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Report on the 2018 Short Session

 

Bills

During the 2018 Legislative Short Session of the General Assembly that recessed at the end of June, I was either the or a Primary Sponsor on the following Bills that passed both the House and the Senate and are now law:

SB 566, Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington Deannexation-Annexation.
This allowed the City of Wilmington and the Town of Wrightsville Beach to exchange property near the old Galleria Mall. The existing ABC store that is presently located on the property in the City of Wilmington will be removed and that property developed by the owner. A new ABC Store will be built on the property that is now in Wrightsville Beach.

HB 15, Convey State Property to Wrightsville Beach and 
HB 1004, Wrightsville Beach Local Act Changes.
These 2 separate Bills will give the Town of Wrightsville Beach clear title to property located at the end of Salisbury Street adjacent to Johnnie Mercer's Pier and allow the Town to make ADA compliant improvements which will include removing the existing unenclosed gazebo; remodel the existing bathroom facilities for men and women and add changing rooms, outdoor showers and foot rinse facilities; installation of a passive recreation area that will include a sitting area with chairs, benches, swings, and a small play area for children; and adding boardwalks.

HB 945, Rape Evidence Collection Kit Tracking Act.
The State Crime Lab is current with the testing of Rape Kits that were in their possession. However, there are thousands of Rape Kits located at local law enforcement agencies throughout the State. Rules and guidelines shall be adopted for agencies required to participate in the Statewide Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Tracking System. Also, protocols shall be implemented, as well as rules and guidelines adopted, to ensure that previously untested sexual assault collection kits are trackable and entered into the System. Once there is clarification as to the number of Rape Kits that actually need to be tested, as well as any additional personnel or other items that will be necessary to do the testing, the Legislature can address the funding for this program. 

HB 969, Enhance Prison Security.
This Bill addresses the safety of employees working at the State prison system by addressing, among other things, malicious conduct by a prisoner. Our correction officers need to know that the Legislature recognizes the tough environment that they work in, appreciates the work that they do, and supports increased security for their safety.

HB 970, World War II Heritage Cities. This Resolution supports the efforts for the United States Congress to designate at least one American city each year as an "American World War II Heritage City" and to select Wilmington North Carolina as the first city to be so designated. This Bill hit very close to home with me because my father, who retired from the Army Reserves as a Colonel, fought under General George Patton in World War II. 

SB768/HB1021, People First Language 2018.
This Bill updated the General Statutes of North Carolina by changing the phrase "mental retardation" to intellectual disability" and "the mentally retarded" to "individuals with an intellectual disability", as well as making other such amendments, as recommended by the General Statutes Commission. 

The portion of SB 99, Appropriations Act of 2018 (Budget), entitled Modify Film Grant Fund. 
The guidelines were changed to allow smaller productions the opportunity to be eligible for funding and larger productions to get a bigger return on their local investment. I have continued to fight for the film industry ever since I went to the House in 2012, and hopefully this new legislation will increase the film activity in North Carolina.

HB 972, Water Safety Act.
The provisions of this legislation that provided funding to address the GenX issue were also included in SB99, and I will go into greater detail in a subsequent Newsletter.

I was appointed as a House Conferee to negotiate with the Senate concerning the following Bills:
SB 99 - Appropriations Act of 2018 (Budget)
HB 361 - Support Shellfish Industry
HB 717 - Judicial Elections Changes

I successfully lobbied to obtain funding for the following:
$7,500,000 for the new Fort Fisher Museum and Visitor Center.
$100,000 for roof repair at the Fort Fisher Aquarium.
$2,300,000 for the North Carolina Search and Rescue Program. 

In conclusion, I am very proud to represent House District 19 and to have the opportunity to work on behalf of my constituents.

 
 

Report on the 2017 Long Session

During the 2017 Long Session of the General Assembly, the Legislature completed the Budget for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 biennium, the governor vetoed it, and that veto was overridden by the Legislature. The Long Session subsequently recessed during the early morning hours of Friday, June 30.

