HB 2 Repeal and More

HB 2 repeal

The March 30 vote on HB 142 (Reset S.L. 2016-3) was one of the most gut-wrenching votes I have taken since being elected to the House.  After hours of caucus deliberation, introspection, and after talking with and listening to many people including the Governor, I voted for the bill which passed the House 70 to 48 after passing the Senate 32-16.  I recognize that it is an imperfect compromise.  It was endorsed by Governor Cooper and he asked for and needed our support.   I respect his leadership and his refusal to give up negotiations until we found a way forward for our state.

I believe that all members voted their conscience.  I respect the struggle that each of us faced.

Repealing HB 2 means:

  • No more statewide law telling individuals which bathroom to use.
  • No more restriction on a person’s right to recover in state court when they are fired for their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, and religion.
  • No more restrictions on localities enacting local minimum wage ordinances and other economic issues.
  • No more restrictions on localities enacting family leave policies, child welfare protections, or other policies of this type.
  • No more statewide law banning local ordinances that existed prior to HB 2.
  • No more restriction on localities’ ability to contract on terms that include protections for all individuals.
  • Beginning the process of rebuilding North Carolina’s reputation and brand.
  • Bringing back the NCAA, ACC, NBA, and other sporting events.
  • Putting North Carolina back on the list for many businesses and job creators who refuse to consider us because of HB 2.

440 million reasons

Unclaimed funds from bank accounts, insurance policies, safe deposit boxes, etc. are escheated (turned over) to the State when citizen owners cannot be located. The current escheat fund balance is $440 million.  Check if you or a family member have unclaimed cash at  https://www.nctreasurer.com/Claim-Your-Cash/Claim-Your-NC_Cash/Pages/default.aspx. Escheated funds are used for need-based higher education scholarships.

Serve the State

Did you know that North Carolina has more than 400 Boards and Commissions with 1000+ seats available for citizens to give back by stepping up? The Office of the Governor consults with all interested parties, including Department Secretaries, Board members, elected officials and the general public when filling Governor’s appointments. Learn more about North Carolina’s Boards and Commissions, see which Boards and Commissions have openings and apply online at https://governor.nc.gov/application-boards-and-commissions

Visitors at the General Assembly

The legislature has visiting groups or educational displays in one or more of our four courtyards almost every day. This month one of the most colorful, engaging and touching displays was sponsored and staffed by the wonderful volunteers at Gigi’s Playhouse. Gigi’s Playhouse is the only nationwide network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers—changing lives through free, results-driven programs for individuals of all ages, families and communities. Raleigh’s Gigi’s Playhouse is located at 2887 Jones Franklin Road, Raleigh, NC  27606. Check out the group photo in this issue and find out more at www.gigisplayhouse.org/Raleigh.

New caucuses

I attended the first meeting of the Life Sciences Caucus on March 16. As a nurse practitioner who has practiced in this area for 30 years I knew that the RTP is home to dozens of these cutting edge companies but I did not know there are more than 42,000 Life Sciences jobs in our area or that North Carolina has the most Contract Research Organizations (CROs) in the world. I look forward to learning more about how we can support these businesses and seeing what they do first hand on some local field trips. The caucus is bipartisan, with members from the House and Senate.

Sen. Ford (D-Mecklenburg), Sen. Meredith (R-Cumberland, Rep. Setzer (R-Catawba) and I have agreed to co-chair the new Municipal Government Caucus, composed of more than 3 dozen legislators who served in City or Town government before their election to the General Assembly. I am grateful every day for the 7 years I served on the Cary Town Council. That experience is invaluable to my understanding that as the government closest to the people, local governments must have the authority necessary to meet the unique needs of their citizens. I thank the NC League of Municipalities and Liz Johnson, Morrisville Town Council, for asking me to serve in this leadership role.

First veto—first veto override

HB 100, Restore Partisan Elections, Superior & District Court, passed the House 65-51 on February 22 after a spirited and often emotional debate. It passed the Senate 32-15 on March 8 and was vetoed by Governor Cooper on March 16. The House voted to override the veto on March 22; the Senate did the same on March 23 and these partisan judicial elections are now law. I voted against HB 100 and voted to uphold the Governor’s veto.

Bills I have sponsored

HB 270, the Haley Hayes Newborn Screening Bill.  Adds to 3 deadly diseases to routine newborn screening so that early treatment can improve affected children’s quality and length of life.

HB 276, Strengthen Youth Tobacco Use Prevention/Funds. Appropriates $17 M for adolescent tobacco and e-cigarette use education and prevention.

HB 298, 0.00 Alcohol Restriction – All DWI. Establishes a zero tolerance for drinking and driving after a DWI conviction.

HB 338, Establish New Nurse Licensure Compact.  Streamlines regulations and allows nurses to more easily cross state lines for employment (I voted for a similar bill for physical therapists).

HB 357, Modernize Dietetics/Nutrition Practice Act. Updates regulations for the practice of dieticians/nutritionists.

HB 399, Stop Images Taken W/O Consent From Dissemination. Protects individuals from  Internet harassment.

HB 479, Appropriate Funds for Future Health Care Jobs. Appropriates $47 M to the NC Community College system for health care job training.

All of these bills are bipartisan.

FYI, I support school calendar flexibility and am a co-sponsor of 17 bills that grant this important authority to different school systems across the state including Wake County.