Bill Summary for S 131 (2017-2018)

Summary date: 

Mar 23 2017

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
Senate Bill 131 (Public) Filed Thursday, February 23, 2017
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA.
Intro. by Wells, Cook, Sanderson.

View: All Summaries for BillTracking:

Bill summary

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

Changes the long title and makes organizational changes.

Part I, previously titled State and Local Government Regulation, includes new provisions in addition to the provisions of the previous edition and is now entitled Business Regulation. 

Deletes proposed amendments to GS 132-6.2 concerning the provision of public records required by public agencies under GS 132-9, enacting new subsection (a1), which established that public agencies can satisfy public record access requirements by making its public records and computer databases available online in a format that allows a person to download a copy of the records and databases. Deletes directive for the State Chief Information Officer, working with specified entities, to report on the development and use of computer databases by State and local agencies and the need for public access to these public records to the General Assembly by February 1, 2018.

Enacts new GS 95-25.24A concerning the Wage and Hour Act, providing that a franchisor is not the employer of a franchisee or the franchisee's employees for any purpose but specifically for employment law claims under state statute. Provides that franchisee and franchisor are understood to have the same definition as in federal law set out in 16 CFR 436.1. 

Amends GS 45-91, concerning the assessment of fees, processing of payments, and publication of statements in mortgage debt collection and servicing, providing that the servicer is not required to send the specified statement for a fee and that the statement mailing requirements and borrower notification requirements of the statute are deemed satisfied by compliance with the disclosure requirements contained in Regulation Z, 12 CFR 1026.41, which is a federal regulation titled Truth In Lending, and statutory provisions for periodic statements for residential mortgage loans.

Amends the North Carolina State Building Code (Building Code) in GS 143-138 by enacting a new subsection (b16) to direct the Building Code Council to provide for an exemption from any requirements in the energy efficiency standards pursuant to Chapter 13 of the 2012 Building Code and the 2012 Energy Conservation Code, and subsequent amendments to the Building Code and the Energy Conservation Code, for the specified use and occupancy classifications under Chapter 3 of the 2012 Building Code. Specifies the following: Section 306, Factory Group F; Section 311, Storage Group S; and Section 312, Utility and Miscellaneous Group U.

Part II, State and Local Government Regulation, includes new provisions in addition to provisions from the previous edition.

Amends GS 42-42.1 and GS 62-110(g) concerning charging tenants for water and sewer services, deleting language which previously only allowed such billing to tenants located in the same contiguous premises, now providing that all tenants of leased single-family rental units can be charged for sewer and water services even if premises are not contiguous. Deletes language that previously required the Utilities Commission to adopt rules to define contiguous premises. Further amends the provisions authorizing the Utilities Commission to charge for water and sewer services to tenants, enacting new subdivisions GS 62-110(g)(4a), requiring the Utilities Commission to develop an application that lessors are required to submit to receive authority to charge tenants for water and sewer service in such situations. Provides that the application gives authority to charge for such services for multiple homes in North Carolina. Sets out required aspects of the form, including a description of the proposed billing method and billing statements as well as the proposed administrative fee to be charged by the applicant. Makes conforming and clarifying changes.

Amends GS 115C-47(41), which sets out the duty of local boards of education to encourage recycling in public schools, by clarifying that the local boards of education must comply with GS 160A-327 (displacement of private solid waste collection services by public enterprises). 

Amends GS 153A-341, concerning the purposes in view of zoning regulations of counties, by moving, and amending, the existing language into five subsections, (a) through (e). Requires the governing board to adopt one of the three statements provided prior to adopting or rejecting any zoning amendment, which is not subject to judicial review (currently only sets out one statement for a governing board to adopt). Amends the existing option to allow a board to adopt a statement approving the zoning amendment and describing its consistency with an adopted comprehensive plan and explaining why the action taken is reasonable and in the public interest. Adds a second option for the board to adopt a statement rejecting the zoning amendment and describing its inconsistency with an adopted comprehensive plan and explaining why the action taken is reasonable and in the public interest. Adds a third option for the board to adopt a statement approving the zoning amendment and containing a declaration that the approval is also deemed an amendment to the comprehensive plan, an explanation of the change in conditions taken into account in amending the zoning ordinance to meet the development needs of the community, and reasons the action was reasonable and in the public interest. Requires the planning board to advise and comment on whether the proposed amendment is consistent with any comprehensive plan prior to consideration by the governing board of the proposed amendment. Defines comprehensive plan to include a unified development ordinance and any other officially adopted applicable plan. Makes organizational and technical changes. Makes conforming changes to GS 153A-349.13. Amends GS 160A-383, concerning  the purposes in view of zoning regulations of cities and towns, by moving, and amending, the existing language into five subsections, (a) through (e), to make the language identical to that of GS 153A-341, as amended by the act and described above. Makes conforming changes to GS 160A-400.32. Clarifies that nothing in the above provisions repeal, modify, or amend any prior or subsequent local act giving authority to a governing board to delegate zoning decisions to a planning board, planning agency, or planning commission. Effective October 1, 2017, and applies to proposed zoning amendment applications filed on or after that date.

