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Neighbors on Call’s NC Policy Update for 07/01/24

Updated: Jul 2

Governance


  • This week the NCGA overturned three of Governor Cooper’s recent vetoes. The bills that will now become law over Cooper’s objections include a bill that limits public wearing of masks, creates a significant loophole in election finance regulations, and mandates harsher penalties for certain protest activities; a bill that will move more 16- and 17-year-old defendants to adult court; and a bill that allows for more tree cutting near billboards.


  • On Friday, Governor Cooper signed five bills into law:

    • SB 790, which gives additional protections to lawyers being investigated by the State Bar;

    • HB 223, which makes several changes to the state Human Resources Act;

    • HB 495, which increases criminal penalties for money laundering and revises selected larceny laws to address retail theft;

    • HB 912, which gives permission to several UNC-system campuses to finance certain capital improvements without state appropriations; and

    • HB 971, which attempts to address human trafficking through adjustments to existing trafficking and solicitation laws and requiring training on the topic for hotels and other lodging establishments.


Voting Rights 





Economic Policy



Environmental Policy

  • On Thursday the NC Senate passed a bill that would provide financing for clean energy upgrades for businesses. SB 802 would create a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) program that would allow businesses to borrow money for upgrades such as rooftop solar panels, LED lighting, and energy-efficient HVAC systems that could be paid back with ongoing small increases to their property taxes. Similar programs exist in over 38 states. State Treasurer Dale Folwell has opposed CPACE programs in North Carolina, while clean energy organizations have advocated for them.


Health Care Policy

  • On Monday the NC Senate passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana by a vote of 36-10. HB 563 originally only included regulations of hemp-derived consumables, but the Senate added in a provision legalizing the use of marijuana when prescribed by a physician. The final version approved by the Senate also included a provision specifying that recreational use of marijuana would need to be approved by the NCGA in the event that it is rescheduled federally or removed from the federal list of controlled substances. The bill now heads to the House, which has previously quashed medical marijuana legislation.


Reproductive Rights



Justice

  • On Wednesday the NCGA passed a bill that would define antisemitism in North Carolina law. HB 942, the “Shalom Act,” would adopt the “Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance on May 26, 2016” as the official definition of antisemitism in state law.  Critics say some of what this definition targets is “political speech” rather than antisemitism. The bill passed the Senate 47-2, and the House approved the Senate committee substitute 105-3, so it now goes to Governor Cooper for his signature.


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