Perspective North Carolina General Assembly Update | August 22, 2023
KTS Strategies brings years of experience providing clients in a diverse range of industries with comprehensive policy and advocacy advice before federal, state, and local agencies. In North Carolina, we advise local municipalities, corporate transportation entities, nonprofit organizations, statewide associations, government vendors, and Fortune 500 companies before the North Carolina General Assembly and executive branch.
Below is an update on the activity at the NC General Assembly this week. Please feel free to contact a member of the team with any questions or visit ktsstrategies.com to learn more about our services.
After nearly six weeks, legislators returned to Raleigh this week to conduct business. The House held committee meetings Tuesday and Wednesday. Both chambers took floor votes on Wednesday including veto override votes. A budget has still not been finalized. Legislators will continue to negotiate behind closed doors over the next couple of weeks to discuss outstanding items. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said earlier this week a budget vote may not take place until mid-September. We anticipate little legislative activity over the next couple of weeks and may not see any more floor votes or substantive committee work until after Labor Day.
A proposed committee substitute (PCS) for S747, Elections Law Changes, moved through the House this week. The PCS would require absentee ballots to be received by 7:30 PM on Election Day, prohibit private money from elections administration, and give more freedom to poll observers for watching the voting process. Unlike the original Senate bill, the House version removed a two-factor authentication requirement for absentee ballots and allows a retrievable ballot to be cast for same-day registration voters instead of a provisional ballot. The PCS also changed implementation of a signature verification requirement for mail-in absentee ballots to a ten-county pilot program. The bill passed the House Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform Committee and the House Rules Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. Eighteen amendments were offered on the House floor with only two adopted. The bill passed third reading in the House along party lines (69-47). The Senate voted to concur with the House changes with a vote of 27-18. The bill has been sent to Governor Cooper. We anticipate he will veto the measure.
The House and Senate voted to override six of Governor Cooper’s vetoes. No Senate Democrats voted in favor of an override for any of the six bills. However, five out of the six bills received marginal support from House Democrats except for S49. Below are the bills that were overridden. All are now Session Law.
- H219, Charter School Omnibus – This bill makes various changes to charter school laws including removing growth restrictions and allowing county property taxes to fund charter school capital needs.
- H488, Code Council Reorganization and Various Code Amendments – This bill would reorganize the North Carolina Building Code Council to create a new Residential Code Council and would make various changes to the North Carolina State Building Code provisions, land development regulations, and General Contractor licensing laws.
- H574, Fairness in Women’s Sports Act – This bill would prohibit biological males from competing on women’s sports teams.
- H618, Charter School Review Board – This bill would convert the Charter Schools Advisory Board into the Charter Schools Review Board and shift the authority to approve charters from the State Board of Education to the Review Board.
- H808, Gender Transition/Minors – This bill would prohibit medical professionals from performing surgical gender transition procedures on minors and from prescribing, providing, or dispensing puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones to minors.
- S49, – This bill would require public schools to provide parents with information regarding their student’s education, as well as provide them with notifications about the student’s physical and mental health. The bill would also require health care practitioners to obtain written consent from the parent of a minor child before providing treatment and would prohibit instruction on gender identity or sexuality in the curriculum of students from kindergarten to fourth grade.