For the legislative week of June 5, 2023-June 9, 2023, I returned to Raleigh on Monday afternoon to meet with my Appropriations, AgNER House Chairs, as well as the AgNER Senate Chairs to negotiate on our area budget. This meeting lasted for several hours as we attempted to reach a compromise.
Tuesday morning, the AgNER Chairs reconvened and met with staff to review and finalize our conference budget package. At 2:00PM, the House convened for a voting session and we considered numerous bills, including:
HB87, Probation Modifications/Sheriff Authority, would make the following changes: • Allow a district attorney to file a probation modification petition. • Allow the court to delegate the ability to shorten a period of probation to a probation officer. • Allow all sheriff’s offices in the state to contract for food and food services supplies without being subject to certain public contract laws. The bill passed with unanimous consent, and now heads to the Governor.
HB347, Sports Wagering/Horse Racing Wagering, would authorize, regulate, and tax sports wagering and horse racing in North Carolina. The Lottery Commission would be responsible for issuing licenses to involved parties and regulating wagering. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 69-44.
SB582, North Carolina Farm Act of 2023, would make various changes to the agricultural and wastewater laws of the State. I voted in support and the bill passed, 77-38. The Senate voted to concur with the House changes and sent the bill to the Governor for his consideration.
At 3:00PM, my colleagues and I met for a caucus to discuss upcoming legislation.
On Wednesday, I attended the NC Advanced Air Mobility Legislative Caucus. We were provided an update on the drone industry nationally as well as here in NC, and a drone flight demonstration was provided.
At 1:00 PM, the AgNER Chairs presented their budget proposal to the full Appropriations Chairs. For a general perspective on how the budget process works, the numerous area subcommittees (Education, Agriculture, Health, etc.) determine their respective budget priorities. Once this process is complete, the area chairs present their budget to the “Full Chairs” on the Appropriations Committee. When this process gets under way, it typically indicates that the budget process is in its concluding stages.
At 2:00PM, the House convened for a voting session and we considered various bills, including:
SB347, Sports Wagering/Horse Racing Wagering, was considered for third and final reading, and it passed by a vote of 69-44. The bill was signed into law on Wednesday, June 14th.
HB834, Juv. Capacity/Transfer/Interrog/Confidential, would make various changes to the juvenile justice system, including: • A procedure to determine a juvenile’s capacity to stand trial would be created. • Services to assist a juvenile attain the capacity to stand trial or consideration of involuntary commitment of a juvenile if attainment of capacity is not likely would be required. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 106-9. The bill is currently in Senate Rules Committee.
Following session, the AgNER Chairs finished their budget presentation. Thursday’s House session was administrative and no votes were taken. The House concluded its legislative business for the week.
The legislative week of June 12, 2023-June 16, 2023, began with a non-voting session on Monday. Legislative business began in earnest on Tuesday with various committee meetings. House Rules, House Energy and Public Utilities, and House Environment all met throughout the day. I chaired the Environment Committee and we voted on one bill, SB240, which would provide choice of erosion and sedimentation control permitting authority for certain airport authorities. The bill passed committee.
Tuesday afternoon the House reconvened for a voting session and we considered several bills, including:
HB130, Energy Choice/Solar Decommissioning Rqmts, would do the following: • Prohibit local governments from adopting any ordinance that prohibits connection, reconnection, modification, or expansion of an energy service based on the type or source of energy to be delivered to the end-user of the energy service. • Require owners of utility-scale solar projects to responsibly decommission the projects upon cessation of operations, and to establish financial assurance to cover the decommissioning.
I voted in favor and the bill passed, 74-36. It now heads to the Governor.
SB22, Rename Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, would change the names of the Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council and the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Trust Fund and to authorize the use of grants and programming to promote youth outdoor recreational activities. SB22 passed by unanimous consent. It was presented to the Governor for his consideration.
On Wednesday, several committees met including, House Health, House State Government, and House Rules. A voting session convened that afternoon and we voted on a handful of bills, including:
SB58, Protect Critical Infrastructure, would do the following: • Update and consolidate existing statutes that relate to damage to utility property (electric, gas, and telecommunications). • Increase penalties for acts of damage to energy facilities. • Increase the penalty for trespass to energy facilities, and add a specific prohibition on trespass to wastewater treatment facilities.
• Increase the penalty for willful injury to wires and other fixtures of telephone, broadband, or cable telecommunications.
SB58 passed with a 106-0 vote. The bill now heads back to the Senate for consideration.
HB6, Uniformed Heroes Voting Act, would provide that no voter who is a law enforcement officer, first responder, correctional officer, or member of the military may be refused entry into a voting place due to appearing at the voting place in a required uniform. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 105-1. It now heads to the Senate.
HB140, Civilian Traffic Investigators, would allow the cities of Burlington, Greensboro, Greenville, and Winston-Salem to conduct a three-year pilot program to hire civilian traffic investigators to investigate car crashes involving only property damage. Civilian traffic investigators would have no power to arrest and would not replace current law enforcement officials. I voted in support and the bill passed, 100-6.
Upon session adjournment, the House concluded its legislative business for the week.