APRIL 4, 2003
every Friday during legislative sessions exclusively
for NCCBI members
of stories below: House
gets serious about writing a budget... Senators
propose giving redistricting to independent commission... Flurry
of bills tinker with school operations... Doctors
plan rally to support medical malpractice reform... Senate
closes franchise tax loophole... Bills
of interest introduced this week... Novartis
gives $1 million to Medicaid fund... Weak
March tax collections wipe out surplus... Highway
funds battered by weak economy... Court
upholds contributory negligence law... NCCBI
slams revisions to New Source Review rules... Senate
elects new members of UNC Board of Governors...
to improve government efficiency
advances with introduction of Senate bills
drive to implement recommendations of the Governor’s
Efficiency Commission bore more fruit this week when several
bills were introduced in the Senate to do just that. Senate
Majority Leader Tony Rand, who served on the Efficiency
Commission chaired by former NCCBI Chair Jim Hyler, offered a
number of specific proposals Wednesday. Rand also introduced
several blank bills addressing efficiency topics that will be
fleshed out next week.
Hyler said he was “delighted” that Sen. Rand has
introduced the bills. “This is an important first step to
begin the debate in order to make structural changes in the
delivery of government services,” Hyler added. Among the
efficiency bills introduced Wednesday by Sen. Rand are:
804 DMV/NCDL/Registration Extensions which saves time and
money by allowing drivers to renew their vehicle registrations
every other year instead of annually, and making drivers
licenses good for eight years instead of five.
805 Consolidate Administrative Functions and a companion
measure, S. 808 Consolidate Administrative Programs,
call for the consolidation of administrative and support
functions of state government in areas of the state that have
high concentration of state facilities. The initiative is
modeled after similar measures taken recently for the many
state facilities in Morganton. The legislation directs the
University of North Carolina, the Judicial Branch, the
Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, the Community
College System, and the Department of Public Instruction to
develop a plan to consolidate their administrative functions
in areas of the state with high concentrations of facilities.
Those plans must be presented to the General Assembly no later
than May 1, 2004.
807 Combine Safety Programs calls for elimination of
duplicate worker safety programs and calls on the Industrial
Commission and Department of Labor to examine the current
programs and make recommendations for consolidation.
809 Consider Sale or Lease of State Property directs the
Department of Administration to review its inventory of
state-owned property and recommend property that should be
sold or leased to the private sector.
810 Increase Use of Public Defenders encourages the
formation of additional public defender offices throughout the
state to defend indigent defendants rather than paying
attorneys in private practice to defend them.
813 Controller's Fee permanently imposes a 20 percent
collection fee on deadbeat taxpayers and strengthens efforts
to collect back taxes under the Accounts Receivable program.
817 Deferred Retirement Option Program allows state
government retirees with special expertise to continue working
under a deferred retirement option program.
819 Use Of State Property/Blount Historic District speeds
up the process of disposing of state-owned property in
Raleigh’s Blount Street Historic District, with proceeds
going toward maintenance and upkeep of the Governor’s
821 Governor's Efficiency Commission is a blank bill at
present that will be fleshed out soon with other efficiency
924 Reduce Scope/Size of Boards and Commissions requires a
review of the more than 400 state boards and commissions, with
an eye toward eliminating or consolidating many of them.
None of the above bills
specify a dollar amount that can be saved if they are passed
into law, but it’s believed that the ideas they espouse
would save the state tens of millions of dollars. In addition
to the bills offered by Sen. Rand, a number of the
recommendations made by the commission are being considered in
the budget negotiations.
Commission report included recommendations that can be enacted
administratively by Gov. Mike Easley through executive orders
and a number of recommendations that need legislative action.
Gov. Easley’s office is working with all state agencies on
implementing efficiency ideas under his control. It’s
expected that much of that work will be handed to the Business
Council for Fiscal Reform, which Ealsey announced at NCCBI’s
Annual Meeting on March 19. Easley appointed several
NCCBI figures to the council, including Hyler and Sue W. Cole
of Greensboro, the U.S. Trust Company of North Carolina
president and CEO who succeeded Hyler as NCCBI’s chair at
the Annual Meeting. Others the governor appointed include Bill
Coley, the former Duke Power president; Jim Hance, vice
chairman and CFO of Bank of America; and Ken Thompson,
president and CEO of Wachovia Bank. Easley said he would
appoint additional members soon.
gets serious about writing a budget
The House continues working toward
its self-imposed April 18 deadline to have the budget bill
ready and made substantial progress toward that goal this
week. Appropriations Committee Co-chairs Jim Crawford
(D-Granville) and Wilma Sherrill (R-Buncombe) on Wednesday
introduced H. 853 Governor's Budget Bill, which
generally incorporates the $15.3 billion spending plan
advanced by Gov. Mike Easley. This was just to get the
governor’s plan on the table for debate; it’s expected
that the House will put its own imprint on spending
priorities. The same thing happened in the Senate when
Appropriations Base Budget Committee Co-chairs Linda Garrou,
Walter Dalton and Kay Hagan introduced S. 717 Governor's
The biggest budget question is whether there are enough votes
in the House Finance Committee to pass Easley’s plan to
delay the sunset on $460 million in state sales and income
taxes expiring June 30. In newspaper interviews, nine
committee members said they support continuing the taxes for
two years, 15 said they’re opposed, 9 said they’re
undecided and 3 said they want higher sin taxes instead of
continuing the expiring half-cent state sales tax.
Among the sin tax options floated this week was a bill by Sen.