Also during the Long Session, I was a Primary Sponsor on the following bills that passed both the House and the Senate and are now law:

HB189—Search & Rescue Name/Funds, was included in the Budget. This changed the name of the Urban State Search and Rescue Program, which was confusing to the Rural areas, to the State Search and Rescue Program. An appropriation for this Program will be addressed in the Budget.

HB228—Postpone Assume Name Revisions. This Bill requires the Secretary of State to work with local Registrar of Deeds offices in order to develop, implement and maintain a state-wide data base for anyone doing business under an assumed name by December 1, 2017.

HB229—General Statutes Commission Technical Corrections Bill. This Bill contains numerous technical corrections to various General Statutes as recommended by the General Statutes Commission, of which I am a member.

HB227—Preserve Tenancy by the Entirety, was included in HB229. This amends the statute governing statutory construction to define “Husband and Wife”, “Widow”, and “Widower” to make the language gender neutral.

HB243—Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention Act. This Bill is the first step of the Legislature implementing the appropriate law necessary to address the present crisis of opioid use and addiction in our State.

HB324—Pilot Project to Treat Opiate Overdose, was included in the Budget. This Bill provides the necessary funding for the City of Wilmington to develop and implement a pilot project to establish a Quick Response Team to address the needs of opiate and heroin overdose victims who are not getting follow-up treatment.

HB460—Economic & Job Growth for NC Distilleries, was included in companion SB155. This Bill allows a County or a City to adopt an ordinance allowing for the sale of malt beverages, wine, and mixed beverages beginning at 10:00 AM on Sunday persuant to the licensed premises’ permit. 

HB467—Agriculture and Forest Nuisance Remedies. This Bill limits the damage on private nuisance actions against agricultural and forestry operations. It is important to note that the Bill does not limit any damages for negligence, trespass, personal injury or strict liability. The Bill also does not limit any request for injunctive relief or punitive damages.

Furthermore, I was a Primary Sponsor on 8 different bills that passed the House and are pending in the Senate. Hopefully, those bills will be heard in the Senate during the 2018 Short Session.

In addition, I was a Primary Sponsor on other bills that are pending in the House that hopefully will be heard during the 2018 Short Session. I will give a report on the progress of my pending bills after the 2018 Short Session.

Separate and apart from the above, I was very proud to be a part of the following Budget appropriations involving District 19:

Pilot Project to Treat Opiate Overdose

On behalf of the City of Wilmington, I introduced HB324 and persistently lobbied for the necessary funding for the City to develop and impliment a pilot project to establish a Quick Response Team to address victims of opiate and heroin overdose. The Budget included $250,000 during the 2017-18 fiscal year and $250,000 during the 2018-2019 fiscal years for this purpose.

Fort Fisher

On behalf of Fort Fisher, I asked and persistently lobbied for the Budget to include an appropriation of $5,000,000 for the construction of a new Visitor Center, parking lot and Maintenance Facility. With the support and assistance of Speaker Tim Moore and others, this amount was included in the Budget.

Film

The proposed Budget from the Senate included $15,000,000 in recurring funds for the Film and Entertainment Grant fund beginning in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. I explained to Speaker Moore that in order for film to resume as a viable business in North Carolina, the State had to (1) have a Grant Fund that offered a sufficient amount far in excess of $15,000,000 per year and (2) that this amount be allocated in the Budget on a recurring basis. I also persistently lobbied the Speaker to at least maintain the present $30,000,000 appropriation, and in addition, an increased amount to show that this State valued and wanted the film business here. At the end of the Budget negotiations, the decision on the amount of funding came down to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and the Speaker. Speaker Moore successfully negotiated for $31,000,000 recurring funds to be included in the Budget beginning in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. 
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In conclusion, I appreciate the opportunity given to me by my true constituents in District 19 to represent them in the General Assembly.

Report on the 2016 Legislative Session

My personal highlight came on June 16 when I again was allowed the honor and opportunity to serve as the speaker of the House during the Session that day.


