News from the Legislature

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

The House held a no-vote session on Monday, April 19, 2021. Tuesday’s legislative calendar consisted of several committee meetings, including, Local Government, Health, and Education K-12. Session convened at noon and we voted on the following bills:

– HB334, Temporary Align Paycheck Protection Program Treatment to Federal Treatment, which would reduce the tax burden on small businesses who utilized PPP loans. I voted in favor and the bill passed by a vote of 114-1.

– HB145, Property Protection Act/DVPO, would allow persons subject to a domestic violence protective order and an order to surrender firearms, to transfer storage of the firearms from the sheriff to a qualified licensed firearms dealer. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 114-3.

On Wednesday, I attended the Appropriations Committee which heard HB370, No Veteran Left Behind, which would establish a pilot program in six counties to expand the Veterans Justice Intervention Program (VJIP), and appropriate $500,000 in nonrecurring funds from the General Fund, for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, to The Independence Fund, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, to implement that program. I voted in favor of the bill and it passed committee.

Thereafter, I attended the Agriculture Committee where we heard two bills:

– HB182, Increasing Meat Production and Capacity, would strengthen the meat and seafood processing industries in North Carolina by making permanent the “Increasing Seafood and Meat Production and Capacity” grant program. I voted in favor and it passed committee.

– HB198, Forest Service Changes, would allow magistrates to waive trials for State forest rule offenses, exempt certain fires from open burning laws, modify overtime policy for the North Carolina Forest Service, and provide more detail about the use of funds allocated for the development of the North Carolina Forest Service headquarters. I voted in favor and it passed committee.

Session convened at 3:30 p.m., and we voted on a wide array of legislation. A few of the bills the House considered included:

– HB245, Efficient Government Building & Savings Act, includes creating a 40% energy conservation requirement for certain State buildings and ensure that    lighting is turned off, where feasible, from midnight until 6 a.m. unless required for safety, emergency or insurance purposes.  I voted in favor and the bill passed, 116-1.

– HB370, No Veteran Left Behind Act, would provide tools and training to law enforcement for veteran assistance and connect veterans with resources at the state and federal levels. The bill passed unanimously, 118-0.

I am proud to co-sponsor House Bill 535, Firefighters Fighting Cancer Act of 2021, which will provide supplemental insurance policy for firefighters diagnosed with cancer.

The House reconvened on Thursday to vote on several bills. Among the bills considered were:

– HB307, NC Time Zone/Observe Daylight Saving Time All Year, would designate the standard time of the State and would institute a year round daylight saving time if authorized by the United States Congress. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 99-16.

– HB315, Arson Law Revisions, would increase the punishment for certain arson offenses and amend the offense of arson or other unlawful burnings that result in injury to a firefighter, law enforcement officer, fire investigator or emergency medical technician. The bill would also require criminal history record checks of applicants to fire departments. I voted in favor of the bill and it passed by a vote of 103-12.

– HB376, School Calendar Flexibility, would allow local school administrative units to open no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 19 each year. I voted in favor and it passed, 114-1.

The House reconvened on Monday, April 26, 2021 for a no-vote session. As is custom, House and Senate members gathered in the House Chamber to listen to the Governor provide his “State of the State” address. This is a biennial tradition that affords the Governor the opportunity to speak before the legislature and highlight the current condition of North Carolina while offering recommendations moving forward.

The House convened Tuesday afternoon to vote on several bills, including:

– HJR330, Federal Authority Regarding Elections, would express the Members of the General Assembly’s opposition to any federal action infringing upon the State’s Constitutional authority to manage, control, and administer elections, effective upon ratification. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 67-50.

– HB180, Designate Overdose Awareness Day, would designate the 31st day of August of each year as Overdose Awareness Day. The bill passed unanimously, 117-0.

I was proud to vote for the Equity in Opportunity Act to help increase educational opportunities for low-income families and students with disabilities. This bill will ensure our most vulnerable students have choices to meet their education needs.

I attended several meetings with my colleagues on Wednesday prior to the start of the afternoon voting session. Wednesday’s session consisted of votes on a myriad of bills. Among the bills considered were:

– HB235, Evidence/Dist. Ct Speedy Trials, would require remote testimony by a lab analyst in a criminal proceeding in district court regarding the results of forensic or chemical testing to be admissible, if the State has provided the defendant or their attorney with a copy of the lab report, and notice at least 15 business days prior to the proceeding that it intends to introduce the testimony of the lab analyst using remote testimony in real time. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 104-11.

– HB605, Voters Right to Know Act, directs the State Board of Elections to provide voters with detailed information to help them to be well-informed prior to voting in an election.  The bill passed unanimously, 119-0.

– HB616, Charter Replication Act, would fast-track the replication of high-quality charter schools, particularly in underserved areas. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 86-30.

Thursday consisted of a no-vote session.

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