NCACC Weekly Update — June 3, 2022
The General Assembly continued taking up significant, and at times controversial, policy items this week. In addition to continued debate and approval in the Senate of legislation on Medicaid expansion (House Bill 149 Expanding Access to Healthcare), the Senate also passed House Bill 755 Parents' Bill of Rights, which was sent to the House for consideration. The Senate also gave final approval to a bill providing for limited uses of medical marijuana (Senate Bill 711 NC Compassionate Care Act) while the House Education Committee held a hearing on school safety in the aftermath of last week's mass shooting at a school in Texas.
In addition to high profile policy matters, the General Assembly also considered a number of pieces of legislation impacting counties, including consideration of a bill allowing the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to declare a company responsible for polluting drinking water with certain pollutants and require it to pay for the necessary treatment to ensure safe drinking water. The bill, House Bill 1095 PFAS Pollution and Polluter Liability, provides for retroactive relief to public water systems and counties that have incurred costs by the public water system to remove, correct, or abate any adverse effects upon the water supply resulting from contamination. The bill was in committee for discussion only but could be approved by the House as early as next week.
Other legislation impacting counties that was considered at the General Assembly this week can be seen below.
Other Bills of Note
Senate Bill 762 North Carolina Farm Act of 2022 - The legislation includes two provisions of particular interest and varying impact on counties. Section 5. (a.) makes changes to tax collection statutes in an effort to ensure that, in the event property with a conservation easement attached is foreclosed on, the easement conveys with the property. The Senate approved the bill this week and it now heads to the House for further consideration.
House Bill 144 Medicaid Children and Families Specialty Plan -Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for an additional managed care Medicaid plan (a Children and Families specialty plan, or CAF) for children and families in the foster care system that are receiving adoption assistance, or individuals under 26 formerly in the foster care system and are excluded from managed care plans. Only Prepaid Health Plans (PHPs) or LME/MCO's that are currently operating behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disability (BH IDD) tailored plans that are currently under contract with DHHS to operate a standard benefit plan or a BH IDD tailored plan would be eligible to respond to the RFP.
The CAF would cover the same services as current BH IDD plans with some exceptions, and all of the individuals listed above, as well as their children would be automatically enrolled. Services would begin December 1, 2023. NCACC will continue conversations with all stakeholders as this legislation progresses in order to find the best solution for counties.
The legislation passed the Senate Health Committee and has been referred to the Rules Committee.
House Bill 219 Amend Environmental Laws - Among other things, provides that entities receiving directed infrastructure grants for water and sewer projects, as well as stormwater infrastructure projects in Section 12.13(d), 12.13(e), 12.13(f), and 12.14(b) of the 2021-2023 state budget must provide a complete request for funding to the Department of Environmental Quality for an eligible project no later than June 30, 2023, or those allocated funds will revert on July 1, 2023. The bill also aligns Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) public notice requirements for land-use plan hearings with existing local government notice requirements and allows a local government to post the proposed plan/amendment at a designated county or local government office, instead of in the county courthouse. The bill passed various Senate committees this week and will likely be on the Senate floor for consideration early next week.
House Bill 370 Veterans Employment Act - Among other things, authorizes cities and counties to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with military installations. The Senate approved the bill this week and it now heads to the House for a concurrence vote.
House Bill 911 Regulatory Reform Act 2.0 - Among other things, broadens the exclusion from public records disclosure for detailed plans and drawings of public buildings and infrastructure facilities to also include detailed plans and drawings contained in information storage systems or geographic information system (GIS) databases. Furthermore, it would exclude from disclosure as a public record the specific engineering, vulnerability, or detailed design information about proposed or existing critical infrastructure (both physical and virtual) for energy utilities. The Senate approved the bill this week, however the House did not concur with Senate changes. The legislation will now head to a conference committee to work out a final version of the bill for passage in each chamber.
House Bill 1056 Ret. & Treasury Admin. Changes Act of 2022 - Makes various administrative changes to public retirement systems including the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System (LGERS). The House approved the bill this week and it now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
House BIll 1058 Ret. & Treasury Teach. Corrections Act of 2022 - Makes various technical and clarifying changes to Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System (LGERS) and other retirement systems. The House approved the bill this week and it now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
Senate Bill 372 Electrical Lic./Bldg. Code/Dev. Reform 2022 - Makes changes to various electrical licensing, wastewater, building code, and development laws. The bill passed the House Local Government - Land Use, Planning and Development Committee this week and will likely see action on the House floor next week.
Senate Bill 769 GSC Postponement/Judicial & Execution Sales - Allows judicial sales and execution sales to be postponed up to 90 days. Current law provides for postponement of these sales for up to 6 days and the bill aligns the postponement authority for judicial and execution sales with that of sales under a contractual power of sale clause. The bill was approved in various Senate committees this week and will likely be on the Senate floor for approval early next week.
The state's current system prioritizes years of service and credentialing for teachers in determining pay. Top education leaders say a new proposal would revamp that structure, putting more emphasis on performance and provide clear pathways for advancement.
This week, Gov. Roy Cooper and nine other Southern Democrat governors, present and past, signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief in support of UNC Chapel Hill and Harvard in a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding their “race-conscious admissions” policies.