BUSINESS & AGENCY REG. REFORM ACT OF 2017 (NEW).

View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
Senate Bill 16 (Public) Filed Thursday, January 26, 2017
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA.
Intro. by Wells, Barringer, Daniel.

Status: Ch. SL 2017-211 (Senate Action) (Oct 5 2017)

SOG comments (2):

Identical bill

Identical to S 162, filed on 2/21/17.

Short and Long Title Changes

House committee substitute to the 2nd edition makes changes to the short and long titles. The original titles are as follows:

AMEND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE LAWS.

AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE AGENCIES TO MAKE RULE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS WITHOUT REVIEW BY THE RULES REVIEW COMMISSION AND TO AUTHORIZE THE CODIFIER OF RULES TO MAKE RULE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS, TO CLARIFY THAT A PARTY MAY COMMENCE A CONTESTED CASE IN A DISPUTE WITH AN AGENCY WITHOUT PETITIONING THE AGENCY FOR RULE MAKING OR OBTAINING A DECLARATORY RULING, AND TO REVISE THE PROCESS FOR THE REVIEW AND READOPTION OF EXISTING RULES, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE.

Bill History:

S 16/S.L. 2017-211

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Oct 11 2017 - More information

    AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA. Enacted October 5, 2017. Effective October 5, 2017, except as otherwise provided.


  • Summary date: Aug 18 2017 - More information

    The Governor vetoed the act on 08/14/17. The Governor's objections and veto message are available here: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/s16Veto/s16Veto.html.


  • Summary date: Aug 3 2017 - More information

    Conference report makes the following changes to the 4th edition. 

    Deletes the following provisions that were found in the 4th edition: (1) Section 1 of the act, concerning the authorization of rule technical corrections, which amended GS 150B-21.5 and GS 150B-21.20; (2) Section 2 of the act concerning contested case policy, which amended GS 150B-22 and GS 150B-43; (3) Section 3, which amended the process for the periodic review of rules in GS 150B-21.3A; (4) Section 9, which concerned inspection requirements for used vehicles sold by dealers on a salvage certificate of title, amending GS 20-183.4C; (5) Section 10, which amended requirements for health benefit plans covering small employers under GS 58-50-130; (6) Section 12, which amended the law on contracts with automatic renewal clauses in GS 75-41; (7) Section 16, concerning staffing standards for boarding kennels offering dog day care services, which amended GS 19A-23 and GS 19A-24; (8) Section 17, which required the Legislative Research Commission to study the regulatory, financial, and infrastructure burdens in coastal communities; (9) Section 20.1, which removed Onslow County from the motor vehicle emissions inspection program under GS 143-215.107A; (10) Section 21, which required the Legislative Research Commission to study the creation of a board to mediate and arbitrate disputes between local governments and owners and developers of property; and (11) Section 21.2, which required the Legislative Research Commission to study flood prevention measures in the Lower Neuse River Basin.

    Changes the effective date of the changes to GS 150B-20 from October 1, 2017, to January 1, 2018.

    Changes the effective date of the changes to GS 130A-247 from October 1, 2017, to January 1, 2018.

    Eliminates the change in GS 40A-3 that would have restricted private condemnors to exercising the power of eminent domain to a public use (instead of a public use or benefit).

    Requires the Building Code Council to report on electrical safety requirements for swimming pools to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety instead of to the General Assembly.

    Requires the Building Code Council to report on the use of ungraded lumber to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources instead of to the General Assembly.

    Changes the effective date of the changes to GS 20-129 from January 1, 2018, to March 1, 2018.

    Requires the Legislative Research Commission to study the creation of a process for (was, study the creation of a mediation and arbitration board) the mediation and arbitration of disputes between the owners of property located in a homeowners or property owners association and the governing entities of such associations.

    Adds the following new provisions:

    Section 14.

    Amends GS 95-25.5(a) to direct the Commissioner of Labor to issue youth employment certificates, both directly and electronically (currently certificate issuance is subject to review by the Department of Labor and county directors of social services).

    Amends GS 95-117(4) to define annual gross volume, owner, and person. Amends the definition of passenger tramway to include funicular devices and gondola, as defined. Makes additional clarifying and technical changes.

    Enacts new GS 95-125.1 (Operation of unsafe device). Prohibits the operation and use of devices under GS Chapter 95, Article 15 (Passenger Tramway Safety), if the operator knows or reasonably should know that operation or use will expose the public to an unsafe condition likely to result in personal injury or property damage. Effective January 1, 2018.

