Legislative Session, Week 23
Despite the holiday last week, Senators decided to meet and work through a few more bills. The House did not meet last week. Legislators have not made clear when they plan to pass a budget and tax reform package. Legislators have until July 30th to pass a budget plan or file another continuing resolution.
Relevant Bills with Action
HB 392 Warrant Status/Drug Screen Public Asst.: This legislation allows local law enforcement to work with DSS without DSS workers violating Federal laws around affirmative duty. DSS workers will be allowed to share with local police when a parole or probation violator or a person with an issued arrest warrant applies for public assistance. Local law enforcement will have the responsibility of seeking this information. The bill also includes that if a conviction is related to illegal controlled substances, this shall constitute as reasonable suspicion and the applicant should undergo drug testing as well. This section would allow the state to bypass a Constitutional protection for unreasonable drug testing. The bill is scheduled to be heard on July 9th on the Senate floor.
HB 510 Foster Care Children’s Bill of Rights: This legislation outlines 11 rights of children in foster care. The bill is scheduled to be heard on July 9th on the Senate floor.
HB 695 Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act: This legislation restricts abortion care under health plans from the federal health exchanges, requires clinics to go through a licensing process similar to out patient surgery clinics, allows health care providers to opt out of providing abortion care, amends the Women’s Right to Know Act (invasive ultrasound before an abortion), and prevents selective sex abortions. This legislation was pushed through late Tuesday night and heard immediately on the floor Wednesday morning. The bill passed the Senate and will be sent to the House. It is unclear if Governor McCrory supports such a bill. During his campaign, he pledged not to sign abortion related legislation.
HB 998 Tax Reduction Act: This legislation is the most recent addition to tax reform plans. The Senate came closer in line to the House’s proposal but still does not please the House or Governor. The bill maintains the personal income tax level at 5.75% and directs the Revenue Laws Study Committee to study various tax policy issues. The bill passed the Senate and will be sent to the House. To see a side by side comparison of the three most recent proposals, click here. There is still uncertainty when a tax plan will be approved.