Steve Metcalf (D-Buncombe), S. 665 Increase
Alcohol/Substance Abuse Services, which would raise the
tax on a can of beer or glass of wine by 3 cents and by 7.5
cents on a shot of liquor. He said the increase would raise
$95 million to fund mental health, developmental disabilities
and substance abuse programs. Also, Sen. Dan Clodfelter
(D-Mecklenburg) offered two, S. 915 Raise Cigarette Tax for
Medicaid and S. 917 (Clodfelter) Raise
Cigarette/Alcohol Tax for Medicaid, which raises the
excise tax on cigarettes; streamlines the tax on liquor,
changes the distribution of excise taxes on alcohol, and
phases out the county share of Medicaid costs.
propose handing redistricting to independent commission
An odd couple of senators are
crossing party lines to propose legislation that would
depoliticize the every-10-year task of redistricting by taking
it away from the General Assembly and giving it to an
independent commission. Conservative Republican Hamilton
Horton of Forsyth County and liberal Democrat Ellie Kinnaird
of Orange County introduced bills to that effect Monday in the
Senate. S. 651 Independent Redistricting
Commission/Statutory would establish the commission by
statute and empower it to recommend to the General Assembly
plans for legislative and congressional redistricting. S.
650 Independent Redistricting Commission/Constitutional
calls for a referendum on amending the state constitution to
allow redistricting to be done by the independent commission
rather than by the legislature.
At a news conference, Horton and Kinnaird were joined by
representatives of several public policy groups that support
the legislation, including The John Locke Foundation, Common
Cause of North Carolina, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the
N.C. State Grange. NCCBI has supported the concept for years.
When he was in the state Senate 30 years ago, NCCBI President
Phil Kirk co-sponsored similar legislation with Horton. Horton
said the yearlong court fight over legislative districts
proves that the politicians shouldn’t be entrusted with the
Under the proposed legislation, the independent commission
would have nine members, with two each appointed by the chief
justice of the state Supreme Court, House speaker and Senate
president and three by the governor. Each person would have to
appoint persons from both political parties.
of bills offered that tinker with school operations
The ongoing debate over how to
adequately fund the public schools hasn’t dissuaded
legislators from offering educators their advice about how,
when and where the schools should actually operate. Several
bills have been filed recently that would have major impacts
on the day-to-day management of school systems across the
Measures specifying that the school year can’t begin
until after Labor Day. To help the tourism industry,
particularly in coastal areas, bills have been introduced in
the House and Senate to bar most schools from opening before
Labor Day. In the House, Reps. Dewey Hill (D-Columbus) and
Connie Wilson (R-Mecklenburg) are leading the initiative with H.
683 Schools Start After Labor Day. Two such bills have
surfaced in the Senate, S. 779 (Dannelly) Schools Begin
After Labor Day and S. 1002 (Ballantine and Soles)
School Starts After Labor Day, both of which direct local
boards of education to set the first instructional day of the
school year after Labor Day. The N.C. Travel & Tourism
Coalition hasn’t yet decided whether to endorse the concept.
The legislation wouldn’t shorten the school year and would
not affect year-round schools.
Bills barring use of a high school exit exam. Rep. Rick
Glazier (D-Cumberland) filed legislation last week, H. 678
Eliminate High School Exit Exam, directing the Department
of Public Instruction not to implement the pending high school
exit exam and barring the addition of other tests assessing
student achievement. Senate Education Committee Co-chair Steve
Metcalf (D-Buncombe) filed a companion bill, S. 699, on
Tuesday. The high school exit exam, proposed by former Gov.
Jim Hunt, was intended to assure that a high school diploma
had value. However, the legislature directed DPI to halt work
on the exam last year.
A measure to raise the pay and credentials for teacher
assistants. Sen. Metcalf introduced S. 700 Teacher
Assistant Salary/Tuition Funds, which appropriates $4.3
million over the next two years to raise teach assistant
salaries from $14,000 a year to $18,000. It also appropriates
$6 million to the community colleges to pay for additional
training teacher assistants are required to have under the
federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Other education-related bills introduced this week:
696 (Metcalf) Initiatives to Address Teacher Shortages -
An act to effectively recruit and retain teachers for the
North Carolina Public Schools. At present the legislation is a
697 (Metcalf) Community College Trust Fund Established -
An act to establish a North Carolina Community Colleges Trust
698 (Metcalf) Advisory Members on the State Board of Education
- An act to add a local superintendent chosen by the governor
and the state principal of the year as advisory members to the
State Board of Education.
701 (Metcalf) Job Sharing for School Personnel - An act to
facilitate job sharing by certain public school professional
personnel by expanding current rules allowing classroom
teachers to share a job to cover those working as guidance
counselors, media coordinators, media specialists,
psychologists and social workers.
702 (Metcalf) Community College Equipment Funds/Carry Forward
- An act to permit the Community Colleges System to use
unspent funds to purchase instructional equipment. A companion
bill, H. 846, was offered in the House.
703 (Metcalf, Swindell and Holloman) Legislative Study
Commission on Rural Schools - An act to establish a
22-member Legislative Study Commission on Rural Schools, which
would issue recommendations to the 2004 session of the General
638 (Brock) Parental Notice of Health Care - An act to
prohibit the provision of certain health services by local
school administrative units and to require units to obtain
permission from parents for certain services.
639 (Brock) Textbooks Selected at the Local Level - An act
to make textbook selection a local decision.
640 (Brock) Schools Must Protect Student Privacy - An act
to protect the privacy of students and their families.
641 (Brock) Elect State Board of Education - An act to
amend the North Carolina Constitution to provide for election
of district representatives to the State Board of Education.
644 (Brock) UNC System/No Remedial Education - An act to
provide that constituent institutions of the University of
North Carolina shall not offer remedial education programs.
645 (Brock) LEAS & Colleges Operate Charter Schools -
An act to permit a local board of education to apply for
charter status for one or more of its public schools and to
permit private colleges to serve as chartering entities for
737 (Lucas) Calendar Must Let Teachers Take Earned Leave -
An act to modify the school calendar to ensure teachers have
an opportunity to take advantage of annual leave they have
783 (Garwood) Raise Compulsory School Attendance Age - An
act to prohibit students from dropping out of school before
the age of seventeen.
795 (Queen) Character Education to Include Antiviolence
Information - An act to modify character education in
kindergarten through twelfth grade to include an antiviolence
message and a conflict resolution component.
796 (Stevens) School Board/County Dispute Resolution - An
act to amend the procedure for resolution of disputes between
local school boards and county commissioners.
