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Neighbors on Call’s NC Policy Update for 5/30/22

Economic Policy

  • Planning for adjustments to the 2022-23 budget is underway at the NC General Assembly. A Republican budget writer in the NCGA said the total spending figure will be between $29.5 billion and $30 billion. Legislators are considering raises for state employees and teachers beyond the 2.5% already allocated, though it is unclear whether they will match Governor Cooper’s request for an additional 2.5% for state employees and 7.5% for teachers through a salary schedule adjustment. They are also considering additional tax cuts, a reserve fund for capital projects, and an additional $100 million for broadband expansion.

  • On Tuesday the rules committee of the NC Senate passed the 2022 Farm Act (SB 792), which is expected to pass the full Senate next week. Of note in the bill is a passage that distinguishes hemp from marijuana based on its level of the psychoactive ingredient Delta-9 and excludes hemp from North Carolina’s list of controlled substances. North Carolina’s 2015 law legalizing the hemp industry is set to expire at the end of next month; this provision in the Farm Act will prevent hemp from being outlawed in the state when that happens. In addition, the bill initially included a “right to repair” provision that requires manufacturers of farm equipment to sell parts, manuals, and diagnostic tools to end users and independent shops at the same price that dealers receive. “Right to repair” is a national movement with significant support from farmer advocacy groups, but the provision received even more opposition from dealers, leading to an amendment to the bill to send the issue to a study commission instead.

Environmental Policy

  • On Thursday legislators in the NC House introduced a bill to limit PFAS levels in drinking water. “HB 1095 would authorize the state’s Environmental Management Commission to adopt a maximum contaminant level for one or more per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances [PFAS] compounds” (Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch). These compounds are known health hazards, with links to thyroid problems, kidney and testicular cancers, immune disorders, and reproductive and fetal development issues. Other states, including Michigan and New York, have already adopted maximum contaminant thresholds for types of PFAS compounds.

Health Care Policy

Gun Violence Prevention

Education and LGBTQ Rights

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