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|NC LEGISLATIVE UPDATES|
The budget once again has dominated the legislative agenda in North Carolina for 2109, reducing the opportunity for other bills to gain traction and to be considered by the General Assembly. The budget was passed by both houses of the General Assembly and sent to the Governor for signature on June 26th. On June 27th, the Governor vetoed the budget citing his unwavering position that Medicaid Expansion should be on the table for negotiations. The Republican controlled House and Senate remain equally committed to not including Medicaid Expansion in the budget. As a result, the Governor and the General Assembly remain in a stalemate to see who will blink first. In a surprise vote (while many Democrats were not on the floor for the vote), the House voted to override the Governor’s veto, which drew as expected a raucous flood of criticism. The Senate opted not to consider an override of the Governor’s veto and has indicate that there will be no votes on the budget prior to September 30th. The House has followed with the same no vote directive to its members. In the interim, the state government is being funded by the Supplemental Appropriations Act, which only funds based on the prior approved budget. A 3/5ths majority of both houses is required to override the veto of the Governor.
Two special elections were held recently in the state to fill two Congressional seats which were vacant as a result of the death of Walter Jones, who represented Congressional District 3 and the absentee ballot investigation invalidating an election in Congressional District 9. Republican Greg Murphy was elected in District 3 and Republican Dan Bishop was elected in District 9.
A three judge panel composed of 2 Democrats and 1 Republican ruled that the legislative maps in NC were unconstitutional and required that the Legislature redraw the maps by 9/18. The 3 judge panel ruled that the maps were subject to extreme gerrymandering. The maps have been redrawn by the Legislature and submitted to the 3 judge panel for review.
Your Legislative Committee was actively involved in monitoring a discussion at the Banking Commission regarding unfunded liabilities for the retirement and insurance plans for state employees. The State Treasurer is the Chair of the Banking Commission and utilized his position to spotlight his concern about the unfunded liabilities and how it might impact the financial rating of the state. He had been unsuccessful at the state level gaining traction and encouraged the members of the Banking Commission to utilize their authority to increase fees on banks and non-depositories to reduce the unfunded liabilities for employees of the Office of the Commissioner of Banks. George Teague and I attended several Banking Commission meetings to monitor these discussions. A task force was created to study the issue and make a recommendation to the full Banking Commission. George Teague and I were in contact with the members of the task force to lobby our position that an increase in fees was not warranted. The task force was very thorough in their research, reaching a decision that the unfunded liabilities of the Office of the Commission of Banks represented a minute share of the total liability. The recommendation of the task force was a resolution to the General Assembly expressing the concern of the Banking Commission regarding unfunded liabilities of state employees and the ultimate effect on the credit rating of the state. The resolution was approved by the Banking Commission.
As a resulted on the budget stalemate, the General Assembly remains in session with no date certain for adjournment. We have monitored the progress of many bills, however, to date the following are bills that have become session law that would be of interest to MBAC members:
HB 147- Confirm Ray Grace-confirmed Ray Grace for another term as Banking Commission
SB 162-Loan Origination/Late Charges-made adjustments to fees for lower balance loans (less than $20,000)
HB 628-Outdated Requirements for Savings Banks and Savings and Loans, Provides Authority to Allow for Promotional Raffles, Designates a Permanent Seat for a Non-Depository Member of the Banking Commission. After four years of lobbying to provide a permanent seat for non-depositories to the Banking Commission, we were finally successful. The seat will be added when the term of a public member expires which will not be until 2021. Non-depositories contributed 30% of the revenue to the Office of the Commissioner of Banks and until this legislation did not have representation. Should a public member resign before the expiration of their term, the seat for a non-depository could be added prior to 2021.