797 (Kinnaird) Soft Drink Tax/School Breakfast - An act to
levy a three-cents per container tax on soft drinks to provide
funds for education.
843 (Shubert) Inform Parents of Student Progress - An act
to ensure that parents receive a marked copy of tests taken by
their children under the statewide testing program.
886 (Carpenter, Dannelly and Purcell) Sun Safety for School
Children - An act to require local boards of education to
adopt policies to allow for outdoor use during the school day
of articles of sun-protective clothing and to allow pupils to
use sunscreen during the school day without a physician's note
931 (Shubert) No Portfolio Required/Teacher Certification
- An act eliminating the portfolio requirement for teacher
949 (Lucas) Link Principal's Bonus to 4-Year Graduation Rate
- An act to provide an annual bonus to high school principals
if the four-year graduation rate increases by more than ten
percent from the previous school year of if the four-year
graduation rate exceeds eighty percent.
plan rally to support medical malpractice reform
Watch for a major media frenzy in
Raleigh on Tuesday when hundreds of doctors rally at the
Capitol in support of medical malpractice reform legislation.
The doctors’ rally follows a photo op Thursday by trial
lawyers who paraded alleged victims of medical malpractice
before the cameras. At issue is a package of bills that would
cap pain and suffering damages at $250,000 and limit legal
fees, among other things. Trial lawyers seem most upset about H.
809 Ensure Access to Health Care, because it also would
reduce their income by specifying that a greater percentage of
jury awards go to the patient and less to the attorney. For
example, in a typical $1 million jury award for medical
malpractice, trial lawyers now get about $800,000. That would
be reduced to about $600,000 under the legislation. The bill
says the lawyer would collect 40 percent of the first $50,000
of a recovery, 33.3 percent of the next $50,000, 25 percent of
the next $500,000 and 15 percent of any amount over $600,000.
Trial lawyers “like to talk about patient rights, but their
opposition to reasonable limits on excessive legal fees is
just another example of how their actions speaker louder than
words,” said Dr. Joseph Perkins, chair of the N.C. Medical
Society’s Professional Liability Tack Force. Similar
measures are pending in Congress; medical malpractice reform
already has passed the U.S. House and is pending in the U.S.
Senate on March 27 gave third-reading approval to S. 51 (Clodfelter)
Close Franchise Tax Loophole and sent the measure to the
House. The bill adds a new section to franchise tax laws
specifying that “any membership interest a business trust
holds in a limited liability company is attributed to the
owners of the beneficial interests in the business trust,
according to their interests in the trust, and the trust
itself is disregarded as a separate entity.”
a vote of 36-9, the Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to
H. 340 School Calendar Flexibility for Inclement Weather,
a House-passed bill that reduces the number of days students
are required to go to class to help schools make up days lost
to snow and ice. The measure would allow schools that have
faced unusual winter storms to make up as many as three days
by extending the school day rather than holding classes on
Saturdays or cutting into spring and summer breaks. It applies
only to this school year. The bill now goes to the governor.
House on Wednesday voted 101-17 on third reading to pass a
bill exempting autopsy photos from the state's public records
law. Under H. 65 Autopsy Photos Not Public Record
interested parties still could view autopsy but few people
could make copies of them. The legislation was spurred by the
dispute over autopsy photos of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt
after his fatal crash at the 2001 Daytona 500. The measure was
sponsored by Rep. Karen Ray (R-Iredell) who represents a
district that includes a number of NASCAR businesses. The bill
now goes to the Senate.
a vote of 49-1, the Senate on Tuesday passed a bill requiring
paid fund raisers working for charities to immediately
disclose their cut of donations. Sen. Eric Reeves (D-Wake)
cast the only dissenting vote against S. 353 (Bingham) Charitable
Solicitations/Require Disclosure. The legislation now goes
to the House. State law now requires charities to disclose
within 14 days the percentage of donations they give paid
solicitors. Similar legislation, H. 833 (McGee, Frye,
Parmon and Stiller) Charitable Solicitations/Require
Disclosure, was offered in the House.
House gave final approval Tuesday to legislation designating
the Carolina Lily as the state's official wildflower. H. 47
(Baker) Adopt Carolina Lily as State Wildflower passed by
111-7. The House passed a similar bill last year but the
Senate failed to pass it when a dispute arose about
designating an official state berry.
of Interest Introduced This Week
Note: This list is quite long this week, mainly because of the Senate’s
self-imposed deadline requiring all but appropriation bills to
be introduced by April 2. While all of these bills are
important, we have placed a
front of those that appear of special interest to NCCBI
816 (Wood) 121 House Members - An act to amend the North
Carolina Constitution to expand the House of Representatives
by adding one member, to prevent future 60-60 splits between
the parties. The extra member would be elected at-large
statewide until the next redistricting.
819 (Miller and Ellis) Campaigning Outside Polls - An act
to strengthen the requirement that county boards of elections
must provide a space beyond the buffer zone around the voting
place where campaigning and other election-related activity
can be conducted.
821 (Justus) Filling Candidate Vacancy - An act to
simplify the process of filling a vacancy on a party ticket.
822 (Alexander) Health Insurance Coverage/Early Intervention
- An act to require health benefit plans to cover medically
necessary early intervention services for children from birth
to three years of age who are covered under the plan.
827 (Weiss, Luebke, Insko and Glazier) Conform Bank Expense
Deduction - An act to conform state income tax on banks to
federal income tax on banks.
835 (Blackwood) Prescription Drug Discounts/Uninsured Elderly
- An act requiring pharmacies to charge Medicaid beneficiaries
no more than the Medicaid reimbursement price for prescription
849 (Weiss) Environmental Enforcement Accountability Act. An
act to direct the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources to establish and maintain a list of
and a database of enforcement actions and to further
discourage violations relating to the environment.
850 (McLawhorn and Sexton) Community Colleges Professional
Staff Salaries - An act to implement a plan for moving
faculty and professional staff salaries in the North Carolina
Community College System to the national average.
