Long Session Adjourns At Last

General Assembly adjourns, at last

The House adjourned in the wee hours of September 30. I received the most constituent emails about these four bills taken up during the few weeks between the budget vote and adjournment:

Economic incentives/sales taxes

HB 117, NC Competes Act, had seven parts. Two were specific to economic incentives; the others were about taxes.

Economic incentives: Increases the amounts committed to Job Development Investment Grants (JDIG); adds a financial commitment for high yield JDIG projects; and modifies local match requirements for the One NC program.

Sales taxes: Provides a sales tax exemption for qualifying datacenters; exempts from sales tax fuel sold to interstate air business for use in a commercial aircraft; taxes remaining sales of aviation gasoline and jet fuel at 7% and earmarks the revenue from the tax to the Division of Aviation, NCDOT. Exempts motor vehicle service contracts from sales tax; extends sales tax preference for motorsports parts and fuel; and enhances reporting requirements for tax compliance and tax fraud prevention. I voted for this bill.

Medicaid reform

House and Senate visions of Medicaid reform were dramatically different. The final conference bill, HB 372 Medicaid Transformation and Transformation, was a hybrid. Medicaid reimbursement will change from fee for service to capitation with a focus on health outcomes instead of the number of services provided.  A new Division of Health Benefits will be established and the Director will need legislative approval. For-profit managed care companies (MCOs) and provider-led entities (PLEs) will be allowed to operate in the state. I voted against this bill because of the failure of Medicaid MCOs in other states.  I fear that Medicaid MCOs in North Carolina will be ultimately harmful to patients and health care providers.

Environmental regulations

HB 765, Regulatory Reform Act of 2015, is a lengthy bill that, among other things, reduces air quality monitors; gives immunity from penalty to companies that self-report environmental violations; expands a program allowing those who have polluted soil and groundwater from cleaning up contamination if they impose land use restrictions; relaxes requirements for controlling stormwater pollution from resort development; and allows destruction of intermittent streams. I voted against this bill.

Infrastructure investments

HB 943, Connect NC Bond Act of 2015 puts a 2 billion dollar General Obligation Bond referendum on the November 2016 statewide ballot. The money will be used for capital improvements across the UNC system and the community college system; improves parks and public facilities; funds clean water and sewer systems; and updates National Guard facilities. Debt service will be paid from cash reserves, requiring no tax increase. I voted for this bill.

We’ll be back

The next legislative session will convene April 25, 2016. During the interim, my LA Suzanne will be in the office on a part time basis until we return. She will handle constituent calls and I will continue to check my legislative inbox regularly. I have appreciated and benefitted from your calls, emails, visits and letters since I took office in January. Please stay in touch and share your ideas and concerns.