Bill Summary for S 453 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

Mar 30 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 453 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 25, 2015
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA BY PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS, BY ELIMINATING CERTAIN UNNECESSARY OR OUTDATED STATUTES AND REGULATIONS AND MODERNIZING OR SIMPLIFYING CUMBERSOME OR OUTDATED REGULATIONS, AND BY MAKING VARIOUS OTHER STATUTORY CHANGES.
Intro. by Wade, Brock, B. Jackson.

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Bill summary

Part I. Administrative Reforms

Section 1.1

Repeals GS 14‑197 (Using profane or indecent language on public highways; counties exempt) and GS 14‑401.8 (Refusing to relinquish party telephone line in emergency; false statement of emergency).

Section 1.2

Enacts new GS 150B-25.1 to provide that the petitioner in a contested case has the burden of proving the facts by a preponderance of the evidence. Places the burden on the state agency when the contested case involves the imposition of civil fines or penalties to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the person actually committed the act for which the fine or penalty was imposed. Places the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that a career state employee subject to GS Chapter 126 was discharged, suspended, or demoted for just cause on the agency.

Requires the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee to study whether there are other categories of contested cases where the burned of proof should be placed with the agency. 

Applies to contested cases commenced on or after the date the section becomes effective.

Section 1.3

Amends GS 120-121 by adding two new subsections, (e) and (f), regarding legislative appointments. Under subsection (e), when the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Speaker) or the President Pro Tempore of the Senate (President Pro Tem) is directed by law to make a recommendation for an appointment by the General Assembly and the legislator is also directed to make the recommendation in consultation or upon the recommendation of a third party, the following applies: (1) the recommendation or consultation is discretionary and not binding upon the legislator, (2) the third party must make the recommendation or consultation at least 60 days before the expiration of the term or within 10 business days from the occurrence of a vacancy, and (3) failure by the third party to submit the recommendation or consultation to the legislature within the required time periods are to be viewed as a waiver by the third party of the opportunity. Provides that subsection (f) applies when the Speaker or the President Pro Tem is directed by law to make a recommendation for an appointment by the General Assembly and the legislator is also directed to make the recommendation from nominees provided by a third party. Under subsection (f), the third party must submit the nominees at least 60 days before the expiration of the term or within 10 business days from when the vacancy occurs; if the third party fails to submit the nomination to the legislator within the time periods required under this subsection, the failure to submit the nomination is deemed a waiver on the part of the third party.

Enacts new GS 120-124, Appointments made by legislators, to provide that in any case where a legislator is called upon by law to appoint a member to a board or commission on the recommendation or in consultation with a third party, the recommendation or consultation is discretionary and is not binding on the legislator. Requires the third party to submit the recommendation or consultation at least 60 days before the expiration of the term or within 10 business days from the occurrence of a vacancy. Provides that in any case where a legislator is called upon by law to appoint a member to a board or commission from nominees provided by a third party, the third party must submit the recommendation or consultation at least 60 days before the expiration of the term or within 10 business days from the occurrence of a vacancy. Provides that this subsection does not apply to nominations made under GS 120-99(a) (creation and composition of the Legislative Ethics Committee) nor under GS 120-100(b) (filling a vacancy on the Legislative Ethics Committee). Failure to submit the recommendation, consultation, or nomination within the time periods required under this section shall be deemed a waiver of the opportunity by the third party.

Makes this section effective when it becomes law and applies to recommendations, consultations, and nominations made on or after that date.

Part II. Business Regulation

Section 2.1

Amends GS 93A-2(c)(1), concerning license requirements of real estate brokers, providing that owners of an exempt closely held business as well as officers, managers, and employees of a closely held business entity owned by a person meeting the specified qualifications are not subject to licensure or other requirements found in GS 93A-1 or GS 93A-2. Makes organizational and clarifying changes to the statute. No longer requires managers of an exempt limited liability company to be engaged in acts or services for which the entity would be exempt in order be eligible for the exemption. Also extends the exemption to employees of an exempt limited liability company or an exempt partnership.

Part III. State and Local Government Regulations

Section 3.1

Amends Subsection 6A.14(a) of SL 2011-145 to require that agencies report annually, instead of quarterly, on issues related to agency mobile phones.