852 (Walend) Increase 'Rainy Day' Funds - An act to
increase the funding for the Savings Reserve Account and to
provide that any balance not needed to fund the Savings
Reserve Account may be used only for capital improvements,
repairs and renovations, or maintenance.
622 (Reeves) Electronic Signatures by Public Agencies - An
act to clarify the use of electronic signatures by public
623 (Reeves) Anti-Hacker Attack Analysis - An act relating
to anti-hacker attack analysis.
624 (Reeves) DENR/Local Environment Health Specialists -
An act to modify the enforcement of local sanitation and
on-site wastewater programs by authorizing local environmental
health officials to authorize local environmental health
specialists to enforce program rules and to eliminate
unnecessary reauthorization or retraining of certain
environmental health employees with local health departments
or with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
629 (Clodfelter) State Banking Laws - An act relating to
the state's banking laws. This is a blank bill.
631 (Clodfelter) Self-Insured Localities - An act to make
statewide an act currently applicable to Charlotte and Raleigh
that deems the creation of a self-funded risk program as the
purchase of insurance for the purpose of waiving governmental
632 (Clodfelter) Workers' Compensation/Agricultural Employment
- An act to lower the number of agricultural workers that must
be employed by an employer in order for agricultural
employment to be within the purview of the Workers'
633 (Clodfelter) Modify UNC Bond Law - An act to revise
the University of North Carolina Special Obligation Bond Law.
634 (Forrester) LRC Study Medical Errors - A joint
resolution authorizing the Legislative Research Commission to
study the incidence of medical errors in health care settings,
the impact medical errors have on patient safety, and the
benefits of mandatory reporting of medical errors.
637 (Brock) Annexation Referendum - An act to restore the
pre-1959 annexation law by requiring a referendum on
annexation on petition of the residents being annexed, and to
allow the city to provide for a referendum on annexation.
642 (Brock) Lapsed Salaries Revert - An act to revert
lapsed salaries to the General Fund for the rainy day fund and
to encourage accuracy in budgeting by correctly funding
salaries and salary-related expenditure for state employees
643 (Brock) Double Penalties for Traffic Offenders - An
act to double the penalties for motor vehicle offenders.
647 (Gulley) Limited Local Waiver of Sovereign Immunity -
An act to authorize cities and counties to, by resolution,
create a self-funded risk program and thereby waive
governmental immunity from civil liability in tort to the
extent that funds are available in the funded reserve for the
payment of claims.
649 (Horton) New Party Ballot Access - An act to lower
from two percent to one-half of one percent the percentage of
gubernatorial voters a new party must collect in signatures in
order to achieve ballot eligibility.
658 (Soles and Clodfelter) Appellate Procedure/State Banking
Commission - An act to resolve conflicting statutes; to
amend the appellate procedure before the State Banking
Commission; and to authorize the commissioner of banks to
appoint a hearing officer.
660 (Kerr and Rand) Gross Premiums Tax Equalization - An
act to equalize the gross premiums tax rates levied against
Article 65 corporations, health maintenance organizations, and
661 (Reeves) Health Care Information Privacy - An act to
protect health information privacy by prohibiting use or
disclosure of protected health information for purposes of
marketing without written authorization of the individual, and
by limiting the use or disclosure of protected health
information without individual authorization for certain
public health-related activities.
663 (Ballantine) Property Tax on Yachts - An act to exempt
certain boats from property tax. The exemption applies to
boats owned by residents of other states who contract with a
broker in North Carolina to sell the boat.
666 (Metcalf and Rucho) Travel and Tourism Incentive Grants
- An act to create a travel and tourism capital incentive
grant program administered by the state Department of
668 (Metcalf) Beer/Wine Shipments - An act to authorize
the Alcoholic Beverage Commission to issue beer and wine
shippers permits to allow the direct shipment of malt
beverages and wines to residents of North Carolina.
674 (Hoyle) Graduated Corporate Income Tax - An act to
provide for a graduated corporate income tax. The act
specifies that for corporate income from zero to $3,000, the
income tax rate would be 1 percent; for income of $3,000 to
$6,000, the rate would be 2 percent; for income of $6,000 to
$9,000, the rate would be 3 percent; for income of $9,000 to
$12,000, the rate would be 4 percent; for income of $12,000 to
$15,000, the rate would be 5 percent, for income of $15,000 to
$30,000, the rate would be 6 percent; for income above $30,000
the rate would be 6.9 percent.
675 (Hoyle) Code Officials Professional Qualifications -
An act to establish a professional development program for
code-enforcement officials, to authorize the use of funds from
the Department of Insurance Fund for professional development
of code-enforcement officials, and to appropriate funds from
the insurance regulatory fund for that purpose.
676 (Hoyle) Revise the Banking Laws of North Carolina - An
act to redefine a limited service facility, to clarify the
powers of the banking commissioner and to update and modernize
the allowable business activities of banks.
679 (Hoyle) Modify State Financing Laws - An act to modify
the public financing laws of the state. This is a blank bill.
680 (Hoyle) Workplace Safety Tax Credits-AB - An act to
allow income tax credits for voluntary workplace safety
efforts by employers.
681 (Hoyle) Economic Initiatives - An act to establish and
implement economic initiatives. This is a blank bill.
683 (Kerr) State Capital Facilities Financing - An act to
provide a statutory framework for the financing of capital
facilities by the state and to authorize the issuance of
special indebtedness to acquire two private prisons, for site
work for a hospital at Central Prison, for a SBI laboratory
addition for rape kit DNA testing and other forensic purposes,
and for capital improvements and land acquisition for parks,
recreation and the preservation of natural heritage.
685 (Weinstein) Conform Mortgage Lending Laws - An act to
conform the laws related to permissible interest rates for
home loans secured by second and subsequent mortgages to the
laws governing permissible interest rates for home loans
secured by first mortgages.