During the Session, I was involved in the following legislation:

HB38—Judicial Efficiency/Effective Administration of Justice
(Davis, Lead Primary Sponsor)
I introduced this Bill, which had separate sections, during the 2015 Session.  It passed the House and was referred to the Senate.  No further action was taken during that Session.  I continued to work with the Mediation Network of North Carolina, the District Attorney Association and the Administrative Office of the Courts to come up with agreeable language to the Sections that dealt with criminal mediation in District Court.  During the 2016 Session, I included this language in a Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) to Senate Bill 508.  The Senate concurred with the PCS for this Bill and it was sent to the Governor for his signature.

HB171—Modify Film Grant Fund
(Davis, Lead Primary Sponsor)
During the 2015 Session, I filed this bill and was able to successfully lobby through the budget process $30 million for the Film Grant in the budget for the 2015-2017 fiscal years. The funds were used in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.  When the Budget negotiations were taking place between the House and Senate during the 2016 Session, I made sure that the $30 million appropriation for the 2016-2017 fiscal years remained intact. 

HB436—Unauthorized Practice of Law Changes
(Davis, A Primary Sponsor)
This Bill was introduced during the 2015 Session, passed the House, passed the Senate with additional language, was returned to the House, and no further action was taken.  During the 2016 Session, the House and the Senate came to an agreement, the Bill passed both Chambers, and it was signed by the Governor.

HB834/SB575—NC/SC Original Border Confirmation
(Davis, The Primary Sponsor)
During the 2015 Session, I introduced HB834 and companion SB575 (same language) was introduced by Tommy Tucker in the Senate.  We had both been previously appointed by the Governor to the North Carolina/South Carolina Boundary Commission.  SB575 was amended in a PCS to include additional negotiated language, passed the Senate, came to the House, and I did not proceed any further on HB834.  I presented SB575 to the House Committees and on the House floor.  The Bill passed the House, passed the Senate, and was signed by the Governor.

HB976—Enhance Oversight of Service Contracts/PED
(Davis, A Primary Sponsor)
During the interim between the 2015 and 2016 Session, I attended Program Evaluation Division (PED) Committee meetings where we heard presentations about and discussed State Service contract.  As a result of that PED study, HB976 was introduced during the 2016 Session.  The Bill passed the House, was sent to the Senate, and no further action was taken.  Hopefully, this legislation can be addressed again during the 2017 Session.

HB1023—Municipal Service Districts/Statutory Changes
(Davis, The Primary Sponsor)
During the interim between the 2015 and 2016 Session, I attended Legislative Research Commission (LRC) meetings and chaired a Committee on Municipal Service Districts where we heard presentations about and discussed how the present legislation concerning these Districts might be improved.  As a result of that LRC study, I introduced HB1023 during the 2016 Session.  This bill passed the House, passed the Senate, and was signed by the Governor.

HB1043—Zip Line and Challenge Course Safety/Sander’s Law
(Davis, Lead Primary Sponsor)
During the 2015 Session, I introduced HB39 (that passed both Chambers and was signed by the Governor) which directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to study the regulation of the operation of zip lines.  This was done during the interim between the 2015 and 2016 Sessions.  When the report was completed, I met with the DOL and the decision was made that I would pursue stand-alone legislation for the regulation of zip lines by the DOL rather than pursuant to existing Amusement Device legislation.
With the assistance of the DOL, I introduced HB1043.  The Bill was heard in the House Judiciary 3 Committee and received a favorable report.  Since the 2016 Session was coming to an end, I did not proceed any further.  I will address this Bill again in the 2017 Session.

