explained the impact on industry members and encouraged legislators to provide additional funding to NC DOT. DOT 2020-2021 FY Budget/Governance (HB 77 / Ch. SL 2020-91) passed in July, which provided NC DOT funding in the wake of COVID-19-related revenue declines at the Department.
- Destination 2030/Infrastructure Funding Solutions: As an active participant in Destination 2030 – a coalition led by the NC Chamber of Commerce – we are working to identify innovative and sustainable solutions to fund infrastructure across the state.
As we look ahead to the 2021 Long Session, we know lawmakers will be tasked with difficult budget cuts, as well as adopting creative solutions for our state’s current challenges. Key legislators that are largely involved in policies important to CRMCA – including DOT funding and environmental issues – won their races and will return to Raleigh next year to serve in the NC General Assembly. We have already begun conversations with them about CRMCA’s legislative priorities and have received positive feedback about these efforts.