The Legislative Review



Rep. Karl E. Gillespie

In this week’s edition of The Legislative Review, dozens of committees met and important legislation passed the House.

For the legislative week beginning Monday, Feb. 13, no-vote sessions in the House were held Monday and Tuesday. However, I met with my colleagues for a caucus Monday evening. On Tuesday, I chaired my first committee meeting, the Appropriations, Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources Committee. During the meeting, presentations were given by the Department of Environmental Quality on flood resiliency. Our Legislative Fiscal staff also presented on the Divison of Water Resources and the Division of Waste Management.

Later that afternoon, I chaired the House Environment Committee. Secretary Elizabeth Biser of NCDEQ provided a presentation of the state agency to the committee.

Wednesday morning I attended an Appropriations, AgNER committee meeting and a presentation was provided on the Department of Commerce. Also, information on the Marine Industrial parks was provided by Bob Peele, the director of the Marine Industrial Park Authority.

The Department of Commerce is the lead agency promoting economic development, workforce development, and travel and tourism within the State. The North Carolina Marine Industrial Park Authority is an 11-member State Authority created in 1981 by the NC Legislature. The mission of the Authority is to promote, enhance, and offer business opportunities for marine-related businesses in North Carolina.

After a caucus with my colleagues and meetings with various advocacy groups, I made my way to the House Chamber for an afternoon voting session.

The House session convened and we voted on numerous bills, including:

– HB36, Firearms Training/Probation & Parole Officers, which would remove the requirement of taking a firearm safety and training course for qualified current probation or parole officers not under disciplinary action. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 117-3.

– HB49, Protect Religious Meeting Places, would authorize an individual who has a valid concealed handgun permit, or who is exempt from obtaining that permit, to carry a handgun in a place of religious worship that is also educational property under certain conditions. I voted in support and the bill passed, 77-43.

­­– HB76, Access to Healthcare Options, would provide North Carolina citizens with greater access to healthcare options. This bill will be at no cost to the state while securing billions in federal funds. HB76 will provide roughly 600,000 low-income North Carolinians, mostly working families in rural areas, access to healthcare. The bill establishes a workforce development program to help enrollees further their career to transition off Medicaid and requires NC DHHS to work with the federal government to establish a Medicaid work requirement. HB76 also creates a loan forgiveness program for doctors and nurses who work full time in rural counties. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 92-22.

On Thursday, the AgNER Committee convened and an overview of the Department of Labor was provided to committee members. The Department of Labor is the lead agency promoting the health, safety, and general well-being of workers. There are three different divisions in the Department of Labor: Administration Division, Standards and Inspections, and Occupational Safety and Health. During the committee, they discussed the budget of each division and what they are trying to accomplish.

Thursday’s House session convened for third reading of HB76, which officially passed the House and is now in the Senate.

For the legislative week beginning Feb. 20, 2023, the House held a no-vote session Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, the Joint Appropriations Committee met and economist, Dr. Emma Turner, presented to the committee the consensus revenue forecast. The new revenue forecast projects North Carolina will collect a budget surplus of $3.25 billion (10.7%) for 2022-2023.

Tuesday’s session was administrative in nature and no votes were held. On Wednesday, the Appropriations, AgNER Committee met and two presentations were provided, both presented by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). One presentation was provided regarding DEQ permits, and the subsequent presentation on the DEQ Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources.

The Department of Environmental Quality permits exist to protect personal health and safety, protect the environment, and mitigate harm during a disaster. DEQ has authority for permits in federal, state, and local areas. The Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources’ (DEMLR) mission is to promote the wise use and protection of the State’s land and geologic resources through erosion and sediment control, stormwater control, mining safety, dam safety, and geological survey.

Additionally, numerous other committees met on Wednesday, including House Agriculture and House Disaster Recovery and Homeland Security. Wednesday afternoon’s session consisted of votes on several bills, including:

– HB2, Extend Deadline for Expenditure of Funds, would extend the deadline by which directed grant funds allocated to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office in Session Law 2021-180 will revert if unspent or unencumbered. The bill passed unanimously.

– HB35, Expand Definition of Opioid Antagonist, would broaden the definition of opioid antagonist to mean all opioid antagonists approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration to treat drug overdoses, instead of only naloxone hydrochloride, and would allow State Needle and Hypodermic Syringe Exchange Programs to use FDA approved opioid antagonists. HB35 passed unanimously.

­– HB50, Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal, would repeal the requirement to obtain a pistol purchase permit from the sheriff prior to the purchase or receipt of a pistol. Federal law already requires federal firearms licensees to conduct a criminal background check through the NICS system. HB50 is supported by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association. The bill passed, 67-48.

Thursday morning, Appropriations, AgNER met once again and received a presentation on the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources: Attractions, Land and Water, and Parks. The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) is the lead agency for arts, history, libraries, and nature. They have a total general fund budget of $349.3 million. The money is distributed to aquariums and zoos, art museums and arts councils, heritage commissions, historic sites and museums, libraries, NC Land and Water Fund, and state parks.

The House held an administrative session Thursday morning and concluded its business for the week.

I would like to introduce my new spring intern, Harrison Gobble (pictured above). Harrison is a junior at North Carolina State University and he will be helping my office with various constituent and communications-related requests. Thank you Harrison for your assistance during this very busy long session.


Recently co-sponsored bills

From 2/13-2/23, I sponsored the following bills:

– HB86, School Calendar Flex/Statewide, would provide flexibility in adopting the school calendar.

– HB97, In-State Tuition Pilot Program, would authorize the state board of community colleges to implement an in-state tuition pilot program for certain Georgia counties.

– HB112, Consider Honey Sales as Income for PUV, would consider the sale of honey as qualifying gross income for purposes of the present-use value program for agricultural land.

– HB133, Graham County Occupancy Tax, would create Graham County as a district G County and would authorize the levy of an occupancy tax in the district.

– HJR151, Term Limits for Congress, is a joint resolution applying to Congress for an Article V Convention of the States for the purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution to impose term limits on Members of Congress.

– HB153, Use Tribal ID for Alcohol & Tobacco Purchase, would allow the use of a tribal enrollment card issued by a federal recognized tribe when making alcohol or tobacco purchases.

­– HB166, American Indians Graduating with Honors Act, would allow American Indian students to wear cultural objects at public school graduation ceremonies.

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Telephone: 919-733-5859

Karl Gillespie is a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, representing District 120 since January 1, 2021. Gillespie is from Franklin.

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