HB1082—Eliminate Use of Development Tiers
(Davis, Lead Primary Sponsor)
During the interim between the 2015 and 2016 Session, I attended Program Evaluation Division (PED) Committee meetings and Joint Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight (EDGE) Committee meetings, wherein we discussed what legislation could be introduced that would adequately address how the State presently addresses economically distressed areas.  I chaired a PED Subcommittee that studied this issue in detail and recommended proposed legislation to the full PED Committee, which was approved.  During the same time, I was discussing this issue in the EDGE Committee and informing that Committee of what PED was doing. The EDGE Committee approved proposed legislation that took a different approach than the PED recommendation.  During the 2016 Session, I introduced HB1082 containing the language that had been previously approved by the PED Committee.  HB1029—Economic Development Changes & Study was also introduced containing the language that had been previously approved by the EDGE Committee.  Both of these Bills were referred to the Rules Committee so that all of the involved parties could meet in order to develop legislation that would contain language that was agreeable to everyone.  This was not accomplished because time ran out this Session.  Both Bills will be addressed again in the 2017 Session.

HB1083—Wilmington/Ordinance Initiative & Referendum
(Davis, Lead Primary Sponsor)
At the request of the City of Wilmington, I introduced local HB1083 to clarify the submission of a Petition for proposed Ordinances to the City Council.  This Bill, which did not require the signature of the Governor, passed both the House and the Senate and was enacted.

Occupancy Tax Sub-Committee
As Chairman of the Sub-Committee of the Finance Committee, I worked with various legislators to being their respective Bills into compliance with the House Occupancy Tax Guidelines so they could successfully move forward.  Being in compliance is extremely important in preserving the integrity of the Guidelines.

House Conferee for the following:
1.       HB436—Unauthorized Practice of Law Changes
2.      HB1039—Omnibus Occupancy Tax Changes

2016-2017 State Budget Appropriations

With the assistance of Speaker Tim Moore, I was able to successfully lobby for a $1 million grant from the House of Representatives to the New Hanover County Board of Education to help with the planning and design phase for a Career-Technical Education (CTE) high school to be located on the north campus of Cape Fear Community College.

With the help of the various House Appropriations Chairs, Speaker Tim Moore and members of his staff, I was able to successfully lobby for $400,000 for advanced planning for a new Fort Fisher Visitor Center/Museum, which is an immediate outgrowth of the Friends of Fort Fisher Master Plan Initiative and sets them on a pathway to seeing a new 20,000 square foot facility in the foreseeable future. 


In conclusion, as the 2015-2016 biennium Legislative Sessions are over, I would like to thank the voters of House District 19 for giving me the honor and privilege of representing you in Raleigh.  I know that I cannot make everyone happy, but I do try very hard to listen to those that I represent and do what I truly believe is in the best interest of everyone who lives in our District. 

 

Report on the 2015 Legislative Session

My personal highlight came on September 16 when I was allowed the honor and opportunity to serve as the Speaker of the House during the Session that day.

 

During the Session, I was involved in the following bills:

HB3—Eminent Domain

(Davis, A Co-Sponsor)

This legislation would provide that condemnation of private property would be prohibited except for public use. It passed the House and was referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. Hopefully, this bill will be addressed in the 2016 Session.

HB38—Judicial Efficiency/Effect. Admin of Justice

(Davis, Lead Primary Sponsor)

The seven sections of this bill were introduced as individual bills in the 2014 Session, each passed the House, each were referred to a Judicial Committee of the Senate, and each remained in their respective committee. I introduced all seven of these bills as HB38 during the 2015 Session. This bill passed the House and was referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. This bill should be heard in the 2016 Legislative Session.

HB39—Labor/Up Amusement Device Penalties

(Davis, Lead Primary Sponsor)

Section 1 of this bill increases the penalties for the illegal operation of amusement devices. Section 2 of this bill directs the Department of Labor to study the regulation of the operation of zip-lines. This bill passed both the House and the Senate with unanimous support. It was signed into law by the Governor on July 16, 2015.

HB79—Contempt for 50C/Scope of Stay for Appeals

(Davis, A Primary Sponsor)

This bill clarifies that a knowing violation of a Chapter 50C no- contact order is punishable by either civil or criminal contempt. It passed both the House and the Senate. It was signed into law by the Governor on May, 21, 2015.

