NC Update provided by Connie Wilson and Lexi Arthur, CRMCA NC Lobbyists
At the beginning of May, the NC House of Representatives approved its $23.9 billion state budget by a vote of 61-51 floor vote along party lines. Many members of the Democrat minority criticize the budget for not fully expanding Medicaid, and insist that more funding should go toward education rather than focusing on cutting taxes. Republicans emphasized the 4.8% teacher pay raise and other education and middle-income tax cut provisions. The House budget will now move to the Senate for consideration, where it will undergo modifications. The Senate is expected to release its proposed budget before the end of May. Upon both chambers reaching a compromise, many expect Governor Cooper to veto the NCGA’s budget due to political discrepancies.
Last week was crossover week at the N.C. General Assembly, so both the House and Senate raced to pass many bills in order to keep them alive for the biennium. Bills that have a fiscal impact on the State, such as implementing fees, are not restricted by this deadline. Of course, topics can still be kept alive using the ‘gut and amend’ tactic, so we will continue to monitor all legislation for relevant changes – such as any impact to the session law requiring the three beneficiation units for coal ash reprocessing.
At the end of April, Duke Energy filed challenges in the Office of Administrative Hearings against
the state order to clean up its toxic-laden coal ash stored in unlined, leaking pits sitting in
groundwater next to rivers and lakes at six of its sites in North Carolina: Allen, Belews Creek,
Cliffside (Rogers Complex), Marshall, Mayo and Roxboro. Legislators typically avoid making legislative decisions involving an issue that is in court, so this topic will likely be on hold at the NCGA until further action is taken by the courts.
HB 675 2019 Building Code Regulatory Reform passed the House before the crossover deadline, and will be considered in the Senate soon. This bill includes various changes and clarifications to building code laws, including a provision pertaining to concrete testing at residential locations. While there’s currently no requirement to test concrete at every residential location, CRMCA plans to work with the Senate to clarify the protocol that must be followed, should concrete testing be performed at a residential location.
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 was re-referred to House Rules.
SB 29/HB 81 Move Over Law/Increase Penalties would increase penalties for violating the Move Over Law. – SB 29 passed the full Senate and was re-referred to House 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 – Passed the House and was referred to Senate Rules.
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 the House and sits in Senate Rules.
SC Update provided by Ben Homeyer, CRMCA SC Lobbyist
The SC General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on May 9, 2019. While the bulk of the work is done for the year there are still several issues hanging out for this year and numerous issues for next session.
All legislation introduced this year will still be viable for 2020. The Budget is close to being completed. The conference Committee will meet the week of the 13th with a goal of having a budget adopted before June 1. While the Senate included $950K for the Be Pro Be Proud initiative we have supported the House pulled the funding down to $1. But the sides can now negotiate any dollar in between. So for the first time in several years we have a viable chance at dollars for the program and we should have a final number by the annual meeting in June.
The SC Dept. of Commerce has received multiple Millions for economic development which will result in more building and need for concrete in the state. The SCDOT continues to put forth funds for road development. Currently there are over 3,000 miles of roadways in ALL 46 counties with improvements underway. As of today the SCDOT has completed: over $43.7 Million with ver $882 Million under construction and over $75.2 Million In Development. One project that has not received approval yet is 526 in Charleston which was not adopted this week by the Joint Committee of House and Senate which must approve projects. It is still however under consideration.
I have also been closely following the Carolina Panthers legislation which was is going to a conference to discuss the size of the tax credits. There will be a massive need for concrete in the Rock Hill area. From practice facilities to a hospital to a new interchange to a new runway at the airport.
For next session we will be extremely busy with legislation. Bills have been introduced this session dealing with CDL protections for owners, changes to tort laws and tolling legislation for I95. In addition after months of study committee work, the House has introduced Sales, Income, and business license tax changes. Everything from changes to what is taxed to how it is taxed is on the table and will be a major part of next session.