County Advocacy Hub

Weekly Update Legislative Brief

  • June 2, 2023

    Notable Activity

    Public work at the General Assembly was slow and steady this week. NCACC expects legislators to maintain this pace as the House and Senate negotiate final versions of high-profile bills, including the state budget. This week, the Senate took up and approved the House’s online sports gambling legislation, while a House committee heard discussion on the Senate’s medical marijuana legislation, though no vote was taken this week.  

    Budget negotiations are underway between House and Senate leaders. Once members have come to a final spending plan, work will speed up as the General Assembly works to adjourn the long session, which legislative leaders say is on pace to occur before the 4th of July holiday.   

    Please see below for action on a few pieces of legislation impacting counties, as well as a new piece of legislation filed this week making comprehensive changes to election laws.

    Action Items

    Senate Bill 299 Reimburse Late Audit Costs with Sales Tax Rev. allows the Local Government Commission to withhold up to 150% of the cost of an audit from a local government’s sales tax distribution if that unit fails to submit an annual audit report. NCACC is opposed to this legislation as it sets a problematic precedent — allowing the state to withhold sales tax distributions to compel counties to comply with any number of state objectives. NCACC urges members to reach out to their legislative delegations and express these concerns.

    Legislation to Know

    House Bill 600 Regulatory Reform Act of 2023 – Allows a local government to impose a system development fee to recoup costs incurred by the local government unit to purchase capacity in, or reserve capacity supplied by, capital improvements or facilities owned by another local government unit but would clarify that the system development fee does not include any charge or fee paid for such capacity. Makes various regulatory changes impacting counties, including various stormwater and wastewater provisions and zoning and development regulations. The Senate unveiled a proposed committee substitute for this bill but did not take any action. Action on the bill could come as early as next week.  

    The latest version of the bill can be found here

    A summary of the bill can be found here.

    Senate Bill 747 Election Law Changes – Makes comprehensive election law changes impacting counties, including but not limited to: 

    • The transmitting, counting, reporting, and inspecting of absentee ballots. 
    • The process for removing foreign citizens from voting rolls. 
    • Prohibition of counties accepting private donations for conducting elections or employing individuals on a temporary basis. 
    • Retention and archival of voting records. 
    • The maintaining of a log of any person rendering assistance to a voter. 
    • Provisional ballots for same-day registration. 
    • The allowance of any eligible voter in a county to file a challenge of a voter’s absentee ballot. 
    • Changes regarding the witnessing and signing of absentee ballots. 
    • Allocating precinct officials at one-stop voting places to the same level as election day, and other changes regarding precinct officials and poll observers. 
    • The extension of poll closing times statewide if extended in one county. 

    The bill was filed this week.  

    Other Legislation of Interest to Counties

    House Bill 130 Energy Choice/Solar Decommissioning Rqmts. – Prohibits local governments from adopting any ordinance that prohibits any energy service based on the type or source of energy to be delivered to the end-user of the energy service. The bill also requires owners or operators of utility-scale solar projects to responsibly decommission the project upon cessation of operations, and to establish financial assurance to cover the decommissioning. The bill gained approval in the Senate Agriculture, Energy, and Environment committee this week and could be considered on the Senate floor next week. 

    Senate Bill 582 North Carolina Farm Act of 2023 – Among other things, considers the sale of honey as qualifying gross income for purposes of the present-use value program for agricultural land. Clarifies that a facility that recycles turkey brooder litter is a bona fide farm purpose that is exempt from county zoning. Exempts compost from sales tax for qualifying farms. Clarifies the definition of “property-hauling” vehicles for taxation and registration. Encourages public schools to make 100% muscadine grape juice available to students statewide. The bill passed the House Agriculture committee this week and could be on the House floor for consideration as early as next week. 

2023-2024 Legislative Goals

Every two years, in the months preceding the long session of the North Carolina General Assembly, NCACC begins a grassroots process to develop our Association’s legislative goals, which guide our advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels of government. The process is designed to maximize participation by counties, build consensus among counties, and achieve a unified message on county priorities. View the 2023-2024 Legislative Goals.

The importance of participating in the legislative goals process cannot be overstated. When policymakers hear the same message from all 100 counties throughout our diverse state, the voice of each individual county becomes amplified. Counties are stronger together and our common purpose is enshrined in NCACC history and our vision statement, which states: “Empowering 100 counties to work together for the betterment of one state.”

Advocacy Briefs

Increase Access to Broadband
Enhance the State Capital Investment in North Carolina’s Public Schools
Grow North Carolina’s Statewide Economy Through State Investments and Coordinated Efforts with County Economic Development Services
Ensure Clean Water Access Across the State
The North Carolina Solar Industry is Arbitrarily Excluded from Paying the Fully Assessed Property Tax due to Local Government
Enhance Counties’ Ability to House Sentenced Inmates in County Jails
Exploration of a State-Level Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program

Budget Reports

House Budget Report

The North Carolina House of Representatives released their proposed state budget on March 29. Earlier, House and Senate leaders came to an agreement on the amount the General Assembly plans to spend over the next two years, announcing a 6.5% budget increase to $29.7 billion this year and then another 3.75% increase to $30.8 billion next year. This year, lawmakers had an additional $3.25 billion at their disposal due to higher-than-expected tax revenue. With massive shortages of teachers and state workers – and some agencies reporting as many as one in four state jobs vacant – the House has prioritized trying to address those workforce issues. Teachers would receive an average 10.2% raise over both years of the proposed budget. State workers would receive raises of 7.5% over two years, with 4.25% in the first year and 3.25% in the second year.

Senate Budget Report

The North Carolina Senate released their proposed version of the state budget on May 15. Topline figures and highlights include: net appropriations of $29.8 billion this year and $30.9 billion next year; doubling the Stabilization and Inflationary Reserve to a total of $1.9 billion; increasing the state’s rainy day fund by $250 million to a total of $5 billion; state employee raises of 5% over the biennium, with teachers receiving 4.5% and starting teacher pay increasing by almost 11% over that same time period.

Video Library

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How to Find and Track a Bill

How to Read a Bill

NCACC Policy Team

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