Amends GS 153A-335 (Counties) and GS 160A-376 (Municipalities), concerning the subdivision of land within respective jurisdictions, exempting the subdivision of tracts of land as provided for in a will or intestate succession from subdivision regulations or from even being considered subdivision as that term is defined. Adds new subsection (c) to both  GS 153A-335 (Counties) and GS 160A-376 (Municipalities), establishing that the county or a city may require only a plat for recordation for the division of a tract or parcel of land in single ownership if five criteria are met: (1) the tract or parcel to be divided is not exempted under subdivision (a)(2) of the statute; (2) no part of the tract or parcel to be divided has been divided under subsection (c) in the 10 years prior to the division; (3) the entire area of the tract or parcel to be divided is greater than five acres; (4) after division, no more than three lots result; and (5) after division, all resultant lots comply with any lot dimension size requirements of applicable land use regulations (if any), the use of the lots is in conformity with the applicable zoning requirements (if any), and a permanent means of ingress and egress is recorded for each lot. Effective July 1, 2017.

Authorizes the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee to amend the 2016-17 Program Evaluation Division (Division) work plan to direct the Division to study State law and internal agency policies and procedures for the delivery of public services through State grants and contracts to nonprofits. Sets out procedures for collecting and requesting data for the study. Provides that if the study is conducted, the Division must submit a report detailing the results of the study as specified to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee and the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations no later than September 1, 2018. Effective September 1, 2017.

Amends Article 5 of GS Chapter 87 (Refrigeration Contractors) as follows. Renames the State Board of Refrigeration Examiners as the State Board of Refrigeration Contractors (Board) and modifies the Board's membership. 

Defines the terms commercial refrigeration contractor, industrial refrigeration contractor, refrigeration service contractor and transport refrigeration contractor

Requires the Board to issue the following licenses: (1) a Class I license for any person engaged in the business of commercial refrigeration contracting; (2) a Class II license for any person engaged in the business of industrial refrigeration contracting; (3) a Class III license for any person engaged in the business of refrigeration service contracting; and (4) a Class IV license for any person engaged in the business of transport refrigeration contracting. Requires issuance of a license to any licensee whose business activities required a Class I or II license if that licensee had an established place of business and was licensed before January 1, 2018. 

Increases the caps on the application, renewal, and reinstatement fees. Makes clarifying, conforming, and organizational changes. Effective January 1, 2018, and applies to applications submitted and Board membership appointments on or after that date.

Amends GS 105-330.9 concerning the definition of the term antique automobile for the purposes of tax assessment, expanding the ownership requirements of the definition to provide that an antique automobile can be owned by an individual, either directly or indirectly, through one or more pass through entities (previously, current law required an antique automobile to be owned by an individual).

Amends GS 132-6.1 to require databases purchased, leased, created or otherwise acquired by every public agency containing public records to be designed and maintained in a manner that does not impair or impede the public agency's ability to permit the public inspection and examination of public records, and provides a means of obtaining copies of the records. Adds new subsection to allow a public agency to satisfy the requirement of GS 132-6 to provide access to public records in computer databases by making public records in computer databases individually available online in a format that allows a person to view the public record and print or save the public record to obtain a copy. Exempts an agency that provides access to public records under this new subsection from being required to provide access to the public records in the computer database in any other way so long as a public agency that provides access to public records in computer databases also allows inspection of any of those public records the agency also maintains in a non-digital medium. Deletes existing subsection (b), which requires every public agency to create an index of computer databases compiled or created by a public agency on the provided schedule. Defines the term media or medium to mean the physical medium on which information is stored in recoverable form. Makes conforming changes to GS 132-6. Effective July 1, 2017.

Amends GS 143A-5 to specify that the Lieutenant Governor's office is in the Hawkins-Hartness House located at 310 North Blount Street (previous law only specified it was located in Raleigh). 

Enacts GS 136-28.6B providing that construction conducted by a private party pursuant to specified statutes is deemed to have been conducted by the Department of Transportation, thus making any stormwater rules and laws applicable to the Department of Transportation also applicable to the private party.

Requires the DOT, for each type of permit issued by the Highway Divisions under GS Chapter 136, to make uniform all processes and procedures followed by the Highway Divisions when issuing that type of permit. Requires DOT to report no later than February 1, 2017, on the implementation of this subsection, including information concerning the processes and procedures as specified. Requires the report to be submitted to different committees depending on whether the General Assembly is in session at the time of the report: if in session, report goes to the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation Appropriations and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Department of Transportation; if not in session, the report goes to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee.

