NC Update provided by Connie Wilson and Lexi Arthur, CRMCA NC Lobbyists
Early this month, Governor Cooper released his 2019-21 budget. As expected, included in his budget’s priorities is the proposal to expand Medicaid – a controversial effort that will continue to cause unrest both within the General Assembly, and between the Legislature and the Governor. The Governor’s budget also proposes to place a nearly $4 billion bond initiative before North Carolina voters to invest in better schools and other critical infrastructure.
The Senate and House have continued to push their respective solutions for school construction funding. In January, the Senator Harry Brown (R-Onslow) released SB 5, which is a pay-as-you-go approach that earmarks additional tax revenues for public education construction. At the end of February, Speaker Tim Moore sponsored HB 241, a $1.9 billion school construction bond proposal.
This Carolina Journal article explains, “The Senate bill would make money available to schools two years faster than would be possible through a $1.9 billion school construction bond, which House Speaker Tim Moore and Gov. Roy Cooper advocate.” However, at a press conference in early February, Speaker Moore argued, “A pay-as-you-go plan not only makes a new permanent commitment to state support of school capital. It encumbers a substantial percentage of General Fund tax revenue, immediately reducing spending flexibility.” Speaker Moore also noted that State Treasurer Dale Folwell told them that the debt capacity is about $2 billion, and that going over that amount could affect the state’s credit rating.
Bills of Interest – Recent Action
SB 5: Building North Carolina’s Future would expand recently created capital construction fund with additional revenues, providing $2 billion over nine years for K-12 school construction and maintenance. – Passed the full Senate and now sits in House Education K-12; Serial referrals to Pensions and Retirement, Appropriations, Finance, and Rules
SB 29/HB 81: Move Over Law/Increase Penalties would increase penalties for violating the Move Over Law. – Passed the full Senate and now sits in House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Matters; Serial referrals to Judiciary, Finance, Transportation, Appropriations, and Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House
HB 241: Education Bond Act of 2019 would, if approved by NC voters, provide $1.5 billion in capital funding to K-12 schools, $200 million to community colleges, and $200 million to the UNC system. – Passed third reading in House on 3/14/19
SC Update provided by Ben Homeyer, CRMCA SC Lobbyist
It has been a long month at the statehouse. We had a great day with the House Republicans on February 19th. Great member engagement from the caucus members and the most CRMCA folks ever in attendance. It was another positive step with the decision makers in the State.
The House on March 13th completed their version of the budget. And while there are ancillary items we will care about and continue to watch such as economic development funding, higher ed funding to push more folks towards technical educations and some work at DOT. We did not however get the Be Pro Be Proud money in this version. It is something we will continue to look at in the Senate.
The House also passed a comprehensive education reform bill. One of the goals of the GA this session is to reform education and help identify students all along the way that can hopefully be employees to the industry. Going hand in glove with K-12 reform is also higher ed reform. This is important because a larger focus on tech schools is being put forth and that will hopefully put more workers in the pipeline.
In the Senate the medicinal Cannabis committee has begun their meetings. A subset of this group is to look at how marijuana effects the business community. I and others have been asked to provide info on items from insurance to CDL’s and workers comp. The FMCSA has a national ban on the drug even in states where it has been made legal. It is something the committee is going to have to look at.
Sales tax exemptions have been a hot topic in both bodies. I have spoken with the chairman of each committee about the exemptions related to manufacturing to protect the drum portion of the trucks. We have also been working with the other members of the truck caucus to protect items such as motor fuel exemptions and service contracts for repairs. We have approximately two months left until the end of the session.