691 (Thomas) Property and Casualty Insurance Omnibus - An
act to require real property companies to carry contractual
liability policies; require motor vehicle and home appliance
service agreement companies to use a specific format on all
written materials submitted; mandate all required submissions
to the Department of Insurance to be in a specific format if
in writing; require warranty companies to comply with Article
1 of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes; define mechanical
breakdown service agreements and require all mechanical
breakdown service agreement companies to comply with article 1
of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes and with the rules
regarding motor vehicle and home appliance service agreement
companies; and provide that a bad check constitutes nonpayment
of premium of a motor vehicle liability insurance policy.
713 (Hoyle) Workers Compensation/Restore Integrity - An
act to restore integrity to the Workers' Compensation Act.
This is a blank bill.
719 (Forrester) Phase Down Income Tax Rates - An act to
reduce income tax rates, with the top rate falling to 6.75
percent after 2008.
723 (Kinnaird) I-40 Billboard Moratorium - An act
reinstating the moratorium on further billboards along
Interstate 40 in North Carolina from the Orange-Alamance
County line to Wilmington.
725 (Clodfelter) Local Option Project Development Financing
- An act to amend the North Carolina constitution to permit
cities and towns to incur obligation to finance the public
portion of certain economic development projects.
726 (Clodfelter) Judicial Branch Independence - An act to
reinforce the independence of the judicial branch as a
separate branch of state government and to ensure the fiscal
integrity and accountability of the judicial branch, as
recommended by the state judicial council.
732 (Albertson) Underground Storage Tank Program Amendments
2003 - An act to make improvements in the regulation of
petroleum underground storage tanks and to the leaking
petroleum underground storage tank cleanup program.
745 (Lucas) Same Day Registration - An act to provide for
in-person registration and voting at early voting sites and at
central sites on election day; and to provide for adequate
identification requirements for persons registering and voting
on the same day to protect against fraud; and to appropriate
funds for implementing and monitoring the program.
752 (Jenkins) Economic Initiatives - An act to establish
and implement economic initiatives. This is a blank bill.
756 (Garrou) Brownfields Amendments - An act to amend the
Brownfields Property Reuse Act. This is a blank bill.
767 (Apodaca) Contract Surety Bonds - An act prohibiting
officers and employees of the state and its political
subdivisions from requiring construction contract bidders to
obtain surety bonds from sureties or producers designated by
the officers and employers.
771 (Thomas) Credit Scoring Limitation - An act to limit
the use of a person's credit history for discounting rates on
automobile and homeowners' insurance and to prohibit the use
of a person's credit history as a sole basis for terminating
insurance coverage, ceding an automobile insurance policy to
the reinsurance facility, or subjecting a policy to consent to
775 (Dalton) Prelitigation Mediation of Insurance Claims -
An act to conditionally require insurers to provide
information regarding policy provisions and policy limits
prior to litigation when requested in writing by the persons
who have claims, other than medical malpractice claims,
subject to insurance policies and to give these insurers the
option of initiating prelitigation mediation of the claims.
776 (Dalton) Workers' Comp/Definition of Employee - An act
to clarify the definition of employee under the Workers'
Compensation Act, particularly newspaper carriers.
777 (Foxx) Amend Dealer Licensing Law - An act to amend
the motor vehicle dealers and manufacturers licensing law with
regard to the manufacture, sale and distribution of trailers
782 (Dannelly) Health Insurance Coverage/Early Intervention
- An act to require health benefit plans to cover medically
necessary early intervention services for children from birth
to three years who are covered under the plan.
787 (Reeves) No Motor Fuel Sales Limits - An act to
prohibit limiting the quantity of motor fuel sold or offered
for sale under the Motor Fuel Marketing Act.
789 (Tillman) Motor Vehicle Repairs/Unfair Trade Practices
- An act to provide that certain practices of insurance
companies with regard to motor vehicle repairs are unfair
methods of competition and unfair or deceptive trade
802 (Soles) Medical Malpractice Witnesses Discovery - An
act to reduce the costs of medical malpractice actions by
limiting the number of expert medical witnesses and by
829 (Albertson) Stormwater Compliance - An act to amend
Chapters 105 143 of the General Statutes and other laws
pertaining to incentives to encourage stormwater control.
841 (Shubert, Weinstein, Ballantine and Rucho) Prosperity
Project - An act to enhance the prosperity of the people
of the state of North Carolina by accelerating the completion
of an interstate quality highway along the general route of
U.S. Highway 74 linking Asheville to Charlotte to Wilmington.
853 (Metcalf) Community College Professional Staff Salaries
- an act to implement a plan for moving faculty and
professional staff salaries in the North Carolina Community
College System to the national average.
856 (Metcalf) EMC to Develop Regulations - An act to
direct the Environmental Management Commission to develop
regulations. This is a blank bill.
860 (Clodfelter) Simplified Business Enterprise Taxation -
An act directing the Revenue Laws Study Committee to study a
proposal to reform and simplify state taxation of business
enterprises and appropriating funds to the Department of
Revenue for Information Technology necessary to estimate the
revenue impact of proposals to improve state business
861 (Clodfelter and Hoyle) Adopt International Building Code
- An act to adopt the International Building Code as the State
Building Code. =H.
856 (C. Wilson)
869 (Hagan) Restrict UNC Ownership of Certain Properties -
An act to prohibit institutions of the University of North
Carolina from financing, developing, owning and operating
lodging facilities, conference centers and golf courses,
except under certain conditions.
874 (Bingham) OSH Investigations/Violations - An act
relating to the handling of first-time violations of
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.
895 (Queen) Facilitate NC Architecture - An act amending
the laws of relating to architecture to facilitate North
Carolina architecture by North Carolina architects.
904 (Queen) Correct Research and Development Credit - An
act to correct problems that prevent the Research and
Development Tax Credit from applying consistently to taxpayers
increasing their research and development in this state.
905 (Queen) Raise State Minimum Wage - An act amending the
State Wage and Hour Act to increase the state minimum wage to
$6 an hour.
906 (Queen) Small Business Capital Gains Exclusion - An
act to exclude income tax gains from investments in qualified
907 (Hartsell and Weinstein) Certification of Wastewater Site
Evaluations - An act to provide for the certification of
wastewater site evaluators.