HB102—Utility Vehicles/Move-Over Changes

(Davis, Primary Sponsor)

Section 1 of this bill authorizes law enforcement officers, emergency personnel, and municipal and county employees to operate utility vehicles on certain public highways. Section 2 of this bill modifies the move-over law to include vehicles being used in the collection of refuse, solid waste, or recycling. It passed both the House and the Senate. It was signed by Governor on May 21, 2015.

HB103—Joint Session/State of the Judiciary

(Davis, A Primary Sponsor)

This bill was identical to Senate bill 109, which invited the Honorable Mark Martin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, to address a Joint Session of the House and the Senate. Chief Justice Martin made this presentation in the House Chambers on March 4, 2015.

HB134—Soliciting Prostitution/Immunity for Minors

(Davis, A Primary Sponsor)

This bill provided that a minor who is soliciting as a prostitute is immune from prosecution for the offense of solicitation of prostitution. It passed both the House and the Senate. It was signed by the Governor on August 5, 2015.

HB151—Property Insurance Rate-Making Reform

(Davis, A Co-Sponsor)

This bill increases the fairness and equity of the property insurance rate-making process by providing for greater transparency regarding the role of catastrophe modeling in property insurance rate filings. It passed the House and was referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. Hopefully, it will be addressed in the 2016 Session

HB152—New Historic Preservation Tax Credit

(Davis, A Co-Sponsor)

This bill modified the historic rehabilitation tax credits investment program. It passed the House and was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means of the Senate. The language of this bill was included in the State Budget, which passed both the House and the Senate and was signed by the Governor.

HB156—Legal Notices/Require Internet Publication

(Davis, A Primary Sponsor)

This bill would require a newspaper’s website publication, at no additional charge, on the same day that the notice appears in that newspaper. This bill passed the House and went to Committee on Finance of the Senate. Hopefully, this bill will be addressed in the Short Session.

HB158—Jim Fulghum Teen Skin Cancer Prevention Act

(Davis, A Co-Sponsor)

This bill prohibited persons under 18 years of age from using tanning equipment. It passed the House and the Senate and was signed by the Governor May 21, 2015.

HB162—Sudden Cardiac Arrest Education/Students

(Davis, A Co-Sponsor)

This bill requires the State Board of Education and local boards of education to educate those involved in school athletic activities on sudden cardiac arrest and modified the statutory provisions on concussion safety and emergency action plans. It passed the House and is in the Committee on Education/Higher Education of the Senate.

HB171—Modify Film Grant Fund

(Davis, Lead Primary Sponsor)

This bill modified the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund and requested funding. It was referred to the House Committee on Finance. Rather than proceeding any further, it was addressed in the Budget. A grant in the amount of $30,000,000 was established for each year of the next biennium, for a total of $60,000,000.

HB303—Dispute Resolution Amendments

(Davis, A Primary Sponsor)

This bill amended the law regarding mediated settlement conferences in Superior Court, mediation in District Court domestic cases, and the regulation of mediators. It passed the House and was referred to the Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget of the Senate. This bill did not proceed any further and hopefully, will be heard during the 2016 Session.

HB308—Clarify Reasonable Health Insur/LTC Ombudsman

(Davis, A Primary Sponsor)

This bill amended the laws pertaining to the medical support and health insurance coverage relating to child support and modified the long-term care ombudsman program to conform with Federal guidelines. It pass the House and the Senate and was signed by the Governor August 18, 2015.

HB403—Pole Attachment Compensation

(Davis, A Co-Sponsor)

This bill modified the State’s regulation of pole attachments and provided guidance in resolving disputes regarding compensation for pole attachments. It was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary I. It did not proceed any further. Hopefully, this bill will be heard in the 2016 Session.

