News from the Legislature

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From the office of N.C. Rep. Karl Gillespie

For the week beginning March 22, 2021, I attended the Wildlife Resources Committee, as well as the Agriculture Committee and Joint Appropriations Committee. I also attended a Senate Committee that provided a presentation from the Department of Environmental Quality on landslide mapping, a critical topic that directly impacts Western North Carolina.

On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, the House convened to vote on a total of six bills. Among the bills considered were:

H136 – Encourage Healthy NC Food in Schools, which would require that 100% muscadine grape juice be made available in every public school in the State. I voted in favor of the bill and it passed the House by a vote of 91-22.

H243 – UNC Legislative Priorities/COVID-19 Impacts, would allow The University of North Carolina (UNC) to address budgetary and other impacts of COVID-19.  It passed the House by a vote of 117-0.

On Wednesday, March 23, 2021, the House convened for a voting session that consisted of 13 bills. My second bill as the lead primary sponsor, HB94, Graham Occupancy Tax, was voted on and passed by a vote of 106-11. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Additional bills that the House considered on Wednesday, include:

HB70 – Historic School Preservation Act, which would help to preserve historic and abandoned school buildings. I voted in favor and the bill passed 114-3.

HB224 – Occupational Therapy Interstate Compact, establishing North Carolina as part of the Occupational Therapy Interstate Compact, with the goal of improving public access to occupational therapy services by providing for the mutual recognition of other member state licenses.  HB224 passed 119-0.

HB238 – Prohibit Possession of Skimming Device, adds the definition of a skimming device to the Financial Transaction Card Crime Act and makes the possession, sale, or delivery of a skimming device a Class I felony. The bill passed 119-0.

Thursday’s session consisted of eight bills, including:

HB36 – Protect Those Who Serve and Protect, would increase the punishment for discharging or attempting to discharge a firearm at or into an unoccupied emergency vehicle and increase the punishment for pointing a laser device at a law enforcement officer or other emergency personnel when the person or animal is in performance of his or her duties. The bill passed by a vote of 119-0.

HB205 – Abuse and Neglect Resources in Public Schools, would require public schools to provide information and resources on child abuse and neglect to students. The bill passed 119-0.

HB271 – Eminent Domain, proposes that the North Carolina Constitution be amended to prohibit condemnation of private property except for a public use and to require the payment of just compensation for the property taken in an amount to be determined by jury trial, if requested by any party. The bill also makes a conforming statutory change to state the purpose for which property may be taken by eminent domain as “public use.” I voted in favor of the bill and it passed 101-17.

The legislative week beginning March 29, 2021, started with various committee meetings before voting sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In recent weeks the pace of session has rapidly increased as the House considers various legislation with the bill filing deadline quickly approaching. For non-appropriations bills, the deadline to file is April 20 and for bills with an appropriation, the filing deadline is May 11.

Among the many bills that the House voted on this week, were:

HB11 – Regulate Alcohol Consumables, would regulate alcohol in certain manufactured food products in the same manner as the type of alcohol contained in the product. I voted in favor of the bill and it passed 116-1.

HB46 – State Human Resources Act/Stronger Whistleblower Protection, strengthens the whistleblower protections in the North Carolina Human Resources Act. I voted in favor of the bill and it passed the House 117-2.

HB203 – Extend Deadline for Police Telecommunicators, which extends the deadline for certification of police telecommunicators. The bill passed 119-0.

HB264 – Emergency Powers Accountability Act, would require the Governor to get approval from the Council of State for statewide executive orders. I voted in favor of the bill and it passed 69-50.

HB351 – Clifford’s Law, would require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to establish visitation protocols during declared disasters and emergencies that provide visitation rights for patients in nursing homes, combination homes, and hospice care facilities. I voted in favor of the bill and it passed 104-15.

Did You Know?

My first bill to pass the North Carolina House of Representatives, House Bill 81, received publicity in an article from the Carolina Journal “Freshman Rep Takes up Decade-Long Push for Mountain College.”

North Carolina tax filers will get another month to complete their individual state returns, in keeping with the IRS decision to push its April 15 deadline back to May 17.

Recently Sponsored Legislation

HB346: Funds for Down Syndrome Programs

HB351: Clifford’s Law

HB358: Save Women’s Sports Act

HB359: Driver Eligibility Certificate/License/Waiver

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