908 (Hartsell) Groundwater Protection Act - An act to
protect groundwater as a current and future water resource and
to encourage redevelopment of brownfields sites.
911 (Clodfelter) Improve Environmental Enforcement - An
act to improve the enforcement of various environmental laws
substantially raising fines. The bill raises the maximum civil
penalty from $5,000 to $10,000 a day.
927 (Metcalf) Certify On-Site Wastewater Contractors - An
act to provide for the certification of on-site wastewater
contractors and inspectors.
943 (Hoyle) Biomanufacturing Funds - An act to appropriate
funds to the Board of Governors of the University of North
Carolina to assist with biomanufacturing construction
financing and worker training that will increase the state's
ability to compete for biomanufacturing markets and help boost
future economic growth across North Carolina.
944 (Hoyle) 21st Century Jobs Act – Extends the
qualified business tax credit and the state ports tax credit
through 2007 and makes extensive revisions to the research and
development tax credit to make it more easily apply to midsize
and small business investments.
945 (Hoyle) Timely Environmental Permit Process - An act
to provide that the secretary of Environment and Natural
Resources shall modify the permit process for certain air
quality permits, shall conduct a thorough review of the
environmental permit programs to identify impediments to the
timely issuance of permits by the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources, and shall make recommendations for
modifications to these programs in order to enhance economic
956 (Hartsell) Improve Rulemaking Process - An act to
amend the Administrative Procedure Act to revise the procedure
for adopting permanent and temporary rules, to create a
procedure for the adoption of emergency rules, and to clarify
the role of the Rules Review Commission.
980 (Albertson) Voluntary Stormwater Expenses Credit - An
act to provide a refundable tax credit for voluntary expenses
to reduce stormwater pollution beyond expenses required by
1010 (Gulley) Moving Ahead Transportation Initiative - An
act to implement the North Carolina Moving Ahead
transportation initiative by allowing cash balances in the
Highway Trust Fund to be used to meet crucial transportation
needs and to reaffirm the intent of the General Assembly that
proceeds from the issuance of bonds under authority of the
State Highway Bond Act of 1996 shall be used for the purposes
stated in that act, and for no other use.
1018 (Berger and Clodfelter) Health Care Provider Professional
Liability Insurance Changes - An act to require certain
professional liability insurers to use experience and schedule
rating plans and to establish premium stabilization accounts
to mollify severe market cycle changes caused by decreases in
donates $1 million to Medicaid program
Novartis Pharmaceuticals donated $1 million to the
state Department of Health and Human Services to help fund a
program that provides targeted healthcare services for
Medicaid recipients. The Community Care program, which now
operates in 22 counties, seeks to lower overall Medicaid costs
through preventative measures. Officials say the program will
save $9.4 million in state funds and $29 million in total
Medicaid costs this year.
Paulo Costa, president and CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals,
said his company “recognizes the value of integrated health
systems within Medicaid to improve quality and access to care
while containing total Medicaid health care costs. It is our
hope that other leading pharmaceutical companies will come
forward to support Medicaid-Community Care of North Carolina
and that other states will look to North Carolina as a model
for their own Medicaid programs.”
The first Community Care initiative targeted child asthma, and
lowered hospital admission rates for children by 34 percent
and emergency visits by 8 percent. The average cost for an
asthma episode decreased 24 percent.
The Novartis donation will help the state establish new
Community Care networks and expand existing networks. Working
with the N.C. Foundation for Advanced Health Programs, a
20-year-old nonprofit whose mission is to improve access to
care and restrain costs, Community Care is seeking more funds
to allow it to expand statewide and increase enrollment from
300,000 to 655,000 Medicaid clients. Through Community Care,
Medicaid patients have case managers in their own community to
help them in disease management and to act as their health
advocates. This is typically a nurse or social worker who has
more time for them than their doctors and who can educate them
on their health care needs, such as lifestyle changes required
for diabetes management.
tax collections in March wipe out budget surplus
March tax collections came in $119
million below budget, weakened by business fears over the war
in Iraq and waning consumer confidence in the economy, an
economist told state lawmakers Thursday. The
lower-then-expected receipts wiped out the small budget
surplus that had accumulated in the first eight months of the
fiscal year and left the state $80 million in the red,
according to Dave Crotts, chief analyst in the General
Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division. Crotts said it’s
difficult to predict how the final three months of the year
will play out. The General Fund could end the year June 30
anywhere from a $323 million shortfall to a $77 million
surplus, he said. Dan Gerlach, Gov. Easley’s senior budget
adviser, said a shortfall could be easily addressed because
the governor has withheld some money to state agencies.
funds battered by weak economy
The weak economy is keeping drivers off the roads and
contributing to sharp declines in revenues flowing into the
Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund. Through January, or seven
months of the fiscal year, total revenues for the two funds
are running nearly $26 million less than at this point last
fiscal year. The biggest drop is in the motor fuels tax, which
stood at $497 million at the end of January compared to $522.6
million the previous year. Total Highway Fund receipts
amounted to $698.3 million through seven months, compared to
$723.1 million last fiscal year, a drop of 3.4 percent. Total
Highway Trust Fund receipts amounted to $1,253 million through
January, compared to $1,278.8 million last fiscal year, a drop
of 2 percent. See the chart below for a detailed look at
Status of the Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund.
Dollars in Millions
Motor Fuels Tax
Motor Vehicle License Fees
Driver License Fees
Motor Fuels & Oil Inspection Fees
Subtotal – Highway Fund
Highway Trust Fund
Highway Use Tax
Motor Fuels Tax
Motor Vehicle Lease
Subtotal – Highway Trust Fund
upholds contributory negligence law
A divided state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld
North Carolina's contributory negligence law in ruling that a
Robeson County Superior Court judge erred when he granted a
new trial to a woman after a jury concluded she was partly to
blame in a slip and call case. Appeals Court Judge Eric
Levinson wrote the opinion in Cameron v. Canady, No.