    Enacts new GS 95-125.2 (Reports required). Requires owners of any device regulated under Article 15 to notify the Commissioner within 24 hours of every occurrence involving the device resulting in death or injury requiring medical treatment by a physician, or damage to the device indicating a substantial defect. Directs the Commissioner, without delay, to make a complete and thorough investigation of the occurrence, and to file a report and give in detail all facts and information available. Prohibits, after an occurrence reported under this statute, the operation or moving of the device without approval of the Commissioner, except as to prevent injury, or the removal of any part of the device or attempt to repair any damaged part necessary to an investigation.

    Enacts new GS 95-125.3 (Violations, civil penalties, appeal, criminal penalties). Creates civil penalties in different amounts for violations of GS 95-118 (concerning registration), GS 95-120.1 (concerning liability insurance) and GS 95-125.1 (concerning operation of an unsafe device). Commissioner's determination of the amount of the penalty is final, subject to objection by the person charged with violation, at which point a final determination is made pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act. Authorizes the Commissioner to file a certified copy of a final order with the clerk of court, at which point the clerk shall enter judgment in accordance with the final order and notify the parties. A willful violation that causes the serious injury or death of any person is a Class E felony, including a fine. Nothing in the article prevents a prosecutor from proceeding against a person who violates this Article on a prosecution charging any degree of willful or culpable homicide.

    Amends GS 95-174, GS 95-191(a), GS 95-192, GS 95-194, GS 95-208, and GS 95-216 to replace references to the Standard Industrial Classification with references to the North American Industry Classification System and references to "material safety data sheets" with "safety data sheets." Makes technical changes.

    Effective October 1, 2017. 

    Section 15.

    Enacts new GS 95-127(2a) to define the Carolina Star Program as a voluntary program that recognizes work sites that implement effective safety and health management systems and meet specified standards.

    Enacts new GS 95-157 (Carolina Star Program). Authorizes the Commissioner of Labor (Commissioner) to adopt rules for the operation of the Carolina Star Program in a way that will promote safe and healthy workplaces throughout the State, and lists seven matters the rule should address, including assessment of occupational hazards. Directs that applications for participation should be submitted by management. Directs the Department of Labor (Department) to provide on-site evaluations by Carolina Star Program evaluation teams of applicant workplaces. Workplaces that participate in the Carolina Star Program are exempt from inspections under GS 95-136, except for those arising from complaints, referrals, fatalities, catastrophes, nonfatal accidents, or significant toxic chemical releases.

    Allows a workplace that participated in the uncodified Carolina Star Program prior to October 1, 2017, to continue as a participant, conditioned upon that workplace's ability to meet the relevant requirements and expectations established by guidelines for participation adopted by the Commissioner.

    Effective October 1, 2017.

    Section 16.

    Repeals Section 3.2(a) of SL 2017-10, amending Section 14.20(f) of SL 2015-241, making the landfill modifications made in Section 14.20 of SL 2015-241 apply to franchise agreements executed on or after October 1, 2015, and on or before October 1, only if all parties to a valid and operative agreement consent to modify the agreement for the purpose of extending the agreement's duration of the life-of-site of the landfill for which the agreement was executed, and public notice and hearing is provided for the modification in compliance with the requirements of GS 130A-294(b1)(3). Makes conforming change to Section 3.2(e) of SL 2017-10, making Section 3.2(a), amending Section 14.20(f) of SL 2015-241, apply only to franchise agreements executed on or after October 1, 2015 (deleting expanded application to franchise agreements executed on or before October 1, 2015, as previously specified).

    Amends GS 130A-294 (Solid waste management program). Amends subsection (a2), defining life of site to mean the period from the initial receipt of solid waste at the facility until the facility reaches its final permitted elevations, not to exceed 60 years (currently, until the Department approves final closure of the facility). Adds new subsection (a3), establishing that a life-of-site permit issued for a sanitary landfill survives the expiration of a local government approval or franchise. Authorizes the county to extend the franchise under the same terms and conditions for the term of the life-of-site permit. Adds that the extension of a franchise does not trigger the requirements for a new permit, a major permit modification, or a substantial amendment to the permit. Amends subdivision (b1)(3), providing that the hearing and notice requirements of this subdivision do not apply to franchises extended pursuant to new subsection (a3). Makes conforming changes to subsection (a2).

