Mike's Weekly Message June 8 2017

Hurry Up and Wait

Last week, I reported to you on the 2017-2019 Budget that passed the House with bipartisan support. The Senate voted 43-0 not to concur with the House Budget. As a result, both Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger of Rockingham and House Speaker Tim Moore of King’s Mountain appointed conferees who began immediately negotiating the following day. I cannot say for sure how long the process will take. I know a number of people who have seen the process take only a few weeks, and those that have seen the process go on a couple of months. The hope is that we can vote on a final conference report before the end of the month, which will make the countdown to adjournment that much shorter. One might recall two years ago that the process went so long that session ran well into October.

 

Speaker’s Appointments

 

Yesterday, Speaker Tim Moore announced a list of boards and commissions that are open for appointment. If you are interested in applying, please contact my Legislative Assistant, Ed Stiles at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and he will happily send you an electronic application, and assist you in the application process. Here are the boards and commissions that are open for appointment, and who qualifies.

 

Board and Commissions

Who Qualifies

Childcare Commission

Parent of a child in licensed care

Dietetics and Nutrition Board

Member of the General Public

Irrigation Contractors Licensing Board

Registered Landscape Contractor

Justus Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

Stroke Survivor

Justus Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

County Commissioner

Partnership for Children, Inc.

Parent

Recreational Therapy Licensure Board

Practicing Recreational Therapist

NC Marine Industrial Park Authority

Member of the General Public

NC Institute of Medicine

Representative of Health Care Industry

State Personnel Commission

Experience in HR Management

Educational Services for Exceptional Children

Parent of a child with a disability

Forestry Advisory Council

Registered forester

 

 

Legislation Spotlight

 

Senate Bill 655 Change Date When Primary Elections Are Held

This bill, introduced by Sen. Andrew Brock of Mocksville, moves the date of all primary elections to March, instead of May, where it had been in years past.

 

Beginning in 1992, North Carolina held all its primaries in May. By the time May came around, the presumptive nominee from each party had already secured enough delegates to their respective conventions had been a foregone conclusion, and our presidential primaries were not much more than a formality. The only thing that gave that particular day significance was if there was a contested primary for Governor, US Senator, and other races.  

 

All that changed in 2008, when polls indicated that North Carolina gained the status of being a “battleground state.” A movement took hold, and on March 15, 2016, the North Carolina primary was held on a Super Tuesday for the first time since 1988. All races, except for Congressional races (due to a court ruling) had primary elections scheduled in March instead of May. As a consequence, the filing period for candidates was moved up from February to December. 

 

This bill makes those changes permanent, this time adding Congressional races into the mix. This should give North Carolina greater influence in who emerges as the Presidential nominees for all qualifying parties.

 

The bill passed the House 71-46 yesterday, and has been sent over to the Senate for a concurrence vote.

 

House Bill 589 Competitive Energy Solutions for NC

House Bill 589 would amend various laws related to energy policy, including reform of the State implementation of The Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978, the creation of a competitive bidding process for new renewable energy resources, and the enactment of the Distributed Resources Access Act to authorize leasing of third-party owned solar development.

 

This bill installs a market-driven approach to renewable energy production in North Carolina through a competitive bidding process designed to lower costs for ratepayers and ensure the state continues to develop affordable, diverse and reliable sources of energy.

 

House Bill 589 allows private parties to access a competitive market for renewable energy installation, encourages the development of rooftop renewable energy projects through third-party leasing and allows consumers to access and invest in community solar projects not permitted under current law. 

 

Bill sponsor Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union) said the bill was necessary to lower costs for residential and commercial energy customers, arguing it would benefit North Carolina’s ratepayers with a balanced, free-market approach that expands access to diverse sources of energy while controlling costs through competitive pricing.

 

The House passed the bill yesterday on a vote of 108-11, and is headed to the Senate.

 

House Bill 746 Omnibus Gun Changes

Our office has gotten a few emails on this bill, of which I am a co-sponsor. Most of those emails have been in favor of the bill. You can click here for an in-depth analysis of what the bill actually does. Here are some bullet points that one might find handy.

·         Sections 1.1 to 1.4 would create a new Article 54C regulating the carrying of handguns and providing restrictions on carrying weapons in certain locations. (Pages 1 and 2 of the analysis)

 

·         Section 1.5 Effective July 1, 2017, would require the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission to update their training and education materials related to the possession and carrying of handguns to reflect the changes made under this bill.

 

·         Section 2 would make conforming changes based on the carry modifications in Part I. (Page 3)

 

·         Section 3 standardizes and ensures uniformity of concealed handgun permit applications (Pages 3 and 4)

 

·         Section 4 establishes for carrying in state legislative buildings. (Page 4)

 

·         Section 5 clarifies changes to weapons laws on education property (Page 4)

 

·         Section 6 changes the reporting requirements of mental health records to the sheriff, and allows the sheriff discretion in seeking disclosure of court orders concerning the mental health and mental capacity of the applicant (Pages 4 and 5)

 

·         Section 7 defines what discretions judges would have in disposing of weapons and under what circumstances a weapon must be returned to its rightful owner (Page 5)

 

·         Section 8 sets forth the requirement for a comprehensive firearm education and wildlife conservation course (Page 5)

 

Now, I want to address what this bill does not do. These points were highlighted during floor debate by the bill sponsor, Rep. Chris Millis of Hampstead.

 

·         This bill does not include any provisions impacting existing law involving the purchase of a firearm.  Again, nothing is in this bill that affects firearm purchases.  Anyone desiring to purchase a firearm, including a handgun, would be required to meet all current state and federal law, including background checks.

 

·         Please note that the bill does not plow new ground in regard to the age at which one can carry a firearm, while the method of carry is altered within a narrow window, the legislation is consistent with existing law in regard to the age at which one can begin to carry a firearm openly in this state (18).  In all areas where a Concealed Handgun Permit is required for one to be able to carry concealed in this bill, the age remains as 21, consistent with existing law. 

·         The bill does not plow new ground in terms of individuals being able to open carry in our state. These provisions are existing law and all is held consistent with regard to the method of carry open to plain sight.  

 

·         Please note that this bill does not weaken protections against individuals who are not qualified to carry a handgun, whether open to plain sight or concealed.  Nor does the bill expand areas where one can carry a handgun, whether open to plain sight or concealed.  All of the same disqualifiers remain in place consistent with existing law. Furthermore, all prohibitions against where one can carry remain in place consistent with existing law.

The bill passed 65-54 on Second Reading yesterday, passed 64-51 on Third Reading this morning and has been sent to the Senate.

House Pages

 

It has truly been an honor to host four pages (with one to go) who served a week apiece from District 119. Unfortunately, there are no more page slots left for this year, and all of the page slots for the next month are already at capacity. We will, however, announce when applications for the 2018 short session are available.

 

In the meantime, I want to take this moment to thank the pages who served during 2017 from our district so far. They are Tyler Phillips, Marissa Huggins, Madison Gunter, and Cameron Ponchot. 

                 

                            

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