The curtain has fallen on Act One of the state legislature’s long session. The following ideas gained approval in the House or the Senate by a key crossover deadline Thursday. That means they remain eligible to be considered for passage this year and next and will get plenty of attention in the coming weeks and months.
Bills dealing with spending or collecting money, mainly budget and tax bills, were not subject to crossover’s deadline.
Indeed, the state budget stars in Act Two, which will play out over the next two months. The House puts a budget proposal out first this year. It’s likely to appear in a few weeks, launching work that will lead to a budget this summer.
Roughly 500 bills have passed one chamber or the other. Here’s a glance at some key bills still alive.
▪ The legislature’s budget bill hasn’t yet been filed, but the major document to outline $21 billion in spending is coming soon.
▪ House Bill 117, Gov. Pat McCrory’s NC Competes plan, would double the cap to $45 million for the Job Development Investment Grant to lure major employers to the state. It’s in a Senate committee. Senate Republicans have an alternative proposal.
▪ House Bill 3 would have the public vote on a constitutional amendment on eminent domain. Private property could be taken only for public use in exchange for “just compensation.”
▪ State government would be banned from contracting with companies tied to Iran’s energy sector under Senate Bill 455.
▪ The liberal scale used to assign A through F grades to schools would continue for two more years, under House Bill 358. For elementary and middle schools, those grades are based mostly on standardized test scores.
▪ Senate Bill 524 would add to the list of Founding Principles students are required to learn. Three of the five new principles the curriculum must cover: constitutional limitations on government power to tax and spend and prompt payment of public debt; strong defense and supremacy of civil authority over military; and money with intrinsic value, or the gold standard.
▪ Senate Bill 480 prohibits school employees from politicking at school during work hours.
▪ Senate Bill 456 requires counties and schools to send more money to charter schools. The change would cover some local tax revenue, gifts, grants and trust funds.
▪ House Bill 661 would set up a scholarship program for people who want to teach in hard-to-staff schools or science and technology courses.
▪ House Bill 902 sets up a grant program for principal preparation.
▪ House Bill 164 changes required school instructional time from 185 days to 1,025 hours over nine months.
▪ The A through F school performance grades would be calculated according to a formula that puts more emphasis on student growth under House Bill 803.
▪ House Bill 405 allows employers to sue employees who surreptitiously make recordings in a non-public part of their workplace to breach their duty of loyalty – or those who steal merchandise, data or records. It would cover agricultural operations, which have been targeted by animal welfare activists and reporters working undercover, as well as any business.
▪ Senate Bill 694 creates a special agency to field complaints about bosses illegally treating workers as contractors who should be employees.
▪ House Bill 795 would require fewer publicly funded projects to undergo additional examination for environmental impacts.
▪ House Bill 593 prohibits requiring mitigation for streams that run only intermittently throughout the year and exempts some wetlands mitigation from more stringent requirements.
▪ House Bill 630 would direct state regulators to look into using floating technology at Falls Lake that is being tested in Jordan Lake to prevent and clean up pollution.
▪ The waiting period for women seeking abortions would increase from 24 hours to 72 hours under House Bill 465.
▪ Senate Bill 2 allows magistrates to opt-out of performing weddings and registers of deeds from issuing licenses if they have sincerely held religious beliefs. This bill was filed in response to the legalization of gay marriage in the state.
▪ Body and dash camera recordings by police would not be public under House Bill 713. Another bill, House Bill 811, calls for a study of police body camera policies.
▪ Students who assault a teacher would be charged with felonies for second and third offenses under Senate Bill 343. The charges would apply to students 16 and older.
▪ Witnesses to sexual abuse of residents in group homes or other institutions must report it to a county social service office or to law enforcement, or face up to 120 days in jail, under Senate Bill 445.
▪ House Bill 341 adds more recreational drugs to the list of illegal substances.
▪ Doctors would no longer be required to oversee executions, and the providers of drugs used in lethal injections would be a state secret under House Bill 774.
▪ It would be illegal to possess, sell, breed or transfer dangerous animals such as gray wolves, lions, tigers and hyenas under House Bill 554. People who already own such animals would be able to keep them if they meet certain conditions.
▪ Posting “revenge” pornography online would be a felony under House Bill 792.
▪ Selling or drinking powdered alcohol would not be allowed under House Bill 290.
▪ People under 18 could not use tanning equipment under House Bill 158.
▪ House Bill 306 requires insurers to cover cancer drugs taken orally.
▪ Appeals court judges and Supreme Court justices would have party labels attached to their names when they run for office under House Bill 8.
▪ Under House Bill 222, elections to appellate judicial posts would be “retention elections.” After one term, the judge or justice would be subject to what essentially would be a “yes” or “no” vote of the public, but would not face a challenger.
▪ Senate Bill 127 would restrict state agencies’ use of personal services contracts with professionals for short-term or occasional work.
▪ Senate Bill 423 and House Bill 407 would allow foster children to have sleepovers, play sports and participate in other activities. Foster children 16 and older would be able to buy car insurance.
▪ House Bill 148 requires moped owners to purchase liability insurance for their vehicles.
▪ House Bill 601 allows for the sale of deer skins.
▪ House Bill 161 makes the bobcat the official state cat.
▪ House Bill 640 allows Sunday hunting on private land.
▪ Standards for care of dogs by large commercial breeders would be set in House Bill 159, known as the Puppy Mill Bill.
▪ House Bill 540 would put a statue of evangelist Billy Graham in National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
▪ The legislature drew new districts for Wake County commissioners, added seats, and changed how commissioners are elected in Senate Bill 181.
▪ Senate Bill 20 lowered the gas tax on April 1 and uses a new formula to calculate future adjustments starting in 2017. The change keeps the tax from dropping as much as it would have under the old formula. The new 36-cent rate is 6.4 cents higher than the tax would have been starting in July if the law had not been changed.
▪ Senate Bill 372 extends the tax credit for renewable energy projects in advanced stages of development.
– Lynn Bonner, Colin Campbell, Patrick Gannon, Craig Jarvis