The Legislative Review 

N.C. Rep. Karl Gillespie

Rep. Karl E. Gillespie

Editor’s note: Rep. Gillespie’s daily scheduling details included in The Legislative Review were edited due to limited space. 

For the legislative week of April 24-April 28, 2023, the House held a non-voting session on Monday.

On Tuesday, the House Environment Committee, of which I am a co-chair, heard three bills:

– HB 177 DEQ Omnibus.-AB

– HB 370 Responsible Firefighting Foam Management Act.

– HB 579 Amend Certain DEQ/EPA Agreements/Proceedings.

All three bills passed committee.

Just after 5 p.m., the House convened for session where we considered numerous bills, including:

– HB 139, U.S. and N.C. Flags/Made In USA, would prohibit State institutions and political subdivisions from purchasing United States and North Carolina flags with public funds that are not made in the United States. The bill passed with unanimous consent.

– HB 385, Regulation of Battery-Charged Security Fences, would prohibit counties and cities from (i) requiring permits, fees, reviews, or approvals for the installation or use of battery-charged security fences; (ii) imposing installation or operational requirements for such fences above those specified in the bill; or (iii) prohibiting the installation or use of such fence on property zoned for nonresidential use. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 111-2.

– HB 415, Stop Addiction Fraud Ethics Act of 2023, would enact new laws related to truth in marketing, and patient brokering and kickbacks, for substance use disorder treatment providers and facilities. The bill passed unanimously.

On Wednesday, the session convened and we considered several bills, including:

– HB98, Medical Freedom Act, would prohibit State agencies, local governments, and political subdivisions from discriminating against individuals based on their refusal to provide proof of, or to submit to, a COVID-19 vaccination. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 73-41.

– HB463, NC Farmland and Military Protection Act, would prohibit adversarial foreign governments from purchasing, acquiring, leasing, or holding any interest in agricultural land or land situated within a 25-mile radius of a military installation. The bill passed by unanimous vote.

On Thursday, the House held a morning voting session and we voted on various bills, including:

– HB299, Perpetual Care of Certain Cemeteries, would authorize the N.C. Cemetery Commission to promulgate rules establishing minimum standards for the care and maintenance of cemeteries licensed by the Commission. The bill would also impose civil penalties for violations and would require annual financial reports to include details of the care and maintenance performed at cemeteries. The bill passed unanimously.

 – HB648, Faithful Article V Commissioner Act, would create a new Article to Chapter 120 of the General Statutes entitled “Faithful Article V Commissioner Act.” The act would:

(1) enumerate findings leading to the creation of the Act,

(2) define terms applicable to the act,

(3) state the purpose of the act,

(4) detail requirements for the selection and removal of commissioners, and filling vacancies,

(5) establish limitations on the commissioners’ powers,

(6) require each commissioner to take an oath to act within the limitations established and understand that failure to do so may subject the commission to penalties provided by law, and

(7) create a Class I felony if a commissioner exceeds the scope of authority provided by the Act. 

I voted in favor and the bill passed, 64-50.

On Friday, the N.C. Supreme Court published three separate decisions that will:

• Affirm the General Assembly’s constitutional authority to draw state and congressional districts

• End unconstitutional felon voting

For the legislative week of May 13-May 5, 2023, the legislature has arguably its busiest week of the year as the crossover deadline approaches. Most bills that are introduced have to meet the crossover deadline, which means a bill must pass one of the two chambers to be considered eligible over the biennium. If not, that bill is dead until the beginning of the next long session, (January 2025) where it would have to be reintroduced.

Monday’s session was non-voting. 

On Tuesday, I attended the House Rules Committee where my bill, HB736, Joel H. Crisp SUDEP Awareness Law was heard. The bill passed committee.

The House convened for a voting session, where we considered 35 bills, including:

– HB55, Fire Investigation Law Revisions, would permit the Commissioner of Insurance, through the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM), to investigate fires under Article 79 of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes. The bill passed with unanimous consent.

– HB576, Health Care Practitioner Transparency Act, would require a health care practitioner’s licensure, certification, or registration to be displayed on advertisements and required identification and would prohibit any deceptive or misleading representations about a health care practitioner’s license, certification, or registration. I voted in favor; the bill passed, 111-5.

– HB608, Safety Requirements for Elevators, would change elevator safety requirements for certain rental accommodations and require the Building Code Council to amend the State Building Code accordingly. The bill passed by unanimous vote.

– HB736, Joel H. Crisp SUDEP Awareness Law, would direct UNC of Medicine’s Area Health Education Center (NC AHEC) to make available information on Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy to healthcare practitioners. I am the lead sponsor of this bill and it passed 116-0.

On Wednesday, the House voted on several bills, including:

– HB295, Promote North Carolina Sawmills, would promote local sawmills by allowing the use of ungraded lumber in certain circumstances. I am the primary sponsor of this bill and it passed, 115-2.

– HB426, Revise Aquaculture General Permit, would direct the Environmental Management Commission to withdraw the 2021 NPDES general permit for aquaculture and revise it to  the previous general permit. Currently, NCDEQ requires trout farmers to submit quarterly water tests, whereas previously the requirement was for annual testing only. The new quarterly requirement costs trout farmers over $7,000 a year. This bill would revert the permit back to the original annual requirement. I am the primary sponsor of this legislation and it passed with a vote of 81-36.

– HB593, Restrict Truck Length Through Cullasaja Gorge, would increase the penalty for exceeding tandem trailer and semitrailer length limitations on US64 between Franklin and Highlands.  It is already prohibited for trucks of a certain size to travel this road. This bill would increase the fine. The penalties apply to the amount by which the vehicle combination exceeds 20,000 pounds. I am the primary sponsor of the bill and it passed 118-0.

– HB808, Surgical Gender Trans./Minors, would prohibit healthcare practitioners from providing or referring out surgical gender transitions procedures to minors. I voted in favor and it passed, 74-44.

– SB20, Care for Women, Children, and Families Act, would amend the current ban on abortion from after 20 weeks to after 12 weeks. The bill provides significant funding for programs to help improve access to child care and maternal healthcare, and encourages families to adopt foster children. SB20 also provides funds to cover eight weeks of paid leave for state employees and teachers after giving birth. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 71-46. 

On Friday, the House concluded its business for the week with a morning session, where we voted on seven bills, including:

– HR894, Recognizing Israel’s 75th Anniversary, recognizes the 75th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, reaffirming bonds of friendship and cooperation between the State of North Carolina and Israel, and urging Congress to support the relationships between the state, the U.S, and Israel. I supported the bill and it passed, 109-1.

– HR688, Increase Access for Small Employers/Insurance, would increase access to stop loss, catastrophic, and reinsurance coverage. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 111-2.

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