From the office of N.C. Rep. Karl Gillespie
For the week beginning March 8, the legislature held various committee meetings as the House and Senate continue to work diligently on a budget proposal. I attended multiple Appropriations, Education Committee meetings, as well as the Agriculture Committee.
On Wednesday, March 10, a joint press conference was held by the Governor and House and Senate Leadership to announce a compromise bill had been reached to allow schools to reopen and send students back to in-person learning. The bill will require elementary schools to reopen under Plan A (minimal social distancing), middle and high schools with the option of either Plan A or Plan B (six feet social distancing), with discretion being left with the local board of education.
Additionally on Wednesday, we held votes in the House on eight bills. Among those bills, I voted in favor of HB48, Concealed Carry/Emergency Medical Personnel, which would exempt certain emergency medical personnel while on duty providing tactical medical assistance to law enforcement in an emergency situation from the general prohibition against concealed carry of a weapon.
The House voted on several bills on Thursday, March 11.. Included in those bills was SB220, The Reopen Our Schools Act of 2021, the aforementioned bill that will reopen schools to in-person learning. SB220 passed the Senate and the House unanimously.
The week of March 15, began with two no-vote sessions on Monday and Tuesday. However, several committee meetings convened to hear presentations and consider numerous bills. I attended the Agriculture Committee, Federal Relations and American Indian Affairs Committee, and various policy working groups with my colleagues.
On Wednesday, March 17, the House convened to vote on several bills. House Bill 84, Sex Offender Premises Restrictions, would extend premises restrictions to certain additional sex offenders. I voted in favor of the bill and it passed the House by a vote of 119-0.
The House also took up House Joint Resolution 172, Term Limits for Congress. HJR172 applies to the U.S. Congress for a Convention of the States to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution to impose term limits on members of Congress. I voted in favor of the resolution and it passed the House by a vote of 61-52.
We also voted on House Bill 91, Reduce Regulations to Help Children with Autism. HB91 would expand access to care for children with autism by reducing and streamlining unnecessary regulations. The bill passed unanimously by a vote of 119-0.
A local bill that I have introduced, House Bill 94, Graham County Occupancy Tax, was heard in two committees this week. House Bill 94 would create a special taxing district consisting of that part of Graham County that is located outside the incorporated areas of the county. The bill is supported by the Graham County Commissioners, Graham County EDC and the Town of Robbinsville. The bill passed with overwhelming support in both the Finance Subcommittee and the full House Finance Committee. The bill’s next stop is the House Rules Committee.
N.C.’s state debt cut by one-third since 2013
According to a recent report from the State Treasurer’s Office, North Carolina’s debt has been cut by one-third since 2013. NC maintains AAA credit ratings, balanced spending, and responsible borrowing under Republican leadership, highlighting our successful commitments to serving taxpayers and reforming state government.
Legislature extends $335 Extra Credit Grant application
Thanks to an extension by the state legislature, the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) is now accepting applications for the $335 Extra Credit Grants through May 31, for eligible individuals who did not already receive the payments. The grant program was established by the N.C. General Assembly in last year’s Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 to assist families with virtual schooling and child-care costs during the pandemic.
If you were eligible but did not receive your $335 “Extra Credit Grant” payment, you now have additional time to apply.
Recently sponsored legislation
HB205: Abuse & Neglect Resources in Public Schools
HB211: Reopen Bars and Restaurants
HB218: Streamline Permits/Redevelopment of Property
HB220: Assuring Choice of Energy Service
HJR233: Application for a Convention of States