COA 02-573, and was joined by Judge John Tyson. Judge Patricia
Timmons-Goodson dissented. The case stems from an incident in
which Joyce Cameron sued Gregory Canady, contending she hurt
herself when she slipped and fell on his garage steps. Cameron
claimed the steps were negligently maintained. A Robeson
County Superior Court jury concluded the accident was caused
both by the faulty steps and because Canady failed to use
proper precautions when descending the stairs. At the time she
was carrying a Rolodex in one hand and a bank bag in the
other. She also admitted suffering from an inner ear problem
that diminished her sense of balance. Because she was
partially at fault, Cameron couldn't collect damages. However,
the trial judge granted a motion by Cameron for a new trial, a
ruling that the Appeals Court reversed and remanded.
strikes out over injury at ballpark
A salesman for Sara Lee who won a
company-paid trip to attend a food show in Chicago and then
slipped off to attend a White Sox baseball game isn’t
entitled to workers comp benefits for injuring his knee while
leaving the ballpark, the Court of Appeals said in upholding a
decision by the N.C. Industrial Commission. The case is Jacobs
v. Sara Lee Corp., No. COA 02-413. Salesman Tim Jacobs had
won the trip to the Chicago food show but decided to leave the
convention one afternoon to attend the baseball game. On his
way out of the ballpark, he slipped and ruptured a tendon in
his right knee. He claimed the injury was work related. The
Industrial Commission disagreed, saying that attending the
baseball game was a personal deviation from Jacobs’ duties
at the food show. Jacobs appealed but the Court of Appeals
sided with the commission. The decision was written by Judge
Ann Marie Calabria and concurred in by judges Linda McGee and
praises East Carolina at Founder’s Day celebration
Greenville was chosen as the site for the current East
Carolina University in 1907, not just because of the sites and
cash it offered, but because of "some intangibles ... a
fierce determination to build a facility that would educate
the region's finest and hopefully keep them at home."
NCCBI President Phil Kirk told the audience at ECU's Founder's
Day celebration on March 27 "the vision, dedication, and
work ethic were as evident in the early years of the last
century as they are in this new century. That ministry -- that
vision -- that mission has expanded over the years to many
other important fields, including health care, business, art,
music, sciences, technology, social work, and others,"
Kirk said. He saluted ECU for "training more
professionals for North Carolina's public schools than any
other college or university. I salute your emphasis on both
quality and quantity.
Kirk, who chairs the State Board of Education, also attended
an afternoon ceremony in which it was announced that the ECU
School of Education is now officially the College of
Education. He told the audience that ECU's College of
Education had received the highest score in North Carolina on
the report card for schools of education in the public and
He also emphasized ECU's role in economic development issues
in the region. "Business and industry will not locate nor
expand in areas that do not value public education. Taxes,
incentives, water and sewer regulations, transportation, and
cultural amenities are all important to economic development.
However, the quality and quantity of the workforce rank number
one among the factors business and industry consider in making
location and expansion decisions."
Chancellor Bill Muse said Kirk he will be the recipient of an
Honorary East Carolina Alumnus award on May 10 and also
thanked him for serving on the ECU Board of Visitors. While on
campus, Kirk participated in the groundbreaking for the
renovations and expansion of the Rivers Building that is being
funded through the UNC-community college bond issue. NCCBI
coordinated the successful $3.l billion campaign in 2000.
NCCBI weighs in on airline crisis
NCCBI has joined with other groups across the country to let members of
congress know of concerns about the deepening financial crisis
threatening community air service. The group, Communities for
Economic Strength through Aviation, sent the following letter
to members of congress this week:
“We are gravely concerned about the impact of the
airline industry’s financial crisis on our communities. With
the industry in peril, so is the economic vitality of states
and communities from coast to coast. We are writing to ask you
to turn your attention to this problem as a matter of urgent
priority. Commercial aviation is currently facing the greatest
financial challenge in its history. The industry has lost $18
billion since the beginning of 2001. The industry is now
carrying over $100 billion in debt and several U.S. airlines
are in bankruptcy. Even in the absence of a war in Iraq,
analyst had predicted losses of $6.7 billion in 2003. A war of
limited duration is expected to raise losses to $10.7 billion.
A war coupled with a major act of terrorism would likely
increase losses to more than $13 billion and lead to a 23
percent total drop in passenger traffic.
“The impact on communities of the losses already experienced
is staggering: thousands of flights have
been eliminated and more than 100,000 jobs have been cut.
According to the Air Transport Association, the war could put
an additional 70,000 airline industry jobs and 2,2000 flight
to small and mid-sized communities in jeopardy. Over the long
term, many more jobs would be at risk because an estimated 15
jobs are produced in the broader economy for every job in the
airline industry. Ultimately, this means that hundreds of
thousands of additional jobs in sectors such as travel and
tourism, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade,
agriculture, construction, communications, business and health
services could also be lost. For example, Bureau of Labor
Statistics data show that the travel and tourism sector alone
has lost more than 460,000 jobs since September 2001.Reliable
air service is indispensable to the economic health of our
communities, our states and the nation. We urge you and your
colleagues in Congress to act swiftly and decisively to
address the unprecedented airline industry crisis and preserve
this essential economic engine.”
Guilford County educators thank Kirk for leading state board
The Guilford County Board of Education passed a
proclamation of gratitude for NCCBI President Phil Kirk's
nearly six years of service as chairman of the State Board of
Education at its meeting on March 11. Kirk has resigned his
education post effective May 1. The resolution, signed by
Chair Alan W. Duncan and Superintendent Terry B. Grier,
praises Kirk for visiting all 117 school districts and more
than 750 schools. It also reads, "The school children of
North Carolina have benefited from his visionary leadership
and statesmanship through his coordination of the most
successful statewide bond campaign for $2.75 billion in bonds
for schools and roads in the fall of 1996." He is also
saluted for "helping the North Carolina General Assembly
remember that the classroom teacher is vitally important as to
whether our schools fail or succeed.
