Special Session Legislative Update


Special Session Wrap Up

North Carolina General Assembly wrapped up the 2017-18 legislative year with a special session in November and December. Priorities for the NCGA included funding allocations for Hurricane Relief, in addition to executing on the Constitutional amendments North Carolina voters approved in the general election. The legislature stayed in session to override a few of Gov. Cooper’s recent vetoes: bipartisan state board changes (HB 1029), implementation of the voter ID Constitutional amendment (SB 824), and the technical corrections (SB 469).

Looking Ahead

Yesterday, the NCGA officially started the 2019-20 legislative year. Members were sworn in and rules were determined for the upcoming year. This is a long session for our legislature, meaning this session will likely last into June or July. About one third of NCGA members are new to their roles this year, which makes the session even more unpredictable.

However, this presents a great opportunity for PENC members to engage with new faces at the 2019 legislative day (March 26, 2019), and gives PENC lobbyists an advantage when advocating on Jones street because they can shape the narrative with a blank slate.

Issues to Watch

Interior Design + Inspections: Outside of the legislature, new language surrounding an interior design bill has been floated. The drafted language would grant interior designers who passed certification from CIDQ permitting permissions. An architect or engineer would no longer be required to sign off on building developments. Together with a few buildings action group members, PENC lobbyists have been consulting with other interest groups to develop compromise legislation. 

Autonomous Vehicles: In the midst of the special session, Rep. Torbett (NC-108) asked committee members to suggest draft language around autonomous vehicles, to be considered in the long session. This is a key area to watch as substantial AV legislation was passed in 2017 and Rep. Torbett shared the necessity of future legislation. 

Infrastructure: Particularly with post-hurricane rebuilding, infrastructure is a growing issue area for North Carolinians. Special attention will be paid to infrastructure issues in this long session, as one priority is to protect the safety of all those living in NC.

News of Note

Contribution Limit: Donors can now give a larger amount to political campaigns. Starting Jan. 1, the maximum campaign contribution for candidate committees and others that are subject to legal limits is $5,400, up from the previous limit of $5,200. The State Board of Elections announced the change this week, noting that state law ties the amount to inflation based on the Consumer Price Index. "This change is based on the 4.7 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index (all items – U.S. city average) from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2018," the board's formal notice reads. (THE INSIDER, 1/09/19)

Third Party Inspectors: Rep. Hardister (NC-59, Greensboro) plans to prioritize this issue in the long session. The bill would allow third party inspectors to give approvals on construction projects: he argues this would keep projects on schedule and emphasizes training/licensing requirements. (Rhino Times, 12/31/18 [rhinotimes.com])

Want to get involved? PENC has five action groups: Resource Stewardship, Regulatory Reform, Transportation, Waste/Wastewater, and Buildings. To engage on legislative issues, reach out to Membership Director Catie Cox (Catie.C@penc.org) or Elizabeth Ruf (eruf@walkwest.com).