NCHBA Legislative Team Works On Finalizing Bills On Pro-Active Agenda
Your NCHBA legislative team worked with legislative sponsors to finalize additional bills on its pro-active agenda for introduction. Expect legislation to be introduced on several topics in the next couple of weeks including land use regulatory changes, performance guarantee refinements and our annual building code regulatory reform bill, among others.
Representative Ken Goodman is one step closer to confirmation to the North Carolina Industrial Commission after unanimously clearing a House floor vote on Wednesday. His nomination now joins that of Jim Gillen for consideration by the Senate. Goodman, a fifth-term House member, was appointed by Governor Cooper to fill an employer slot on the Commission last month upon the recommendation of NCHBA and other business groups. NCHBA Executive Vice President Mike Carpenter spoke in favor of Goodman’s confirmation during Tuesday’s House Rules Committee meeting.
Legislative confirmation is a requirement for all appointments to the Industrial Commission, which administers our state’s workers’ compensation act. This requirement, first proposed by NCHBA, was a critical part of workers comp reform legislation enacted in 2011. Legislative confirmation allows us, and other parties, to play an important role in the Governor’s nomination of appointees to the commission. Two previous nominees by the Governor were not confirmed by the General Assembly last year after opposition by NCHBA and other business groups.
Representative Goodman is highly respected on both sides of the aisle and is well qualified for this position. His confirmation, as well as that of Jim Gillen whom NCHBA also supports, will help maintain the current balance on the commission. This balance is critical to continuing the positive direction of the commission since the enactment of the workers compensation reform legislation in 2011. This effort has produced record reductions in annual workers’ comp premiums for our members and other employers.
HB 131 Repeal Map Act was heard in the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday. The bill would repeal the authority of the Department of Transportation from freezing large corridors of privately held land because of possible future development of roadways. This act together with long delays by the Department of Transportation in the acquisition of property has left landowners in limbo. However, recent court rulings have determined that this action constitutes a government taking. The bill heard in Tuesday’s House Transportation meeting was for discussion only and no action was taken.
The Senate’s deadline for local bill introduction passed on Thursday. One bill of note was introduced which would have a negative impact on builders within the town of Davidson. SB 259 Davidson/Preserve Heritage Trees would grant the town the authority to adopt an ordinance that would prohibit the removal of heritage trees, defined as a native tree with a diameter greater than 30 inches at breast height, from a property being developed for single family or duplex housing.
Local government tree ordinances across North Carolina have proven to be restrictive and burdensome in many instances. While some local governments have obtained authority to adopt tree protection ordinances by local act, others have enacted tree ordinances without such authority. In general, some tree ordinances are far too restrictive and have a major adverse financial impact on housing. Look for more on this topic in future weeks.
NCHBA Senior Officers and staff will be hitting the road this week and coming to a town near you. The “Home Building First Tour” begins today, Monday, March 18th and concludes on Friday March 22nd with stops in each of NCHBA’s 10 regions across the state. Each of our NCHBA Regional Vice Presidents has chosen an excellent venue for their respective meeting. Click here to find the meeting near you.
At these meetings, attendees will hear highlights of the latest updates on building code changes from Director of Codes and Construction Robert Privott, a legislative update from Director of Government Affairs Tim Minton and a presentation from the staff and senior officers about ways you can be more connected with NCHBA. This event will save you time and money as you learn about all the positive developments happening in the home building industry.
Mike Carpenter and Steven Webb will be minding the store at the General Assembly ensuring that our ambitious legislative agenda moves forward.