NCHBA Members Travel To Raleigh To Educate Lawmakers On Legislative Priorities
NCHBA members gathered in Raleigh on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week to meet with and educate their lawmakers about the importance of our industry and to brief them on key legislative session priorities.
The annual activities began on Tuesday during our 2nd Quarter meetings. There, members from across the state received a briefing on bills which the NCHBA’s legislative team is currently pursuing. On Tuesday evening, members of the House and Senate and statewide elected officials (e.g.., NC’s Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, State Treasurer Dale Folwell and several judges from the NC Court of Appeals) joined our members for a reception at the North Carolina Museum of History.
A number of Legislators commented that our annual reception is the best one they attend. They especially appreciate the fact that so many NCHBA members took the time to come to Raleigh to meet with them and to discuss our key issues.
The events culminated on Wednesday morning with members holding successful meetings with their legislators in their offices to advocate for NCHBA’s ambitious legislative agenda. NCHBA members worked hard to educate House and Senate members on the following bills:
- SB 55 (Continuing Education for General Contractors)
- SB 355 (Land Use Regulatory Changes)
- SB 313 (Performance Guarantee to Streamline Affordable Housing)
- HB 492 (Simplify Builder Inventory Exclusion)
- HB 675 (Building Code Regulatory Reform of 2019)
- HB 873 (System Development Fee/Clarify Time of Charge)
Also last week, the Senate approved tax reduction legislation on Monday evening. As mentioned in a previous report, SB 622 (Tax Reduction Act of 2019) would reduce taxes on personal income and reform the state’s non-business friendly franchise tax. The bill would increase the standard deduction for personal income tax filers and reduce the rate of the franchise tax which is of particular interest to S and C corporation filers, including many of our NCHBA members.
Currently, the franchise tax is calculated at $1.50 per $1,000 of net worth. The bill would reduce that to $1.30 per $1,000 in the 2019 tax year and $1.00 per $1,000 in 2020. The tax bill preserves an important 2017 NCHBA amendment which restored the ability of our members to deduct their real estate indebtedness when calculating the net worth of their business for franchise tax purposes. The bill will now head to the House for consideration.
On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources Committee approved SB 553 (Regulatory Relief Act of 2019) sponsored by Senators Andy Wells (R-Catawba) and Norm Sanderson (R-Pamlico). The bill includes a wide range of ongoing deregulation measures designed to improve the business environment in North Carolina. Regulatory relief has been an annual priority for members of the General Assembly since 2011. In the same vein, NCHBA has successfully enacted four prior building code regulatory reform bills and is running another this year.
SB 553 contains a provision that would amend the North Carolina Plumbing Code to eliminate the requirement that drinking fountains be required in all commercial buildings, with a maximum occupancy under 30. Another provision would require would require the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to study and report on additional positions and funding needed as well as any changes in State laws or regulations necessary to expand existing express permitting programs including for stormwater and soil and erosion permits.
Once the Senate passes this bill, it will be sent to the House where they will introduce additional provisions.
Also on Thursday, one of our top legislative priorities, SB 55 (Continuing Education for General Contractors), was referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee. The bill requires at least one qualifier of a building, residential or unclassified licensee to obtain 8 hours of instruction annually as a requirement for license renewal. Starting in 2021, all 8 hours can be satisfied by taking approved courses “on-line.” SB 55 has wide support in the House, as 87 of the 120 members are signed on as primary or co-sponsors of the House companion bill (HB 162). It is one of the first Senate bills to be referred since crossover.
Executive Vice President Mike Carpenter has reached out to the Chairs of the House Regulatory Reform Committee with a request to have the bill heard possibly as early as this week. One of that committee’s chairmen is Representative Mark Brody (R-Union) who, along with Representatives Larry Potts (R-Davidson), Julia Howard (R-Davie) and Ashton Clemmons (D-Guilford), are primary sponsors of the House companion bill.
This week NCHBA is pleased to name Senator Don Davis (D-Pitt, Greene) as our “NCHBA Legislator of the Week.” In his fifth term, Senator Davis has proven to be a solid friend and supporter of the home building industry. This session, he is a primary sponsor on several of NCHBA’s legislative priorities, including SB 55 (Continuing Education for General Contractors). Senator Davis has an excellent grasp of the issues facing our industry having spent four years as a member of the North Carolina Building Code Council before being elected to the Senate. NCHBA thanks Senator Davis for his longtime support of home building!
Legislator of the Week
Senator Don Davis (D-Greene, Pitt)
Senator Don Davis is a solid friend and supporter of NCHBA, and he understands the issues facing North Carolina’s home building industry. Senator Davis spent four years as a member of the North Carolina Building Code Council before being elected to the Senate. Currently in his fifth term, Senator Davis is a primary sponsor of several of our legislative priorities, including SB 55 (Continuing Education for General Contractors). We thank Senator Davis for his leadership in helping NCHBA keep the dream of home ownership attainable for North Carolina families.