Session Recap - June 29th
CHARLOTTE, NC – On June 29, the House and Senate adjourned the short legislative session of the General Assembly. Lawmakers left Raleigh without overriding Governor Roy Cooper’s vetoes on House Bill 131 and House Bill 1055. House Bill 131, Motions for Appropriate Relief, dealt with amending bond forfeitures statutes. House Bill 1055, Retirement Complexity Reduction Act of 2018.-AB, would limit supplemental retirement benefits for state employees. These bills stayed in the House Rules Committee after adjournment.
According to Republican Leadership, the legislature will reconvene on November 27, 2018, to take up legislation needed for constitutional amendments that are passed by voters. Assuming North Carolina voters pass these amendments to the State Constitution; lawmakers will meet to determine additional legislation necessary.
Here is an overview of the new laws passed in the short legislative session:
Heroin & Opioid Prevention & Enforcement Act (Senate Bill 616 / SL 2018-44): This Act gives law enforcement access to the Controlled Substance Reporting System, which tracks the identifying information of citizens who are prescribed opioids. It also strengthens the penalties for a first responder or home health worker who steals, dilutes, or substitutes a patient’s drugs. The Act allocates $10 million to increase the availability of community-based treatment and recovery services for substance use disorders, including medication-assisted treatment. Governor Roy Cooper signed this bill into law on June 22.
Rape Evidence Collection Kit Tracking Act (House Bill 945 / SL 2018-70): After a statewide audit found 15,160 untested rape kits in North Carolina, this legislation passed to establish a tracking system of sexual assault evidence collection kits. It also reduces the amount of untested sexual assault evidence collection kits. It allows the purchase of sexual assault kits, rather than rape kits, to broaden the scope of victims assisted. Governor Cooper signed the bill into law on June 25.
Various Changes to Education Laws (House Bill 986 / SL 2018-32): This legislation allows low-income students to have better access to advanced math classes. Students who score a level five on end-of-year math tests would be required to be placed in advanced math courses the following year. The bill passed in response to a Charlotte Observer and News & Observer series, "Counted Out," which revealed that many bright, low-income kids were being excluded from advanced classes. It was signed by the Governor on June 22.
Permit Municipal Charter School/Certain Towns (House Bill 514 / SL 2018-3): This legislation allows the Mecklenburg County towns of Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville, and Cornelius to open charter schools granting priority to students that reside in these suburban areas, which are predominantly white. The creation of the bill arose from towns within Mecklenburg County who complained about the lack of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ facilities and resources. It became law on June 7.
“It has been an interesting short session. I worked hard this past session to resolve the concerns of my constituents and support legislation that would truly make a difference. Although I am disappointed to see legislation, such as House Bill 514, become law, I will continue to fight for the equality of our students and support measures that promote the future success of every citizen,” said Senator Joyce Waddell.