    Section 17.

    Amends GS 44A-24.2(3) to amend the definition of commercial real estate as used in the Commercial Real Estate Broker Lien Act to include any real property or interest therein which at the time the property or interest is made the subject of an agreement for broker services is lawfully used primarily for agriculture or forestry. 

    Section 18.

    Amends GS 95-69.10(b)(8), exempting from the provisions of Article 7A (Uniform Boiler and Pressure Vessel Act) a pressure vessel that does not exceed the listed limitations and is not equipped with a quick actuating closure, and is five cubic feet in volume when the pressure vessel is constructed and operated on the same real property zoned industrial and where its operation is undertaken using commercially acceptable safety precautions for the application.

    Section 19.

    Amends GS 130A-336, establishing that an improvement permit or authorization for wastewater system construction issued by a local health department from January 1, 2000, to January 1, 2015, which has not been acted on and would have otherwise expired, remains valid until January 1, 2020, without penalty. Provides this extension does not apply where there are changes in the hydraulic flows or wastewater characteristics from the original local health department evaluation. Permits are transferable with ownership of the property. Requires permits to retain the site, soil evaluations, and construction conditions of the original permit. 


  • Summary date: Jun 15 2017 - More information

    House amendments make the following changes to the 3rd edition.

    Amendment #1 adds a new Section 21.1 requiring the Environmental Review Commission to study the state sedimentation and erosion control program and locally delegated sedimentation and erosion control programs, including how the programs could be more efficient and streamlined. Requires a report on the study results to the 2018 Regular Session of the 2017 General Assembly.

    Amendment #3 amends GS 58-50-130(a) by removing the provision that prohibited small employer carriers, insurers, subsidiaries of an insurer, or controlled individual of an insurance holding company from providing stop loss, catastrophic, or reinsurance coverage to small employers who employ fewer than 26 eligible employees that does not comply with the underwriting, rating, and other applicable standards.

    Amendment #4 adds a new Section 21.2 requiring the Legislative Research Commission to study flood control measures to prevent flood damage to persons and property in the Lower Neuse River Basin, including consideration of specified issues. Requires a report on the results of the study to the 2018 Regular Session of the 2017 General Assembly.

    Amendment #5 amends the definition of primary enclosure in GS 19A-23 by adding that the limitation of four or fewer animals does not apply to primary enclosures in animal shelters.

    Amendment #6 adds a new Section 21.5 requiring the Legislative Research Commission to study the creation of a mediation and arbitration board that would serve as a mediator and arbitrator of disputes between the owners of property in a homeowners' or property owners' association and the governing entities of such an association. Requires a report to the 2018 Regular Session of the 2017 General Assembly.

    Amendment #7 deletes the proposed changes to GS 20-183.3. Amends GS 20-129 by adding that every motor vehicle originally equipped with backup lamps must have those lamps in operating condition. Effective January 1, 2018.

    Amendment #8 adds a new Section 20.1 amending GS 143-215.107A by removing Onslow County from those counties that are required to perform motor vehicle emissions inspections.

     


  • Summary date: Jun 14 2017 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.

    Changes the long and short titles. 

    Deletes changes to GS 150B-21.3A(d), maintaining existing language that makes rules contained in the Title of the Administrative Code that an agency has failed to conduct a review of by the date set by the Rules Review Commission expire, except as provided in subsections (e) and (f) of the statute (previously, added subsection (e1) as amended to this provision).

    Changes the application provision pertaining to the changes made to GS 150B-21.3A, providing that the changes apply to agency rule reports submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) pursuant to GS 150B-21.3A(c)(1) on or after October 1, 2017 (was, May 1, 2017).

    Amends GS 150B-20(a), adding a new requirement for agencies receiving a rule-making petition to send the proposed text of the requested rule change and the statement of the effect of the requested rule change to OAH within three business days of receipt of the petition. Also requires OAH to distribute the information it receives via its mailing list and publish the information on its website within three business days of receipt of this information. Effective October 1, 2017.

    Amends GS 143-254.5, concerning the disclosure of personal identifying information by the Wildlife Resource Commission, to include information subject to GS 106-24.1 transferred to the Commission from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the provided definition of identifying information for purposes of the statute. 

