News from the Legislature

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

The House held no-vote sessions on Monday, May 3, and Tuesday, May 4. With the crossover deadline of May 13,  fast approaching, these two weeks are typically regarded as the most fast-paced of the year. Legislators attempt to have non-appropriations bills pass one of the two legislative chambers prior to May 14, 2021. If a bill fails to pass one of the two chambers, that bill is effectively terminated until the next biennium begins in 2023, when the bill would then need to be reintroduced.

Various committees were held prior to a lengthy voting session on Wednesday. Wednesday’s session consisted of votes on over 30 bills. This is considerably more bills than is heard in an average voting session. However, due to the crossover deadline, there is an increased sense of urgency. Among the bills the House considered on Wednesday, were:

– HB273, Modify Builders Inventory Tax Exclusion, would help affordable housing by exempting from property taxes the real property improvements of townhouses that are inventory of builders until the property sells.  The builder continues to pay property taxes except on those improvements. It will encourage economic development especially in rural areas where it takes builders longer to sell their inventory.  I voted in favor and the bill passed, 116-1.

– HB398, Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal, would repeal the requirement to obtain a pistol purchase permit from the sheriff prior to the purchase or transfer of a pistol. This bill is supported by the North Carolina Sheriffs Association. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 69-48.

– HB436, Support Law Enforcement Mental Health, would require psychological screening examinations for law enforcement officers prior to initial certification, or before employment with an agency; require mental health and wellness strategies training as a component of qualification and in-service training for law enforcement officers; and expand access to information on statewide mental health resources available for law enforcement officers. The bill passed, 117-0.

– HB661, Community Colleges Fire Training/15 Years Old, of which I am a primary sponsor, would clarify that qualified youth 15 and older may enroll in fire training courses at community colleges. The bill passed unanimously, 117-0.

The House passed a common-sense bill ending the unnecessary and duplicative pistol permit process that requires county sheriffs to sign off on handgun purchases. The bill came at the request of the NC Sheriffs’ Association.

The House reconvened on Thursday for another lengthy session consisting of over 40 bills. Among the bills the House considered include:

– ­HB149, Improving Access to Care Through Telehealth, would require health benefit plans to provide coverage for the delivery of health care services through telehealth. I voted in support and the bill passed, 113-1.

– ­HB362, Revise Personal Leave Costs for Teachers, would adjust the pay that teachers receive when using personal leave days as follows: If the teacher provides a reason for the leave request, the teacher will receive full salary; If the teacher does not provide a reason for the leave request, the teacher would receive full salary less the full cost of hiring a substitute teacher. The bill passed unanimously, 112-0.

– ­HB367, Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, would require property determined to be heirs property to be partitioned under the provisions of the UPHPA. The UPHPA would govern the partition of real property that is determined to be heirs property. After discussions with Clerks of Court in my district who expressed their concerns, I decided to vote against the bill. The bill passed by a vote of 80-28.

– ­HB417, The Sergeant Mickey Hutchens Act, would allow law enforcement officers, probation and parole officers, and correctional officers who hold an advanced law enforcement or corrections certificate to purchase up to four years creditable service in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System and the Local Governmental Employees Retirement System. The bill passed unanimously, 112-0.

– ­HB453, Human Life Nondiscrimination Act/No Eugenics, would prohibit individuals from performing an abortion unless a physician has confirmed the abortion is not being sought because of the actual or presumed race or sex of the unborn child or the presence or presumed presence of Down syndrome. Physicians would be required to report whether the race or sex of the unborn child or the presence of down syndrome had been detected and to affirm, under oath, that the report was accurate. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 67-42.

“I was proud to vote for House Joint Resolution 286 today to call on Congress to maintain nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices. The Supreme Court has been composed of nine justices for more than 150 years, and the President and Congress should not undermine the independence of the Supreme Court by packing the court with more justices.”

The House reconvened on Monday, May 10, 2021 for a full day of committees followed by another lengthy voting session. The House considered over 25 bills during Monday afternoon’s session. Among the bills considered were:

– ­HB151, Require Active Time Felony Death Motor Vehicle/Boat, would require active time for a conviction of felony death by a vehicle or felony death by impaired boating. I voted in favor of the bill. The bill failed by a vote of 43-69.

– ­HB572, No Vaccine Mandate by Executive Rule, Order or Agency, prohibits the Governor from using an executive order to require that an individual receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The bill would also prevent public health authorities in the state from issuing orders requiring individuals to get COVID-19 vaccines. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 75-38.

– ­HB805, Prevent Rioting and Civil Disorder, would increase penalties for current offenses and create new offenses related to rioting. I voted in support and the bill passed, 88-25.

Tuesday’s agenda consisted of additional committee meetings. I attended the Wildlife Resources Committee prior to the 3:30 p.m. voting session. The House considered over 70 bills, with session adjourning just after 10 p.m. Among the many bills considered, were:

– ­HB211, Reopen Bars and Restaurants, would fully reopen bars and restaurants provided certain conditions are met. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 71-45.

– ­HB699, Elder Abuse & Neglect, Increase Punishment, would increase punishments for offenses involving the domestic abuse or neglect of a disabled or elder adult. The bill passed unanimously, 112-0.

– ­HB769, Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights, would create a Bill of Rights in Article 1A of Chapter 131D of the General Statutes recognizing the rights of foster parents. The bill passed unanimously, 112-0.

– ­On Wednesday, the House reconvened to vote on 39 bills in an attempt to meet the crossover deadline. Among the bills considered were:

– ­HB47, Elected Officials Concealed Carry, would authorize officials elected in the state to carry a concealed firearm while performing their duties if the official has a concealed handgun permit. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 69-45.

– ­HB581, Drivers License Designation/Autism, would direct the Division of Motor Vehicles to develop a designation for drivers licenses that may be granted upon request to a person with autism spectrum disorder. The bill passed unanimously, 113-0.

– ­HB813, Prohibit State Agencies Payment of Ransomware, would prohibit a state or local government entity from submitting payment or communicating with entities engaged in a cybersecurity incident that involves offering data decryption for ransom. The bill passed unanimously, 114-0.

The House concluded its business for the week following Wednesday’s session and no committees or voting sessions were held the remainder of the week.

 

Did You Know?

North Carolina continues to grow

North Carolina is emerging as a national leader in economic opportunity. Policies passed by the Republican-led General Assembly are leading to business location, business expansion, and business development that in turn leads to jobs and opportunity for folks across our state.

 

Murphy High School wins 1A State Championship

The Murphy Bulldogs capped off an amazing season on Saturday, May 8, by winning the 2020-2021 State Football Championship! This is the school’s 10th championship overall and Hall of Fame Coach and all-time wins leader, David Gentry’s 9th championship.

Recently sponsored legislation

HB737, Local Food Market Expansion Act

HB816, Broadband Empowerment Act

HB823, Child Advocacy Centers/Share Information

HB832, Social Media Impartiality Act

HB870, Modify Development Tier Designations

HB950, Expand Broadband-Unserved/Underserved Areas

 

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