Section 3.2

Amends GS 20-27.6 to allow, instead of require, a sign designating a handicapped parking space to state the maximum penalty for parking in the space in violation of the law. Adds that a sign designating the handicapped parking space must not state the incorrect maximum penalty. Also increases the minimum fine for parking in a handicapped space without the required placard from $100 to $250 and increases the maximum from $250 to $500. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2015. 

Section 3.3

Amends GS 14-56 to add that it is not illegal for any person to break or enter any railroad car, motor vehicle, trailer, aircraft, boat, or other watercraft if: (1) the person acts in good faith to access a person inside the railroad car, motor vehicle, trailer, aircraft, boat, or watercraft to provide first aid or emergency health care treatment or because the person inside is in imminent danger; (2) it is reasonably apparent that the circumstances require prompt decisions and actions in medical, other health care, or other assistance; or (3) the necessity of immediate health care treatment or removal of the person is so reasonably apparent that any delay in the rendering of treatment or removal would seriously worsen the physical condition or endanger the life of the person. Applies to offenses committed on or after July 1, 2015.

Section 3.4

Enacts new Article 43F, Immunity for Damage to Vehicle, in GS Chapter 1 to provide immunity from civil liability for damage done to a railroad car, motor, vehicle, trailer, aircraft, boat, or other watercraft if one of the same three circumstances described in Section 3.3 above exist. Applies to causes of action arising on or after July 1, 2015.

Section 3.5

Amends various provisions of GS Chapter 15A to provide that a petition for expunction can not be denied solely based on a boating violation.

Section 3.6

Amends GS 20-84 to allow the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue a permanent license plate for a trailer used as an attachment to the rear of a motorcycle. Effective July 1, 2015.

Section 3.7

Amends GS 20-137.1 to increase the penalty for having an unsecured child in a motor vehicle from $25 to $100. Provides that the failure to restrain an occupant who appears to be a child less than eight years old and less than 80 pounds is justification for stopping a vehicle. Deletes the provision prohibiting convicting a driver charged for failure to have a child under age eight properly secured in a restraint system if the driver produces proof at the trial that the driver has subsequently acquired an approved restrain system for the vehicle in which the child is normally transported. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2015.

Section 3.8

Amends GS 122C-81 to allow exempting an MH/DD/SA provider that is accredited under the statute and in good standing with the national accrediting agency from routine monitoring that is duplicative of the national oversight. 

Section 3.9

Amends GS 130A-248 to provide that the issuance of a new permit or a transitional permit voids any previously issued permit for an establishment in that location.

Section 3.10

Amends SL 2011-145, Section 10.7(b), to require the Childcare Commission to recommend comprehensive (was, review and approve) evidence-based early childhood curricula with a reading component. Deletes the requirement that the curricula be included in More at Four. Makes conforming changes. Requires the North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development report (Foundations) produced by the North Carolina Foundations Task Force standards to be used by four‑ and five‑star daycare facilities for selecting any curriculum and formative assessments that are used by the facilities in each classroom where four‑year‑old children are enrolled. Specifies administrator teacher  training requirements, as well as requirements for training other instructional staff. 

Part IV. Environmental and Natural Resources Regulation

Section 4.1

Enacts new Part 7D in GS Chapter 8, Environmental Audit Privilege and Limited Immunity, to create an environmental audit privilege to protect the confidentiality of communications relating to voluntary internal environmental audits. Defines environmental audit. Applies to activities regulated under environmental laws including (1) Article 7 of GS Chapter 74; (2) GS Chapter 104E; (3) Article 25 of GS Chapter 113; (4) Articles 1, 4, and 7 of GS Chapter 113A; (5) Article 9 of GS Chapter 130A; (6) Articles 21, 21A, and 21B of GS Chapter 143; and (7) Part 1 of Article 7 of GS Chapter 143B. Makes an environmental audit report privileged and immune from discovery and provides that it is not admissible as evidence in civil or administrative proceedings instituted by an enforcement agency. Lists seven documents that are exempt from the privilege. Provides that the privilege does not apply to criminal investigations or proceedings.

Provides that the privilege does not apply to the extent that it is expressly waived in writing. Specifies persons to whom the audit report and information generated from the audit may be disclosed without waiving privilege. Specifies instances in which disclosure of the audit does not constitute a waiver.

Requires an owner or operator, in order to assert the privilege, to notify the enforcement agency of the existence of the audit no later than 10 working days after an agency completes an inspection.

Allows an enforcement agency to seek by motion a declaratory ruling on the issue of whether an environmental audit report is privileged in a civil or administrative proceeding. Sets forth the circumstances under which the privilege can be revoked.