His leadership helped make the profession of teaching a
more highly respected position in North Carolina and help
raise teacher salaries nearer the national average."
slams revisions to New Source Review rules
The State of North Carolina told the
Environmental Protection Administration on Monday that its
proposed revisions to the New Source Review program represent
an unacceptable retreat in protecting air quality in the state
and the nation. “The EPA is proposing to scale back
important air quality regulations designed to protect public
health and the environment,” Gov. Mike Easley said. “Here
in North Carolina, we have taken bold and progressive action
through the Clean Smokestacks legislation to significantly
reduce air emissions from our biggest stationary pollution
sources,” Easley said. The governor’s comments were
contained in documents the state submitted at an EPA regional
public hearing to receive public comment on the proposed
rules. The hearing in Research Triangle Park was one of five
the EPA held around the nation.
The New Source Review (NSR) program, adopted by the EPA in the
early 1980s, covers the construction of large industrial
facilities and major modification of existing facilities. The
program requires companies to obtain a permit before beginning
construction or modification projects and stipulates that the
permits will be granted only if the new plant or major
modification includes pollution control measures that rely on
state-of-the-art technology. However, the EPA concluded last
year that the program had backfired. Far fewer new industrial
facilities were being built and fewer modifications of
existing facilities were being made because of the complexity
of the NSR rules. In particular, the NSR rules defining
“routine maintenance, repair and replacement” of existing
pollution control equipment were burdensome.
Last November, the EPA issues proposed revisions to the NSR
rules that offer companies greater flexibility to improve and
modernize their operations in ways that will reduce energy use
and air pollution, provide incentives to install
state-of-the-art pollution controls and more accurately
calculate actual emissions of air pollution. These NSR
revisions also removed unintended regulatory barriers to
investments in energy efficiency and pollution control
projects, the EPA said.
"EPA is taking actions now to improve NSR and thereby
encourage emissions reductions," said EPA Administrator
Christie Whitman. "NSR is a valuable program in many
respects but the need for reform is clear and has broad-based
support. The steps we are taking recognize that some aspects
of the NSR program have deterred companies from implementing
projects that would increase energy efficiency and decrease
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary
Bill Ross disagreed. ''We have serious reservations about this
proposal and its potential impact on air quality in North
Carolina and upwind states,'' he said.
'Under the existing rules, companies that make
substantial changes to their facilities and/or increase
emissions must undergo New Source Review and may need to
upgrade their emissions controls. With the proposed changes,
facilities could replace entire units in piecemeal fashion
without ever addressing actual emissions increases or
upgrading their controls.''
NSR rules only apply if the plant modification results
in a net increase in air pollution.
The proposed NSR revisions address:
Applicability Limits (PALs): To provide facilities with flexibility to modernize their
operations without increasing air pollution, facilities that
agree to operate within strict site-wide emissions caps called
PALs will be given flexibility to modify their operations
without undergoing NSR, so long as the modifications don’t
cause emissions to violate their plantwide cap.
Control and Prevention Projects: To maximize investments in pollution prevention, companies
that undertake certain specified environmentally beneficial
activities will be free to do so upon submission to their
permitting authority of a notice, rather than having to wait
for adjudication of a permit application. EPA is also creating
a simplified process for approving other environmentally
To encourage the installation of state-of-the-art air
pollution controls, EPA will give plants that attain
"clean unit" status flexibility in the future if
they continue to operate within permitted limits. This
flexibility is an incentive for plants to voluntarily install
the best available pollution controls. Clean units must have
an NSR permit or other regulatory limit that requires the use
of the best air pollution control technologies.
Calculation Test Methodology: To provide facilities with a more accurate procedure for
evaluating the effect of a project on future emissions, the
final regulations improve how a facility calculates whether a
particular change will result in a significant emissions
increase and thereby trigger NSR permitting requirements.
Names in the News
elects new members of UNC Board of Governors
A year after scrapping a quota system that required the
appointment of women, African-Americans and members of the
minority political party, the Senate elected eight members of
the UNC Board of Governors on Wednesday who fit the same
profile. The new board members include two women, two
African-Americans and one Republican. The new members are: R.
Steve Bowden, an attorney from Greensboro; Peter D.
Hans, a Raleigh lobbyist; Adelaide Daniels Key, an
Asheville philanthropist; Charles S. Norwood Jr., a
Goldsboro realtor; Estelle "Bunny" Sanders,
mayor of the town of Roper in Washington County. Sanders and
Bowden are African-American. Hans is a Republican. Three board
members were re-elected: F. Edward Broadwell Jr., an
Asheville banker; William L. Burns Jr., a banker from
Hillsborough; and John W. Davis III, an investment
banker from Winston-Salem. The board's vice chairwoman,
retired educator Teena S. Little of Southern Pines
withdrew her name from consideration before the Senate vote.
Board Member Ruth Dial Woods, a retired educator from
Pembroke, also was not re-elected. The House has not scheduled a vote
yet on its slate of members to the board.
NCCBI President Phil Kirk was named to the U.S.
Chamber's Chamber of Commerce Committee by U.S. Chamber
Chairman Jim Kollaer. The group meets twice per year and
advises the U.S. Chamber of Commerce board of directors on
federal issues, outreach to the business community, and
relations with local and state chambers. "I am honored to
be selected to be a member of this group of some of my peers
from across the country," Kirk said.
"I believe I will be able to learn a lot about
what works and what does not work in various state chambers,
and I look forward to sharing ideas from NCCBI with other
state leaders." The group will meet in July in Naples,
Florida in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber Executives'
Stansbury of Raleigh was elected chairman of the N.C. Federation of
Young Republicans. Stansbury, 31, is the director of
government relations for Variety Wholesalers Inc. and has
worked on several local, state and federal campaigns.
Brody of Kinston and Robert J. Greczyn Jr. of Durham were
appointed to four-year terms on the East Carolina University
Board of Trustees by Gov. Mike Easley. Brody is the managing
partner of Brody Associates and co-owner of Brody Brothers Dry
Goods and Eastern Carolina Coca-Cola. Greczyn is president and
CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.