    Adds to the duties of the Environmental Management Commission (Commission) set out in GS 143B-282(a)(1), the duty to identify, review, and assess reports prepared by the Department of Environmental Quality that are required by an act of the General Assembly and that the Commission finds would have a significant public interest. Requires the Commission to include that assessment in its report to the Environmental Review Commission under subsection (b) of the statute. 

    Amends GS 130A-247(5a), setting forth the definition of bed and breakfast home as the term is used in the regulation of food and lodging facilities in Part 6 of Article 8. Modifies the qualifying criteria of the term to require the price of breakfast be included in the room rate (currently, the price of any meals served in the room rate). Adds a new provision permitting the price of additional meals served to be added to the room rate at the conclusion of the overnight guest's stay.

    Amends GS 130A-247(6) to define bed and breakfast inn to mean a business of at least nine but not more than 12 guest rooms (currently, no minimum specified) that offers bed and breakfast accommodations for a period of less than one week and that meets the specified criteria (currently, defined to offer accommodations to at least nine but not more than 23 persons per night for a period of less than one week). Modifies the qualifying criteria to include serving the breakfast meal, the lunch meal, the dinner meal, or a combination of all or some of the three meals only to overnight guests of the business (currently, includes serving only the breakfast meal and only to overnight guests). Adds a new provision permitting the price of additional meals (other than breakfast, which must be included in the room rate) to be added to the room rate at the conclusion of the overnight guest's stay. Effective October 1, 2017.

    Amends GS 74D-2(c), concerning the requirements of a qualifying agent which apply to a business entity engaging in the alarms system business. Removes the provision prohibiting the Alarm Systems Licensing Board from approving a business entity not designating a licensed qualifying agent unless the business entity has and continuously maintains a registered agent in the State who must be an individual resident of the State. Makes conforming changes.

    Amends GS 74D-8, specifying the employees within the State which the licensee must register with the Alarm Systems Licensing Board within 30 days after the employment begins, unless the time period is extended for good cause at the discretion of the Director, as: (1) any employee that has access to confidential information detailing the design, installation, or application of any location-specific electronic security system or that has access to any code, number, or program that would allow the system to be modified, altered, or circumvented and (2) any employee who installs or services an electronic security system in a personal residence (currently, generally requires all licensees to register all employees within the State within 30 days, unless extended for good cause in the discretion of the Director). Makes organizational change.

    Amends GS 20-183.4C to authorize a dealer to sell, without inspection, a used vehicle issued a salvage certificate of title in accordance with GS Chapter 20 if no repairs have been made to the vehicle after issuance of the salvage certificate of title, and the dealer discloses in writing that no inspection has been performed.

    Amends GS 58-50-130(a), regarding health benefit plans covering small employers, prohibiting a small employer carrier, insurer, subsidiary of an insurer, or controlled individual of an insurance holding company from providing stop loss, catastrophic, or reinsurance coverage to small employers who employ fewer than 5 (currently, 26) eligible employees that does not comply with the underwriting, rating, and other applicable standards.

    Amends GS 66-25, concerning acceptable listings as to safety of goods. Existing law in subsection (a) requires that all electrical materials, devices, appliances, and equipment be evaluated for safety and suitability for intended use in accordance with nationally recognized standards by a qualified testing laboratory. Adds a new subsection prohibiting the Department of Administration, Division of Purchase and Contract, from seeking to enforce the provisions of subsection (a) of the statute by any means, including requiring acceptance inspections or additional testing of electrical materials, devices, appliances, or equipment purchased by State departments, agencies, and institutions. Directs the Department of Administration, Division of Purchase and Contract, to publish a notice on its website on the date this provision becomes law indicating that acceptance inspections and additional testing are no longer required for the purchase of electric materials, device appliances, or equipment by State departments, agencies, and institutions.

    Amends GS 75-41, concerning contracts with automatic renewal clauses, by adding a new subsection establishing that the provisions of the statute do not apply to real estate professionals licensed under GS Chapter 93A. Effective October 1, 2017, and applies to contracts entered into on or after that date.

    Amends GS 40A-3(a) to restrict private condemnors to exercising the power of eminent domain for a public use (was, for a public use or benefit). Amends the power granted to corporations, bodies politic or persons to include exercising eminent domain for the construction of pipelines or mains originating inside or outside North Carolina for the transportation of petroleum products, coal, gas, limestone, or minerals (no longer required to originate in North Carolina).

