NCACC Legislative Brief
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Supplemental Legislative Brief
June 19, 2018

The General Assembly was in session till late in the day last Friday so below is an update on actions taken, along with the status of legislation still in play. As this week may be the final week of the 2017-2018 legislative biennium, legislators are mostly considering local bills and constitutional amendments; however, there is still legislation that could move that affects counties. Any changes to the state’s constitution should be carefully evaluated for potential long-term impacts to counties. One amendment under discussion in Senate Bill 75 would lower the cap on the state income tax from 10 percent to 5.5 percent. Other possible constitutional amendments include requiring identification to vote, adding to victims’ rights, adjusting the eminent domain provision, and ensuring the right to hunt and fish.
The NCACC will publish its regular Legislative Brief this Friday and a final session report after sine die.

Action Requested

Bill Containing Special Separation for Firefighters and Rescue Workers Could Cost Local Governments Nearly $300 Million

Legislation allowing for a special separation for firefighters and rescue squad workers could cost local governments nearly $300 million. This analysis is from a legislative actuarial note attached to House Bill 340 which is now section 2 of Senate Bill 153. The bill contains other provisions also of concern to counties. The expanded commercial cemetery property tax exemption carries a $1 million impact to local governments according to the legislative fiscal analysis. Furthermore, the bill includes a property tax exclusion for the unmarried spouses of fallen first responders that carries up to a $700,000 impact to local governments across the state. The bill is likely to be heard on the House floor this week and the NCACC asks our members to contact their legislators with their concerns on this legislation.

Land Use Regulatory Changes Bill Remains in Senate Committee

As reported in last week’s brief, House Bill 507 remains in the Senate Rules committee. The bill would nearly eliminate the county’s ability to ensure land development projects meet certain performance standards for infrastructure like roads, water, and sewer. The NCACC remains concerned the legislation could incentivize land use litigation and circumvent a county’s ability to make land use decisions. The NCACC continues to ask county leaders to contact their legislators regarding their concerns about this legislation.

Uniform & Expanded Early Voting Act Now on Governor’s Desk

Senate Bill 325 passed late last week and would change time periods for early voting. After consulting with some county elections staff, the NCACC has concerns about this legislation from a county administration perspective. The NCACC is concerned that the bill limits county flexibility and would force counties to incur significant additional cost to maintain the same number of sites they have in previous election years. This would be particularly challenging to implement as many counties have already adopted their fiscal year 2018-19 budgets. Please contact your legislators about the impact this may have in your county.
You can click here to view the most recent episode of This Week at the General Assembly, the NCACC's made for government television show on legislation affecting county governments in the North Carolina General Assembly.

North Carolina Counties' Five Priority Goals

  1. PE-1: Seek legislation to establish a new state-county partnership to address statewide public school capital challenges -- including but not limited to maintenance, renovation, construction and debt -- through a dedicated, stable funding stream that is consistent from county to county and sufficient to meet the school facility needs of all 100 counties.
  2. PE-2: Seek legislation to repeal the statutory authority under N.C. Gen. Stat. 115C-431(c) that allows a local school board to file suit against a county board of commissioners over county appropriations for education.
  3. TF-1: Support efforts to preserve and expand the existing local revenue base of counties, and oppose efforts to divert to the state fees or taxes currently allocated to the counties to the state. Oppose efforts to erode existing county revenue streams and authorize local option revenue sources already given to any other jurisdiction.
  4. GG-3: Seek legislation, funding, and other efforts to expand digital infrastructure/broadband capability to the un-served and under-served areas of the state.
  5. PE-4: Support legislation providing flexibility to align K-12 and community college calendar.
Copyright © 2018 North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, All rights reserved.

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