HB436—Unauthorized Practice of Law Changes

(Davis, A Primary Sponsor)

This bill further defined the term “practice law” for the purpose members of the public from serious harm resulting for an unauthorized practice of law by a person who is not a trained and licensed attorney. It passed the House. It passed the Senate with additional language. When the amended bill returned to the House for consideration, it was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary I and did not proceed any further. Hopefully, this bill will be heard in the 2016 Session.

HB487—Community Paramedicine Pilot Project/Funds

(Davis, A Co-Sponsor)

This bill would reduce health care expenditures for emergency services and hospital stays by establishing a community paramedcine pilot project. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Health and did not proceed any further. Hopefully, this bill will be heard in the 2016 Session.

HB665—Honor State’s Veterans

(Davis, A Co-Sponsor)

This House resolution honored the State’s veterans by expressing its appreciation for their service to our State and Nation. It was unanimously passed on April 15, 2015.

HB708—Preservation of Historic/Heritage Trees

(Davis, A Co-Sponsor)

This bill directs State Departments, Boards, Commissions, and Agencies to give consideration to a tree designated as historic or heritage by a City or County prior to taking any action that may harm the tree. It passed the House and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means of the Senate. Hopefully, it will be addressed in the 2016 Session.

HB780—Study/Economic Impact of Jones Act on NC

(Davis,A Co-Sponsor)

This bill directed the Legislative Research Commission to study the economic impact of the Jones Act (requiring all domestic coast-wide trade in the United States be carried on vessels built and flagged in the Country) on North Carolina. It passed the House and was referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.

HB834—NC/SC Original Border Conformation

(Davis, Primary Sponsor)

As a Governor’s appointee to the North Carolina/South Carolina Boundary Commission, this bill would make legislative changes to facilitate the work of the Boundary Commission in confirming and re-establishing the original boundary existing between the states of North and South Carolina. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Rule’s. Since the South Carolina Legislature is still negotiating with the North Carolina Legislature concerning the specific language in this bill, it did not proceed any further. When negotiations have been finalized, I will make any necessary changes to this bill and proceed accordingly.

House Conferee for the following:

1. HB117—NC Competes Act

2. SB378—Increase Punishment/Misd. Death by Vehicle

3. HB531—Omnibus Occupancy Tax

Sales Tax Distribution

This proposed Senate legislation would have changed the formula as to the amount of sales tax that would have been kept locally. This would have been financially devastating to the governments of New Hanover County, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. I strongly opposed any such change. Budget negotiations between the House and the Senate resulted in the elimination of the proposed distribution and left the present distribution intact.

Removal of “The Rocks’’

This proposed Senate legislation would have removed the Southern Component of the New Inlet Dam near Zeke’s Island. I resisted such a removal without a proper study having been conducted to determine any negative impact to this environmentally rich and sensitive area. Budget negotiations between the House and the Senate resulted in a study to be conducted that will analyze the costs and benefits of removal of that Southern Component.

Occupancy Tax Sub-Committee

As Chairman of this Sub-Committee, I worked with six different legislators to bring their respective bills into compliance with the House Occupancy Tax Guidelines so they could receive a favorable report and move forward. Being in compliance is extremely important in preserving the integrity of the Guidelines.

SB 519--Amend Child Custody Laws

This bill enacted a new G.S,.50-13.1 declaring the legislative policy relating to child custody and required the court in a child custody proceeding to consider certain factors and make specific findings of fact relating to those factors. While I was not a sponsor of this bill, I worked with the bill sponsor in drafting the final language that passed both the House and the Senate and was sent to the Governor for his signature on September 30, 2015

SB374—Repeal the Requirement That a Holder of a For-Hire Coastal Recreational Fishing License Maintain a Log Book Summarizing Catch and Effort Statistical Data and to Forbid the Department of Environment and Natural Resources from Entering into a Joint Enforcement Agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

While I was not a sponsor of this bill, I worked with the bill sponsor to change the original language to the language contained in bill title above. This bill passed both the House and the Senate and was signed by the Governor on 8/5/15.

 

From the 2014 Short Session:

 

 

 

 

From the 2013 Long Session:

 

 



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