    Amends GS 143-214.7(b3), concerning the application of stormwater runoff rules and programs. Clarifies that when a preexisting development is redeveloped either in whole or in part, increased stormwater controls can be required only for the amount of impervious surface being created that exceeds the amount of impervious surface that existed before the redevelopment. 

    Directs the Environmental Management Commission (Commission) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to implement the Coastal Stormwater Rule (15 NCAC 02H .0109; Coastal Counties) by not requiring a State stormwater permit for a residential project unless the residential project would cumulatively add more than 10,000 square feet of built upon area. Directs the Commission to adopt a rule to amend the Coastal Stormwater Rule consistent with and substantively identical to this implementation directive as described. Provides that rules adopted pursuant to this provision are not subject to Part 3 of Article 2A of GS Chapter 150B, and that these rules become effective as provided in GS 150B-21.3(b1) as though 10 or more written objections had been received as provided by GS 150B-21.3(b2). Provides that this provision expires when permanent rules adopted as required by the provision become effective. 

    Amends GS 19A-23 to amend the definition of housing facility to include common areas and to define common area (an area within a housing facility providing an open space where more than four dogs are free to exercise or play together). Changes the definition of primary enclosure to mean any structure used to immediately restrict four or fewer (was, restrict an animal) animals to a limited amount of space. Amends GS 19A-24(a)(1). Provides that boarding kennels that offer dog care services, and, as to each common area, (1) have a ratio of dogs to employees within the housing facility of no more than 15 to one and (2) have no more than 50 dogs in any common area at any time, shall not as to such day care services be subject to any regulations issued by the Board of Agriculture that impose further supervisory requirements on the number of dogs permitted within the common area or any primary enclosure beyond a requirement that at least one staffer be present in a common area at all times that five or more dogs are within the common area. Effective October 1, 2017.

    Directs the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) to study the regulatory, financial, and infrastructure burdens in coastal communities. Provides that "coastal community" refers to any NC county containing or to the east of Interstate 95. Details four components the Commission may study: (1) the administrative burdens and increased costs due to unnecessary or duplicative environmental burdens, (2) the impacts on private property rights and land development due to land use and other restrictions imposed by local governments, (3) the impacts of underinvestment in necessary infrastructure to encourage and sustain economic development, and (4) any other topic or issue relevant to the study. Directs the Commission to make its final report to the 2018 Regular Session of the 2017 General Assembly. 

    Requires the Building Code Council (Council) to review electrical safety requirements for swimming pools to determine if the requirements should be amended to better protect public safety. Directs the Council to report its findings and recommendations, including any actions the Council has taken related to electrical safety requirements for swimming pools, to the General Assembly by December 1, 2017.

    Directs the Building Code Council (Council) to study under what circumstances it would be appropriate to use lumber that has not been grade-stamped under the authority of a lumber grading bureau in construction in North Carolina. Specifies the considerations the Council must account for in its study, including cost. Requires the Council to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by December 1, 2017.

    Amends GS 20-183.3(a) to specifically include properly functioning backup lights in vehicle safety inspections pursuant to GS 20-183.3(a)(1). Effective October 1, 2017.

    Directs the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Quality to jointly study whether the frequency of vehicle safety inspections and vehicle emissions inspections should be decreased. Specifies the considerations the departments must account for in its study, including savings to vehicle owners and public safety. Directs the departments to jointly report their findings and recommendations to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee no later than March 1, 2018.

    Directs the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) to study the creation of a mediation and arbitration board that would serve as a mediator and arbitrator of disputes between local governments and owners or developers of property regarding regulation of the use or development of property. Requires the LRC to report its findings and recommendations to the 2018 Regulation Session of the 2017 General Assembly.

    Includes a severability clause.


  • Summary date: Feb 21 2017 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Amends GS 150B-21.3A, concerning the periodic review and expiration of existing rules, to make conforming changes to the definition of public comment to include written comments objecting to an agency's determination of the rule as necessary or unnecessary.

    Makes organizational and technical changes to GS 150B-21.3A to combine subsections (e) and (e1), concerning exclusions from the statute's provisions.

    Makes technical change to Section 4 of the act to refer to the Office (was, Officer) of Administrative Hearings.


  • Summary date: Jan 26 2017 - More information

    Section 1.1 and 1.2

    Changes the title of GS 150B-21.5 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to Circumstances when notice and rule-making hearing not required; circumstances when submission to the Commission not required.

