AN ACT TO INCREASE THE TRANSPARENCY OF BOND REFERENDA BY REQUIRING ADDITIONAL DISCLOSURES BY UNITS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, TO MAKE CHANGES RECOMMENDED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION TO STRENGTHEN THE SYSTEM FOR MONITORING THE FINANCIAL OPERATIONS OF LOCAL UNITS AND OVERSIGHT OF FISCALLY TROUBLED LOCAL UNITS, AS DIRECTED BY THE CURRENT OPERATIONS APPROPRIATIONS ACT OF 2021, AND TO AUTHORIZE CHARTER SCHOOLS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE STATE TREASURER'S ANCILLARY GOVERNMENTAL PARTICIPANT INVESTMENT PROGRAM. SL 2022-53. Enacted July 7, 2022. Effective July 7, 2022, and applies to bonds issued under bond orders introduced on or after October 1, 2022, and to contracts entered into on or after October 1, 2022, except as otherwise provided.
Bill Summaries: S265 BOND INFO TRANSPARENCY/LGC TOOLKIT II. (NEW)
Summary date: Jul 26 2022 - View Summary
Summary date: Jun 28 2022 - View Summary
House committee substitute to the 3rd edition adds the following content.
Amends GS 115C-218.15 by enacting new (f) allowing funds received by a charter school under GS 115C-218.105 (concerning the allocation of State and local funds for a charter school), to be deposited with the State Treasurer for investment under GS 147-69.2(b8), to the extent allowed by the Internal Revenue Code. Deems the deposit and investment of these funds essential to providing public education in the state and the income from the investment to accrue solely to the charter school for providing public education.
Amends GS 147-69.2, concerning investments authorized for special funds held by the State Treasurer, by making the statute also applicable to funds held by the State Treasurer to the credit of funds deposited with the State Treasurer by charter schools under GS 115C-218.15(f). Enacts new (b8) to allow the State Treasure to invest those funds in any of the investments authorized under (b)(6C) and (b)(8) of the statute, notwithstanding the listed percentage limitations. Under (b)(8) the assets of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System, the Consolidated Judicial Retirement System, the Firefighters' and Rescue Workers' Pension Fund, the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System, the Legislative Retirement System, the North Carolina National Guard Pension Fund, the Registers of Deeds' Supplemental Pension Fund, and the Retiree Health Benefit Fund may be invested in a strategy composed primarily of equity securities traded on a public securities exchange or market organized and regulated pursuant to the laws of the jurisdiction of the exchange or market and issued by any company incorporated or otherwise created or located within or outside the United States as long as the investments meet the specified conditions of this subdivision. Under (b)(6C), those Retirement Systems' assets may be invested, within or outside the United States, in obligations, debt securities, and asset-backed securities, whether considered debt or equity, including obligations and securities convertible into other securities, that do not meet the requirements of any of subdivisions (b)(1) through (6) or (b)(7) of the statute. Allows the State Treasurer, for investments under 9b(6c) and (b)(8), to require a minimum deposit of up to $50,000 and assess reasonable fees of up to 15 basis points per annum; allows the fees to be used to defray investment administration costs and for expenditures authorized by the statute.
Amends GS 115C-218.100, which requires a charter school participating in the North Carolina Retirement System to, as long as it continues to participate, maintain one of the specified options for the purpose of ensuring payment of expenses related to closure proceedings in the event of a dissolution of the charter school. Expands upon those options to now also include the deposit of funds with the State Treasurer for investment under GS 147-69.2(b8); deems these funds and any income they earn as State Funds that are to be used solely for providing public education and deems the deposit and investment of these funds as essential to the provision of public education by the State.
Amends GS 147-69.3 (concerning the administration of State Treasurer's investment programs) to allow charter schools having custody of funds not required to be deposited with and invested by the State Treasurer to deposit all or any portion of those funds with the State Treasurer for investment in one of the investment programs established under the statute.
Amends GS 159-30 to allow a charter school to make contributions to a Local Government Other Post-Employment Benefits Trust.
Amends GS 159-30.1 by adding a charter school to those entities allowed to establish and fund an irrevocable trust for the purpose of paying: (1) post-employment benefits for which the entity is liable or (2) contribution-based benefit cap liability to the Local Government Employees' Retirement System. Adds the requirement that the irrevocable trust designate the monies deposited in the trust, and any income earned thereon, as governmental funds to be used solely for an essential governmental purpose.
Changes the act's long title.
Summary date: Jun 14 2022 - View Summary
House committee substitute to the 2nd edition makes the following changes.
Modifies proposed GS 159-33.2, which authorizes the Secretary of Revenue to require a local government or public authority to report events defined by the Secretary that will or may have a material, adverse effect on the financial health, operations, or internal controls of the local government or public authority within 30 days after the occurrence of such events. Directs the Local Government Commission (Commission) to adopt a policy specifying the events required to be reported under the statute and the process for reporting such events (previously, did not include the reporting procedure).
Eliminates proposed subsection (d) to GS 159-34, directing the Commission to notify the State Treasurer and the Secretary of Revenue of a unit's failure to comply with the annual audit requirements if the unit has failed to file a copy of the audit report with the Secretary (as required by subsection (a)) within 12 months of the unit's fiscal year end, and providing for withholding from the unit's distributions under GS 105-486 and GS 105-501 of 150% of the cost of the required annual audit, as specified, until the Commission notifies the State Treasurer and the Secretary that the required report has been filed, reviewed, and accepted.
