NC Legislative Update May 22
May 22, 2020
The General Assembly began it’s 2020 Short Session in earnest this week. Lawmakers had previously been in Raleigh the week of April 28th to enact legislation dealing directly COVID-19.
Despite it being the first “real” week of session, activity was fairly light at the General Assembly. The House met Monday and Tuesday, but then wrapped up operations until after Memorial Day. The Senate continued meeting through Thursday.
Governor Roy Cooper announced this week that North Carolina will enter Phase 2 of loosening COVID-19 restrictions across the state. Phase 2 becomes effective this evening at 5:00 p.m.
State and Legislative Issues
Action on Bills
A handful of bills moved through committees this week. The most significant action on legislation includes the following:
- HB 1079, Various Sales Tax Changes. This bill would make adjustments with respect to the sales tax in three different areas: the application of some sales tax provisions to auctioneers and estate sales; the conditions applicable to an exemption for equipment at a large fulfillment center; and the application of the sales tax to certain electronic audiovisual content. This bill advanced through the House Finance and Rules Committees, was approved by the full House, and advanced through the Senate Finance and Rules Committees. The bill is scheduled for a vote in the Senate next week.
- SB 733, UNC Capital Projects. This bill would authorize several capital projects within the UNC system to be paid for by funds available to the UNC System other than State appropriations and tuition receipts. This bill advanced through the Senate Finance and Rules Committees and is scheduled for a vote in the Senate next week.
- HJR 1152, Extend Filing Deadlines. As the name suggests, the joint resolution extends certain bill filing deadlines in the House and Senate. The joint resolution was adopted by both the House and Senate.
- HB 1067, Modernize Debt Settlement Prohibition. This bill would modernize the State’s prohibition against debt settlement by expanding the prohibition to include actions of affiliated companies, by declaring it an unfair trade practice, by voiding contracts with debt settlement companies, and by allowing for a private right of action against debt settlement companies. The bill advanced through the House Finance and Rules Committees and passed the full House, but met some resistance in the Senate Finance Committee. The bill is expected to be back in Senate Finance next week.
The Senate Commerce and Transportation Committees heard briefings from executive branch officials on two distinct topics. On Monday, the Senate Commerce Committee questioned Lockhart Taylor, Assistant Secretary for Employment Security at the North Carolina Department of Commerce, for several hours about the State’s response to the Covid-19 unemployment crisis.
On Wednesday, the Senate Transportation Committee heard a presentation from State Auditor Beth Woods about the results of an audit conducted by her office into the North Carolina Department of Transportation Spending Plan.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order #141 on Wednesday. The order moves the State into Phase 2 of loosening restrictions. The Order becomes effective Friday, May 22 at 5:00 p.m.
Key provisions of the Order and supplemental state guidance is available at the MVA Public Affairs COVID-19 resources below:
- MVA Public Affairs: COVID-19 NC Executive Orders
- MVA Public Affairs: COVID-19 NC Path to Easing Restrictions
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced Wednesday that tourist attractions like aquariums, water parks and museums can reopen Friday, May 22. Night clubs, concert halls, theaters and other entertainment venues are no included, but guidance on those types of establishments is expected soon. Gov. McMaster also announced the reopening of athletic fields for youth and adult recreation. League practices may resume May 30 and competitive play on June 15. View the announcement here.
- MVA Public Affairs: COVID-19 SC Executive Orders
- MVA Public Affairs: COVID-19 SC Economic Revitalization Plan
- NC moves to ‘modest’ Phase Two amid coronavirus. Restaurants can open; bars, gyms stay closed. (Raleigh News & Observer)
- REOPENING CHARLOTTE – Why many of the region’s major employers see a slow return to business as usual (Charlotte Business Journal)
- North Carolina’s Move Into Phase 2 Explained(WFAE)
- SC tourist attractions can re-open Friday; youth sports can start May 30 (Charleston Post & Courier)
- Charlotte’s next police chief: City will ‘be stronger’ post-pandemic (Charlotte Observer)
- State superintendent offers peek at what return to classrooms might look like (WSOCTV)