NC Update provided by Connie Wilson and Lexi Arthur, CRMCA NC Lobbyists
Concrete Day at the NCGA was another success this year, as legislators attended both the legislative breakfast early April 4th and the reception the prior evening. CRMCA members walked the halls and met with legislators to discuss the industry. The day was full of meaningful interactions with lawmakers who were eager to learn about our concerns and opportunities to grow. Conversations included extending the life of the ponds past 2029, the benefit of changing the third location of the beneficiation unit to a larger pond, and the continued need for coal ash – misinformation on coal ash demand was distributed to legislators, so it was a valuable opportunity to set the record straight.
At the end of March, Speaker Tim Moore announced the House’s plan to reveal its proposed budget by the end of April, putting them ahead of schedule. Once the Senate and House finalize their budget compromise, the budget will likely will face another obstacle. Many expect Governor Cooper to veto the NCGA’s budget because it won’t include his top agenda priorities, such as full Medicaid expansion. Differing theories and rumors fill the halls of the NCGA about the timing and tactics relating to both the budget and the remainder of session, and one thing remains clear – there is no certainty.
Bills of Interest – Recent Action
HB 448 / SB 422 Planning/Development Changes were introduced as companion bills mid-March and early April, respectively. The bills would reorganize, consolidate, modernize, and clarify statutes regarding local planning and development regulation.
HB 441 / SB 348 Clear Roadblocks to I-77 Toll Relief were introduced at the end of March, and would repeal Section 34.11 of S.L. 2018-5.
HB 675 2019 Building Code Regulatory Reform makes various changes and clarifications to building code statutes. It was referred to State and Local Government with serial referrals to Reg. Reform and then Rules.
HB 707 WC/Independent Truckers was recently filed. It modifies the Workers’ Compensation Act relating to the status of truck drivers as employees or independent contractors.
SB 328 Increase Rqmts. for Small Structural Fills would subject all projects using coal combustion products as structural fill to the same requirements for permitting, design and construction, closure, and post-closure.
SB 569 Contractor/Designer Fair Contracting would change laws regarding construction indemnity agreements, such as expanding the list of those purporting to be held harmless under an indemnity promise or agreement to any other person or entity beyond existing list, and expanding list of damages to economic damages or losses or expenses of any type.
SC Update provided by Ben Homeyer, CRMCA SC Lobbyist
Roughly a month remains in the SC General Assembly and much activity is continuing. While we were unsuccessful in attaching a change to H3879 for CDL Presumption of Qualification a stand-alone bill was introduced to try and fix this problem. H.4381 by Rep. Cobb-Hunter would provide more protection from frivolous law suits. Ourselves and other truck fleet owners will continue to try and push this bill.
We have been monitoring H.3656 known as the complete streets bill. The bill as amended would require the SCDOT “to develop a ‘complete streets’ policy which shall be taken into consideration when improving publicly funded highways in urban areas with a view to, as funding may permit, providing safe and efficient accommodation for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. The main opposition is the $40 million price tag.
Senate Finance this week finished work on their version of the State Budget. Some items of note were $350K to Orangeburg/Calhoun tech to enhance their CDL program to get more drivers in the system. A very large pot of money to SC Commerce to bring new industries to the state which we support as it leads to more opportunities and funds for DOT for several interchanges. The full Senate will debate the budget the week of April 15th.
Finally we have been working with the SCTA on changes to the road user fees and how property taxes are paid. We have asked the Governor to instruct the DMV to follow the provisions in the Roads Bill that we supported which would have the DMV handle the property taxes and not the local Governments. The counties have been very disjointed in how they are applying the law which is leading to confusion for many companies.