Adds the following new content.
Repeals GS 135-48.55, which sets an interest rate of 1.5% to be charged to charter schools and local government units on late premiums due to the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.
Amends GS 159-7, adding a new subsection to require a local government to notify the Commission within 60 days of creating a public authority or unit subject to the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act (Article 3, GS Chapter 159), including the name and governance structure of the authority or unit and any other information requested by the Commission.
Effective January 1, 2023, amends GS 159-29, disqualifying individuals from appointment as a local government finance officer if the individual is unable to obtain a performance bond required by the statute. Changes the minimum amount of the performance bond of a finance officer to be fixed by the governing board to be the greater of $50,000 or an amount equal to 10% of the unit's annually budgeted funds, up to $1 million (previously, required to be set at at least $50,000). Similarly, disqualifies individuals from acting as a local government or public authority's officer, employee, or agent responsible for handling more than $100 of public funds, or having access to the inventories of the unit or authority, if the individual is unable to secure a performance bond of the amount set by the governing board.
Makes the act applicable to bonds issued under bond orders introduced on or after October 1, 2022, and to contracts entered into on or after October 1, 2022 (was, on the date the act became law).
Changes the act's titles.
Summary date: May 11 2021 - View Summary
Senate committee substitute deletes the content of the 1st edition and replaces it with the following.
Amends GS 159-52, adding to the findings and determinations the Local Government Commission (Commission) must make in order to approval a local government's proposed bond application, to include that the assumptions used by the finance officer of the unit in preparing the statement of estimated interest filed with the clerk pursuant to GS 159-55.1(a), as enacted, are reasonable.
Enacts GS 159-55.1, directing the finance officer to file with the clerk of the governing board of the local government a statement of disclosure after a bond order has been introduced and before the public hearing on it. Specifies required content of the statement, including a statement that the information contained in it is preliminary and for general informational purposes only, as described. Provides that the validity of the bonds authorized by the order is not subject to challenge on the grounds that actual occurrences when issued are different than the disclosures set forth in the statement. Requires the statement of disclosure to be filed with the Commission, posted online, and maintained by the clerk of the board. Repeals GS 159-55(d), which contains similar requirements (requires the finance officer to file a statement of estimated interests on bonds over the term of the bonds and a summary of assumptions upon which the estimate is based, providing for similar qualifications of the statement).
Amends GS 159-56 and GS 159-58, which govern publication of the bond order as introduced and as adopted. Revises the required elements of the accompanying statement as follows. Adds language to notice the finance officer's filing of a statement estimating the specified tax increase or that there will be no property tax increase to pay the principal and interest on the proposed bonds. Adds that the estimates may vary from the actual property tax increases required. Makes conforming changes to the summary of assumptions that can be included in each publication.
Enacts GS 159-33.2, authorizing the Secretary of Revenue to require a local government or public authority to report events defined by the Secretary that will or may have a material, adverse effect on the financial health, operations, or internal controls of the local government or public authority within 30 days after the occurrence of such events. Directs the Commission to adopt a policy specifying the event required under the statute. Requires the Secretary to make the policy publicly available within 30 days.
Enacts new subsection (d) to GS 159-34 to direct the Commission to notify the State Treasurer and the Secretary of Revenue of a unit's failure to comply with the annual audit requirements if the unit has failed to file a copy of the audit report with the Secretary (as required by subsection (a)) within 12 months of the unit's fiscal year end. Provides for withholding from the unit's distributions under GS 105-486 and GS 105-501 of 150% of the cost of the required annual audit, as specified, until the Commission notifies the State Treasurer and the Secretary that the required report has been filed, reviewed, and accepted.
Amends GS 159-148, which defines the financing agreements subject to the provisions of Article 8, to include transactions that extend for three or more years from the date of the contract and obligations over the full term of the contract to at least $50,000, including options to renew or extend, for units included on the most recently published Unit Assistance List issued by the Department of State Treasurer. Adds a new prohibition, barring dividing agreements for the purpose of or resulting in evading the requirements of Article 8. Revises the exemption from the Article for contracts for the purchase, lease, or lease with option to purchase of motor vehicles, to exclude units included on the most recently published Unit Assistance List issued by the Department of State Treasurer where the contract amount equals or exceeds $50,000.
Makes conforming changes to the act's titles.
Summary date: Mar 11 2021 - View Summary
Enacts GS 159-52(c) to require the Local Government Commission (Commission) to state three disclosures in any order approving a local government's application to issue a bond, including (1) the total amount of estimated interest using the highest interest rate, as described, (2) the governmental unit's increase in property tax liability for each $10,000 of property tax value necessary for debt service, and (3) a notice that the unit can issue additional general obligation debt of up to two-thirds of the amount of the proposed bond as the debt is retired, without a vote, specifying the calculation of that amount. Makes organizational changes.
Amends GS 159-51 to require the local governmental unit's application to the Commission for approval to issue a bond to include the required disclosures of new GS 159-52(c). Makes conforming changes to GS 159-53 to reflect the reorganization of GS 159-52.
Changes the form of the question for a referendum to approve a bond provided in GS 159-61(d) to include the required disclosures with calculated amounts as now required in GS 159-51 and GS 159-52. Applies to bonds proposed on or after the date the act becomes law.