Last week, lawmakers considered and passed those statewide bills which were calendared for action and sent them to the Governor. While the General Assembly is in session, the Governor has ten (10) days to sign a bill having statewide application, veto that bill or let the bill become law without his signature. This week, lawmakers turned their attention to local bills and constitutional amendments which, if passed, do not require any action by the Governor to become law.
This time period also allows the General Assembly the opportunity to calendar for override any bills which the Governor might veto. For example, both chambers overrode the Governor’s veto on two bills on Tuesday and Wednesday largely on partisan votes. The first dealt with revising judicial districts in Mecklenburg and Wake counties and the second made several changes in the elections law.
We are pleased to announce that Governor Cooper today signed into law two of our key session priority bills, HB 948 (Building Code Regulatory Reform) and HB 826 (Clarify System Development Fees). Earlier this week, Executive Vice President Mike Carpenter communicated with the Governor’s staff to explain the provisions of both bills and to solicit the Governor’s approval. See this link for HB 948 and this link for HB 826 for a discussion of the key provisions of both of the new laws.
Much of the week was spent tying up loose ends and your legislative staff spent a considerable amount of time resolving an important issue. During the 2017 session, in response to a court decision which struck down the authority of local governments to impose water and wastewater capacity fees by local governments under their public enterprise authority, NCHBA helped craft a new approach to such fees in an effort to provide fairness and uniformity while assuring the availability of these services for future development. The new law requires all local governments and water and sewer authorities who wish to impose a fee for future capacity to follow the strict parameters of the law in order to calculate and impose new fees. For example, a comprehensive study must be undertaken pursuant to the requirements of the act as a basis to calculate the fee. As local jurisdictions implement this process, some logistical issues have arisen.
One such problem was addressed this week when some confusion arose as to when a fee can be charged. The act allows the fee to be charged either when the service is allocated or when a plat is recorded. This question involved when water is actually allocated for a project. A local water and sewer system claimed that the law allowed it to retroactively impose a capacity fee on an existing development where the infrastructure was already in place prior to the passage of the law and the local government’s calculation fee study. Your legislative team spent several days and numerous hours working with various stakeholders to create a positive resolution to this issue when the county agreed that the fee would not apply.
NCHBA joined other business groups in strongly supporting SB 758 (Build NC Bond of 2018) which the Governor signed into law on Wednesday. This act provides up to $3 billion dollars in bonds for road and related infrastructure improvements. The bonds will be repaid with dedicated revenue and will not require a vote of the people. Access to good roads are a critical component to the success of our industry.
The stated target of the legislative leadership is to adjourn the session sine die by next Friday. To that end, several constitutional amendments are moving their way toward enactment. Among those expected to be approved and to be placed on the November ballot for voter consideration are the following: photo ID to vote; capping the NC personal income tax rate at 5.5% (currently the cap is 10%); protect the right to hunt and fish; and changes in the way judges are appointed.
Next week will be filled with long hours as legislators close the session and your legislative team will be there to make sure that nothing arises at the last minute which poses any threat to our industry. Your lobbyist team will carefully watch all the legislation until the final gavel falls.
Bills On The Move
SB 677 (Constitutional Amendment–Protect the Right to Hunt and Fish): Passed the Senate, Passed House Rules*
SB 75 (Constitutional Amendment–Max Income Tax Rate of % 5.5): Passed House Finance*
HB 1092 (Constitutional Amendment- Require Photo ID to Vote): Passed House Rules*
SB 758 (Build NC Bond of 2018): Signed into Law
Legislator Of The Week
Senator Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth, Yadkin)
Senator Krawiec is a stalwart supporter of the home building industry. As someone who develops commercial property herself, Joyce understands and appreciates the many challenges that must be overcome to bring new development forward successfully. Her expertise and experience is greatly respected by her peers. The North Carolina Home Builders Association thanks Senator Krawiec for all of her work to keep housing affordable in NC.