This week the North Carolina
General Assembly took major action on a number of issues of interest
to North Carolina manufacturing companies including: Unemployment
Insurance, Education Reform, Elimination/Restructuring of Obsolete
Boards and Commissions, and Medicaid Expansion. Check out the details
below. MCIC’s Bill Tracker report also provides the status
of other bills of interest to manufacturers.
Link to MCIC’s
Bill Tracker Report for Feb. 8, 2013 (pdf 2 pages)
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, the North Carolina House of Representatives
approved House Bill 4. The bill reduces the maximum duration of
unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks and lowers the maximum
weekly benefit amount from $525 to $350. Seven proposed amendments
by Democrats were rejected. The next day The Senate Finance Committee
concurred with the House on Senate Bill 6 (House Bill 4), after
rejecting two amendments.
Representative Julia Howard, R-Davie, spearheaded the House GOP
effort to pass the bill as-is in order to "give the bill a
chance to work" so that the state can repay the $2.5 billion
debt to the federal government in a timely fashion. North Carolina's
federal unemployment insurance debt is the highest in the Southeast
region and nationally, trumped only by the more populous states:
California and New York.
The bill will now go to the Senate floor for further debate. MCIC
was part of an active coalition of business organizations, led by
the NC Chamber that lobbied for passage of the bill.
to the text of House Bill 4
to the text of Senate Bill 6
The Senate Committee on Education/Higher Education approved a bill
(Senate Bill 14) containing technical and career-oriented graduation
pathways for North Carolina high schools. Students would be able
to choose to complete additional coursework in order to add "endorsements"
for career and technical education on their diplomas. In hand with
this, the bill also provides revisions on requirements for teachers,
in collaboration with The State Board of Education and community
college system, so that more students can take career and technical
One of the bill's sponsors, Senator Harry Brown, R-Onslow, says
this will allow driven students to get a good job out of high school,
regardless of collegiate timetables. The committee substitute did
remove language from the original bill that would allow these courses
to freshmen and sophomores. The bill was referred to the House committee
on Education where--if given a favorable report--will be referred
to Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
to the text of Senate Bill 14
Elimination and Restructuring of Obsolete Boards and Commissions
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee
supported a GOP proposal to terminate or restructure certain boards
and commissions. (see a more detailed story elsewhere in today’s
The following are subject to elimination: Dietetics/Nutrition Board,
Lottery Oversight Commission, Small Business Contractor Authority,
Committee on Dropout Prevention, State Education Commission, National
Heritage Area Designation Commission, Governor's Management Council,
Center for Nursing, Board of Correction, Board of Public Telecommunications
Commissioners of the North Carolina Agency for Public Telecommunications,
and The Board of Directors of the Certification Entity for the Phase
II Settlement Funds.
The following are subject to reorganization: Coastal Resource Commission,
Coastal Resources Advisory Council, Environmental Management Commission,
The Utilities Commission, Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina
Turnpike Authority, Special Superior Court Judges, State Board of
Elections, State Board of Education, North Carolina State Lottery
Commission, Charter School Advisory Committee.
These eliminations and restructuring are common following major
partisan regime shifts. It will allow Governor Pat McCrory and legislative
leaders to pick appointees so that appointees "reflect the
values of the current administration," as stated by Senator
Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein suggested that many current board
members and commissioners "have done nothing wrong." Senator
Bill Rabon, one of the bill's chief sponsors said it will make the
state more efficient. The fiscal note provides that it will save
the state $2 million. The bill originally had a provision that would
have created two additional seats on the state Supreme Court, but
was removed to be "visit[ed] at a later date" according
to committee Chairman Senator Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson.
to the Text of Senate Bill 10
On Monday night, Feb. 4, the Senate approved legislation (Senate
Bill 4) that would block state expansion of Medicaid, opting to
allow the federal government to run a health insurance exchange
as dictated by the Affordable Care Act. The party-line vote of 31-17
passed despite a letter from Governor McCrory to the Senate asking
for more time to consider fiscal consequences.
Speaker Tillis provided that there will be more in-depth consideration
in the House, as to alleviate the Governor's concerns. The House
received the bill Wednesday, passed its first reading Thursday,
and was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services where--if
favorable--will be referred to Appropriations.
to the Text of Senate Bill 4