Provides that a party asserting the privilege has the burden of providing that (1) the materials claimed as privileged constitute an environmental audit report and (2) compliance has been achieved or will be within a reasonable period of time. A party seeking disclosure has the burden of providing the condition for disclosure.

Provides that the owner or operator of a facility is immune from imposition of civil and administrative penalties and fines for a violation of environmental laws voluntarily disclosed. The waiver of penalties and fines is not granted until the agency has certified that the violation was corrected within a reasonable period of time. Specifies conditions that must be met in order for a disclosure to be considered voluntary. Specifies factors that make a disclosure nonvoluntary. A voluntary disclosure is subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act.

Prohibits local laws, rules, ordinances, or permit conditions that circumvent or limit the privilege or the exercise of the privileges or the presumption and immunity established.

Provides that an owner or operator of a facility who makes a voluntary disclosure of a violation of environmental laws discovered through performance of an environmental audit is only entitled to exercise the privilege or immunity once in a two-year period, no more than twice in a five-year period, and no more than three times in a ten-year period.

Effective July 1, 2015, and applies to environmental audits conducted on or after that date.

Section 4.2

Amends GS 143-64.12 to no longer require energy audits to be conducted.

Section 4.3

Repeals GS 74-54.1(c), no longer requiring reporting on the costs of The Mining Act of 1971.

Repeals GS 113-175.6, no longer requiring the annual report on the Marine Resources Fund and the Endowment Fund.

Amends GS 113-182.1 to no longer require a report on the development and implementation of fishery management plans.

Repeals GS 143B-279.15 to no longer require reporting on the One-Stop for Certain Environmental Permits Program.

Repeals GS 143B-289.44(d) to no longer require the report on the North Carolina Aquariums Fund.

Repeals GS 159I-29 to no longer require reports on loans made from the Solid Waste Management Loan Fund.

Repeals Section 2.3 of SL 2007-485 to no longer require the report on waterfront access.

Section 4.4

Requires the Coastal Resources Commission (Commission) to amend its rules for the use of temporary erosion control structures: (1) to allow the placement of temporary erosion control structures on a property experiencing coastal erosion even if there are no imminently threatened structures on the property if the property is adjacent to a property where temporary erosion control structures have been placed; (2) to allow the placement of contiguous temporary erosion control structures from one shoreline boundary of a property to the other shoreline boundary, regardless of proximity to an imminently threatened structure; and (3) requires the termination date of all permits for contiguous temporary erosion control structures on the same property to be the same and be the latest termination date for any of the permits. Also requires the Commission to adopt temporary rules to implement this section no later than December 31, 2015, and requires adopting permanent rules to implement this section.

Section 4.5

Repeals Part 8, Sedimentation Control Commission (Commission), of Article 7 of GS Chapter 143B. Amends various statutes in GS Chapters 113A, 143B, and 150B to make the Environmental Management Commission (EMC)  responsible for duties previously delegated to the Commission. Makes conforming changes to GS 143B-282. Requires the EMC to review rules adopted by the Commission and amend or repeal any rules that the EMC determines are outdated, unnecessary, duplicative, or confusing. Requires the EMC to report on any action taken to the Environmental Review Commission by January 1, 2016. Effective June 30, 2015.

Section 4.6

Repeals GS 130A-309.134(h) to no longer require reporting on the weight of discarded equipment recycled and associated compliance activities. 

Section 4.7

Repeals GS 130A-309.135(g) to no longer require reporting on recycled televisions.

Section 4.8

Repeals GS 130A-309.140, no longer requiring reporting on recycling of discarded computer equipment and televisions.

Section 4.9

Requires DENR to study ways to optimize the state's recycling requirements for discarded computer equipment and televisions. Specifies items that must be included in the study. Requires DENR to report to the Environmental Review Commission on or before December 1, 2015.

Section 4.12

Amends GS 130A-310.31 to provide that prospective developer has the same meaning as bona fide prospective purchaser under the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act. Applies to notices of Intent to Redevelop a Brownfields Property filed on or after July 1, 2015.

Section 4.13

Repeals GS 105-102.6, concerning incentives for the recycling of newsprint and magazines and for the use of newsprint that contains recycled content.

Repeals GS 130A-309.17(d) and (i), concerning fees for the registration of persons transporting, collecting, or recycling used oil.

Part V.

Includes a severability clause.

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