    Amends subsection (a) to provide that an agency is not required to publish a notice of text in the North Carolina Register, hold a public hearing, or submit the amended rule to the Rules Review Commission (Commission) for review (previously, did not except submission of the amended rule to the Commission for review) when the agency proposes to amend a rule to do one of the specified purposes in subsection (a). Provides changes to a few of the specified purposes for which notice, a public hearing, and submission to the Commission for review are not required, which include (1) when the rule is amended to change information that is readily available to the public, such as an address, telephone number, or a web site (previously, did not include a web site) and (2) when the rule is amended to correct a typographical error (previously, correct a typographical error in the North Carolina Administrative Code). Further, moves the sixth purpose excepted in subsection (a) to new subsection (a1) to provide that an agency is not required to publish a notice of text in the Register or hold a public hearing when it proposes to change the rule in response to a request or an objection by the Commission, unless the Commission determines that the changes is substantial (note, not excepted from rule submission to the Commission in this circumstance).

    Creates new subsection (e) to require any agency that adopts or amends a rule under subsection (a) or (c) of GS 150B-21.5 to notify the Codifier of Rules of its actions. Directs the Codifier of Rules to make the appropriate changes to the North Carolina Administrative Code when notified of such agency action.

    Changes the title of GS 150B-21.20 of the APA to Codifier’s authority to revise rules.

    Amends the Codifier of Rules’ authority to allow the Codifier, after consulting with the agency that adopted the rule, to revise a rule (previously, revise the form of a rule submitted for inclusion in the North Carolina Administrative Code) to do one or more of the specified objectives. Adds four objectives for which the Codifier may revise a rule: (1) to substitute one name for another when an organization or position is renamed; (2) to correct a citation in the rule to another rule or law when the citation has become inaccurate since the rule was adopted because of the repeal or renumbering of the cited rule or law; (3) to change information that is readily available to the public, such as an address, a telephone number, or a web site; or (4) to correct a typographical error.

    Section 2.1 and 2.2

    Divides existing GS 150B-22 (Settlement; contested case) into two subsections. Additionally, clarifies that a party or person aggrieved cannot be required to petition an agency for rule making or to seek or obtain a declaratory ruling before commencing a contested case under GS 150B-23 (provisions for commencement of a contested case). Makes conforming change to GS 150B-43 (Right to judicial review).

    Section 3

    Makes the following changes to the Administrative Procedure Act concerning the periodic review and expiration of existing rules. Eliminates the distinction between rules that are necessary with substantive public interest or necessary without substantive public interest under the provisions of GS 150B-21.3A. Eliminates those defined terms in subsection (a), and instead defines necessary rule to mean any rule other than an unnecessary rule. Makes conforming changes throughout GS 150B-21.3A to remove any language distinguishing necessary rules with or without substantive public interest.

    Amends subsection (c) of GS 150B-21.3A, which sets out the review process an agency must conduct of its existing rules at least once every 10 years. Step 1 now requires the agency to evaluate all of its existing rules and submit a report to the Rules Review Commission that includes the agency’s initial determination of whether an existing rule is necessary or unnecessary, all public comments the agency received during the comment period to the agency’s initial determination, and the agency’s response to the public comment. Step 2 of the rule review process requires the Rule Review Commission (Commission) to review the agency reports that are required in Step 1. In its review, the Commission must determine whether a public comment to a rule that the agency determined to be unnecessary in Step 1 has merit, and if the Commission determines that the public comment has merit, then the Commission must designate the rule as necessary. Currently, a public comment only has merit if it addresses the specific substance of a rule and relates to any of the standards for review of a rule by the Commission under GS 150B-21.9(a) (the four standards for review are whether the rule is within the agency’s authority, whether the rule is clear and unambiguous, whether the rule is reasonably necessary, and whether the rule was adopted in accordance with Part 2 of Article 2A of GS Chapter 150B, Adoption of Rules). This act removes the requirement that the public comment has to relate to any of the standards for review by the Commission under GS 150B-21.9(a) to have merit for purposes of Step 2 of the rule review process under GS 150B-21.3A(c)(2). Makes conforming changes.

    Section 3 applies to agency rule reports submitted to the Officer of Administrative Hearings pursuant to GS 150B-21.3A(c)(1) (Step 1 of the rule review process) on or after May 1, 2017.


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