The Legislative Review


Rep. Karl E. Gillespie

In this week’s edition of The Legislative Review, two of my primary sponsored bills pass the House and the first draft of the state budget proposal nears completion.

For the legislative week beginning Monday, March 13, 2023, a no-vote session was held on Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning, the AgNER Chairs presented their area budget proposal to the full Appropriations Chairs.

Additionally, my bill, HB133, Graham County Occupancy Tax was heard and passed two committees that morning. It was sent to the House Rules Committee later in the afternoon and received a favorable report.

Rep. Terry Brown and I met with a group of farmers from Carolina Farm Trust where we discussed how the state legislature can support urban farmers across the state.

During the afternoon I traveled to the Highway Patrol Driving Track, where my colleagues and I met with NCDPS and Highway Patrol and viewed the High Speed and Use of Force Scenario, followed by a high-speed pursuit display with Aviation Unit assistance terminated by precision immobilization technique. This was a great firsthand opportunity to see what our troopers do and understand the challenges they face on a daily basis. Later that afternoon I held a meeting with the nonprofit Golden LEAF Foundation. Tuesday’s House session was administrative and no votes were held.

Wednesday morning I attended a mandatory ethics training for all returning members. Thereafter I met with individuals from the NC Forestry Association and also discussed storm resiliency matters with an advocacy group. After meeting with NCDPS to discuss a local issue, I attended the House Agriculture Committee where we heard two bills: HB341, TS Fred Unexpended Funds/Wildfires, which passed committee, and HB327, Clarify Animal Welfare Statutes, which was withdrawn from committee with the intent for the bill to be heard at a later date.

My colleagues and I attended a caucus at 2 p.m., and headed to the House chamber for a voting session at 3 p.m. We voted on more than 20 bills, including:

– HB130, Preserving Choices for Consumers, would limit cities and counties from prohibiting consumer choice of energy service based upon the type or source of energy to be delivered. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 77-37.

– HB133, Graham County Occupancy Tax, would create Graham County as district G and would authorize the levy of an occupancy tax in the district. I am the primary sponsor of this bill and it passed, 111-5.

– HB258, Novel Opioid Control Act of 2023, would update the state controlled substances act. The bill passed unanimously, 112-0.

Closing out the legislative week, Joint Appropriations met Thursday morning to receive a presentation on the Governor’s recommended budget. Thereafter, I presented my bill, HB97, In-State Tuition Pilot Program, and it passed the House Education-Community Colleges Committee. No votes were held during Thursday’s House session.

For the legislative week beginning March 20, 2023, the House held a no-vote session Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, I met with the AgNER Chairs and Wildlife Resources to discuss budget requests. After a brief meeting with NCDPS to discuss a road safety issue in my district, I had the pleasure of meeting with a Clerk of Superior Court from my district. Clerks and district attorneys from across the state traveled to Raleigh for a conference and many took the time to visit their legislators at the General Assembly.

At 4:30 p.m., the House Rules Committee convened and heard my bill, (HB97, In-State Tuition Pilot Program) and it passed the committee. Rules is the final committee stop for all bills in the House, and it was then calendared to be heard on the House floor.

Tuesday’s session was administrative; with no voting.

On Wednesday, I met with various groups, from NCCAT to Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and Haywood EMC. After an afternoon caucus with my colleagues, House session convened where we considered 20 bills, including:

– HB96, NC REACH Act, would require at least three credit hours of instruction in American history or American government in order to graduate from a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a baccalaureate degree or a community college with an associate degree. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 69-47.

– HB97, In-State Tuition Pilot Program, would authorize the state board of community colleges to implement an in-state tuition pilot program for residents of certain Georgia counties. I am the primary sponsor of this bill and it passed by unanimous consent.

– HB187, Equality in Education, would demonstrate the General Assembly’s intent that students, teachers, administrators, and other school employees recognize the equality and rights of all persons and to prohibit public school units from promoting certain concepts that are contrary to that intent. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 68-49.

On Thursday, House session convened at 10 a.m., and we voted on various bills, including:

– HB76, Access to Healthcare Options, would provide North Carolina citizens with greater access to healthcare options. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 87-24.

– HB77, 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 by unanimous vote, 111-0.

– HB288, Remove Fee/Fire Dept. & Rescue Squad Plate, would remove the additional fee for a fire department or rescue squad member special registration plate. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 110-1.


Governor Cooper lets two bills become law

Two bills are becoming law without Gov. Cooper’s signature. The anti-rioting bill has bipartisan support and House Speaker Moore says “our communities will be safer now that this bill will finally become law.” Likewise, widely supported, the hotel safety bill should create a safer environment for guests and hotel owners.

Recently co-sponsored bills

From 3/13-3/24, I sponsored the following bills:

– HB320, Create Bldg. Code Permit Tech. Cert., would create a state building code permit technician certification.

– HB322, Tri-Share Child Care Pilot Funds, would establish a tri-share childcare pilot program to increase access to high-quality, affordable childcare and to appropriate funds for that purpose.

– HB326, NC Time Zone/Observe DST All Year, would designate the time zone of North Carolina and to adopt daylight saving time year-round if authorized by Congress.

– HB336, Healthy Students – A Nurse in Every School, would require at least one school nurse in every school in a public-school unit beginning in the 2023-2024 school year and to appropriate additional funds to meet that requirement.

– HB337, 2023 Appropriations Act, would make base budget appropriations for current operations of state agencies, departments, and institutions.

– HB338, Lifetime Concealed Handgun Permit, would allow the issuance of lifetime concealed handgun permits.

– HB341, TS Fred Unexpended Funds/Wildfires, would allow unencumbered funds for tropical storm Fred to be used by the department of agriculture and consumer services for wildfire damage recovery, relief, and planning.

– HB346, Reorganization & Economic Development Act, would establish a procedure for a hospital service corporation to reorganize by creating a nonprofit holding corporation.

– HB347, Sports Wagering, would authorize and regulate sports wagering on professional and college sports in North Carolina.

– HB349, Firefighter PFAS Management/Research, would appropriate funds to address and minimize exposure of firefighters to PFAs [per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances] in firefighting foam.

– HB350, Western Carolina University Engineering Funds, would appropriate funds for the college of engineering and technology at Western Carolina University.

– HB359, Require Passen. to Give Driv. Info to Law Enf., would require a passenger of a vehicle in an accident to provide driver information to law enforcement.

– HB361, Require Report/Protection & Advocacy Agency, would require the protection and advocacy agency for North Carolina to report its actions regarding its impact on persons with disabilities.

– HB376, Little Federal Model NC Edition, would amend the North Carolina Constitution to provide that each senator represents two counties, to permit the General Assembly to revise the Senate districts from time to time, and to require that the state is composed of one hundred counties.

– HB402, Motor Vehicle Insurance Reform, would make various changes to the motor vehicle insurance and service of process laws of North Carolina.

– HB414, Broadband Speed Standardization, would conform the state public utility standard for broadband speed to the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband speed benchmark.

– HB426, Revise Aquaculture General Permit, would direct the Environmental Management Commission to withdraw the 2021 NPDES general permit for aquaculture and revise it to be substantively identical to the previous general permit.

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