Old North State Report - March 17, 2017
The week began with Governor Roy Cooper’s State of the State address urging lawmakers to repeal House Bill 2, increase teacher pay, and expand Medicaid:
Offering the Republican response, Senate leader Phil Berger recounted the state’s progress in recent years and blamed the Governor for undercutting attempts at compromise:
"We cannot sacrifice education at the altar of even more corporate tax cuts or giveaways that are mostly for the wealthiest," Cooper said in his speech. "Changes to our tax code need to focus on relief for working families — not corporations and millionaires.” In response, Republicans in both chambers made clear they intend to push forward with additional tax relief.
The chairs of the House Finance Committee (Representatives Szoka, Saine, Brawley, and Susan Martin) introduced legislation to increase the standard tax deduction, exempt mill machinery from taxation, and simplify the franchise tax calculation. Observers believe this likely reflects the House’s approach to any additional tax reform this year:
The chairs of the Senate Finance Committee (Senators Tillman, Tucker, and Brock) discussed their intentions: a “Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut Act” which would lower the personal income tax rate, increase the standard deduction, boost the amount of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions, reduce the franchise tax, move to market-based sourcing, and lower the corporate income tax rate:
You never know what bill will have something to do with House Bill 2, as House Bill 86 (Amend the Membership of the Banking Commission) passed the House by a vote of 118 to 0. This unanimous vote, however, was not without drama. Members of the Republican-controlled state House turned back the latest attempt by Democrats to repeal the controversial House Bill 2. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson tried to amend House Bill 86 to include the three-line repeal measure. Representative David Lewis (R-Harnett) who was serving in the role of House Speaker for the day, ruled the amendment out of order because it wasn't related to the underlying bill. Jackson appealed that ruling to his fellow House members. "This is the week to repeal House Bill 2 or let it stand until after the next election," Jackson (D-Wake), told his colleagues. All Republicans voted against Jackson's appeal. All Democrats, except Representative William Brisson (D-Bladen), voted in favor of allowing the amendment:
Later in the week, Governor Cooper issued his first veto of the session on House Bill 100 (“Restore partisan judicial elections for NC Superior Court and District Courts and to change the time for submission of petitions for unaffiliated candidates”):
The House and Senate chairs of the Insurance Committees (Representatives Bumgardner and Setzer and Senators Meredith and Newton) introduced the Department of Insurance’s “agency bill” containing various proposed changes to the state’s insurance laws:
On a mostly party-line vote the Senate passed the “2016” regulatory reform act, which stalled in the late moments of last year’s session. This version, which now goes to the House for consideration, primarily addresses environmental rules and reports:
Leaders in the House on health care issues (Representatives Dollar, Lambeth, and Dobson) filed legislation (“LME/MCO Claims Reporting/Mental Health Amendments”) to make changes in behavioral health programs:
Senator Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore received the Legislators of the Year Award presented by the North Carolina Economic Development Association (NCEDA). NCEDA also released its legislative priorities for the 2017 session: eliminating the cap and sunset on the Job Development Investment Grant, expanding funding to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, establishing a closing incentive fund to help the state compete for high impact projects, and developing viable industrial sites – including mega sites.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.