Native legislators again payments starting from new restrictions on intercourse offenders to Holocaust training – Salisbury Submit
By Natalie Anderson
SALISBURY – Since the beginning of the legislature, local lawmakers have signed up to be the main sponsors of 40 bills, the most recent relating to health practices, economic development and the ban on debt settlement.
The local legislators’ bills are still at an early stage in the legislative process and are currently being passed through various committees. Swiss Post met with the legislature to discuss the most recently submitted measures.
Rep. Harry Warren, R-67
The senior legislature is the main sponsor of more than a dozen bills currently going through the general assembly. In addition to bills related to domestic violence laws, funding for the NC Transportation Museum, and legal immigration status filed in early February, Warren has since sponsored a half-dozen bills, side by side with longtime MP Julia Howard, R-77.
House Bill 84 is the result of a call from Warren from a sergeant in the Rowan County Sheriff’s office pointing to loopholes in the current law regarding room restrictions on certain sex offenders. Warren said state law does not include those convicted of sexual exploitation of a child from among the sex offenders who are banned from being in certain areas. This bill would impose the same restrictions on these people as other sex offenders.
House Bill 70 would incentivize the renovation of historic educational buildings so that those buildings can continue to serve educational purposes. This bill would allow developers to capitalize on the state’s investment in historic renovation tax credits for such buildings, as long as a certain portion of the building is reserved for educational purposes. This can include a library or a planetarium, for example. As written, the base rate for tax credits would be 15% for structural costs up to $ 10 million. A rate of 10% would be charged for structures with expenditures between USD 10 and 20 million. The invoice also includes a 5% tax bonus, depending on the location of the development and the original purpose.
Warren said the Faith Elementary School building is an example of a building that could be redeveloped under the bill. He added that the Rowan County bill is relevant because of the ongoing conversation about school consolidation, which could lead to vacant buildings becoming “eyesores” in the community
Both Warren and Howard are sponsoring a bill to establish an ApSeed pilot program in Forsyth, Hoke, New Hanover, Watauga and Yadkin counties. House Bill 74 would provide $ 2.5 million from the state’s general fund for each year of the 2021-23 biennium, with each county receiving up to $ 500,000 per year. Warren told the Post that he plans to have Greg Alcorn, CEO of Global Contact Services and founder of the program in Rowan County, give a presentation to lawmakers when the bill is presented in a committee meeting. Alcorn is also a former member of the State Board of Education.
“I think it’s more relevant now because of COVID and distance learning,” Warren said. “We see such a gap in student development.”
Warren and Howard are currently sponsoring HB 122, a bipartisan bill that will raise mileage and daily rates for government employees – including teachers and members of boards and commissions – to current federal rates and set legislature mileage and daily rates for 2023 at 2019 should prices. Warren said many of these employees and board members travel to conferences with little or no compensation. Younger lawmakers are unable to manage travel as lawmakers because of these rates, he said.
While many lawmakers agree that it is necessary, Warren said the bill is unlikely to come up for discussion given the potential for politicization and the unwillingness of lawmakers to give the impression that they are paying their compensation in the midst of the pandemic. He added that he was considering revising the bill to ask a governor-appointed commission to investigate the issue and come back with a report.
Warren said some bills were still in the drafting phase, including a revision of the NC Managing Environmental Waste Act that dealt with sweepstakes parlors and setting lead levels. With the 2020 census data only available in September, he expects lawmakers to take a break in July and return in September or October to regulate the redistribution.
Rep. Julia Howard, R-77
Howard and Warren sponsor HB 107, which will keep the employers’ unemployment tax rate at 1.9% for 2021 instead of increasing it. In addition, the bill expands provisions that will expedite the filing of jobless claims if the pandemic continues.
Howard reintroduced a bill that bans the settlement of debts, declaring it an unfair commercial practice, and expanding civil remedies for debtors. A similar bill was passed by the House and Senate during the brief session in June but was ultimately rejected for a Senate vote.
Adjusting debt means taking money and promising to pay it to someone else’s creditor. The debt settlement is made between the debtor and the creditor to negotiate on behalf of the debtor. Both are offenses under current law. Howard’s bill is aimed at giving the attorney general “more teeth” to stop such activity and it will help the debtor who may want to sue.
Howard also sponsors HB 86, which increases death grants for state lawmakers who die on duty. Although the current maximum death benefit for government employees who die on duty is $ 50,000, state lawmakers are subject to benefits of up to $ 15,000 because of their salary rates.
Howard said this bill would show that one legislature’s life is no “less precious than anyone else’s” and is an attempt to be fair to them.
Howard is also sponsoring a bill to encourage the use of Muscadine Grape Juice in government learning institutions and include Muscadine Grape Juice producers and other fruit product producers participating in the Got To Be NC marketing program as participants in the Farm-to-To School Purchase Program .
She told the Post that the House Finance Committee, which she chairs, will be looking at how best to spend a $ 4 billion surplus on government funds resulting from failure to maintain a budget in recent years two years to complete. Howard said there is more revenue than the state expects, but lawmakers need to be careful about how it is distributed.
Rep. Wayne Sasser, R-67
Legislative’s sole pharmacist is the main sponsor of a handful of health-related bills.
HB 93 would require doctors prescribing opioid drugs to patients that they also prescribe an opioid antagonist drug to prevent overdoses. Sasser said the bill was not directed at those who frequently abuse substances. Rather, it is intended for people with severe pain who tend to take more than the required dose due to forgetfulness.
“If they don’t have a nalaxon there, they will die,” he said. “And if it’s avoidable, why shouldn’t we save lives?”
Sasser is the main sponsor of HB 95, which would enable organ donors to remain donors on a permanent basis.
HB 178, Sasser explained, would streamline the process from the moment a doctor prescribes a drug to the time the patient arrives at a pharmacy to get their prescription. This bill would allow the doctor to electronically see in seconds whether the patient’s insurance company is paying for the prescribed medication, or whether a different prescription or prior authorization is required. This would prevent the patient from being informed if they came to a pharmacy whose insurance company did not pay for the prescription.
Sasser said his intent with all medical bills is to help the patient, which is why some bipartisan action is under medical lawmakers. Two lawmakers he works with frequently on such bills are Representatives Gale Adcock, a family nurse and Democrat who represents Wake County, and Kristin Baker, a doctor and Republican who represents Cabarrus County.
“It’s about saving lives,” said Sasser.
Both Howard and Sasser sponsor HB 69, which would incorporate Holocaust and Genocide education into the standard middle and high school curriculum. Sasser told the Post that he was particularly interested in the subject since he was a history major in college. He said that genocide in the world is still happening today in places like Syria and Africa. He said it was important that children be exposed to the history of the Holocaust and genocide to prevent such atrocities from recurring.
“It is valuable to teach everything down the line to hopefully make this world we live in better,” said Sasser. “We need to investigate them to prevent them from happening again.”
Sasser also supports House Joint Resolution 172, which highlights the need for term limits for federal legislators. Sasser said the measure is unlikely to “go anywhere” but rather a formal statement: “We need the general public who pass laws, not professional politicians who want to do so for the rest of their lives.”
Senator Carl Ford, R-33, is the main sponsor of three bills to date. The last is a law that marks September each year as the Month for Childhood Cancer Awareness.
Call reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.