Enacts new GS 136-93.01 to allow an application submitted for a permit issued by DOT or its agents under GS Chapter 136 (Transportation) to be submitted electronically.  Effective July 1, 2017.

Amends GS 136-19.5 to now require DOT to also reimburse the utility owner for the cost of moving cable service when DOT requires the relocation of the cable service and it is located in a right-of-way for which the utility owner contributed to the cost of acquisition.

Allows DOT to adopt temporary rules to implement the above provisions concerning moving utilities.

Amends the process for becoming a licensed general contractor as found in GS 87-10, requiring first that an applicant submit an application before being entitled to an examination. Further requires any applicant to (1) be at least 18 years old, (2) possess good moral character, (3) provide evidence of financial responsibility, and (4) submit the appropriate application fee (previously, applicant only had to file an application for the examination on the correct form, at least 30 days before any regular or special meeting of the Board).  Also provides that the State Licensing Board for General Contractors (Board) must require an applicant to pay an examination fee not to exceed $100 (previously, the Board was permitted to charge the fee but not required). Makes organizational changes and deletes provisions concerning proof of good character. Further provides that an applicant must identify an individual that has successfully passed an examination approved by the Board; provides that for the purposes of this section this individual is known as the qualifier or qualifying party.  Set outs requirements for the examination if a qualifier or qualifying party wants to take an examination. Provides that if the qualifier or qualifying party passes the examination, and after review of the application and all relevant information, then the Board must issue a license to the applicant to engage in general contracting in North Carolina, which can be limited as specified (previously, the Board would conduct an examination, either oral or written, of all applicants for license for the classification of license for which an applicant has applied).  Further amends the process for taking the examination, making conforming and organizational changes, creating a new subsection (c1) concerning the disconnection of a qualifier or qualifying party from the licensee, providing that the license will remain in full force and effect for 90 days. After 90 days the license is invalidated, but the licensee is entitled to a return to active status pursuant to all relevant statutes and rules from the Board. Provides that during the 90-day period, no licensee can bid on or undertake contracts from the time the qualifier or qualifying party ceased to be connected to the licensee until the license is reinstated (previously, in times where the examined person was disconnected from the applicant, the license was in effect for 90 days but then was canceled, with the applicant being entitled to a reexamination). Deletes provision which provided for reexamination for those failing to pass. Enacts new subsection (d1) providing that the Board can require a new application if a qualifier or qualifying party requests to take an examination a third or subsequent time.  Amends provisions concerning the validity and expiration of a license, providing that licenses expire the first day of January following their issuance or renewal (was, a certificate of license expired on the 31st day of December following its issuance or renewal).  Deletes provision providing that renewals could be effected any time during the month of January without reexamination by payment of a fee to the Board. Adds language requiring all renewal applications to be submitted with a fee as specified.  Deletes language requiring the Board to mail written notice of the amount of the renewal fees for the upcoming year by November 30.  Adds language assessing a late fee for late renewal of applications received on or after January 1st (previously, late fee was assessed if received after January). Requires a licensee to fulfill all requirements of a new applicant as provided if desiring to be relicensed subsequent to the archival of license. Provides that archived license numbers are not reissued. Deletes language that provided that no renewal of a license can be effected after a lapse of four years.  Effective October 1, 2017, and applies to applications for licensure submitted on or after that date.

Amends GS 115C-174.12(c) to eliminate the provision encouraging local school administrative units to continue to develop local testing programs.

Amends GS 1-52, concerning the statute of limitations to commence an action, adding new subdivision (21) providing for a three-year statute of limitations for a unit of local government to begin an action against the owner for a violation of a land use statute, ordinance, permit, or other official action in regards to land use. The action accrues upon the earlier of (1) the facts constituting the violation are known to the governing body or (2) the violation can be determined from the public record of the unit of local government.  Effective October 1, 2018, applying to actions commenced on or after that date. 

Amends GS 1-50(a) to add a new subdivision (8) to establish a six-year statute of limitation for an action against the owner of an interest in real property by a unit of local government for a violation of a land use statute, ordinance, or permit or any other official action concerning land use carrying the effect of law. Provides that subdivision (8) does not limit the remedy of injunction for conditions actually injurious or dangerous to the public health or safety, but does prescribe an outside limitation of six years from the earlier of the occurrence of any of the following: (1) the violation is apparent from a public right-of-way or (2) the violation is in plain view from a place to which the public is invited. Effective October 1, 2018, applying to actions commenced on or after that date.

Part III, Agriculture, Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Regulation, includes new provisions in addition to the previous provisions.

Amends the introductory clauses to SL 2015-286, Sections 4.9(a) through 4.9(d). Amends SL 2015-241, Section 14.20(e), to replace references to GS 130A-295.8A (not an existing statute) with GS 130A-295.8.

Amends SL 2015-241, Section 14.20(f), as amended and provides that GS 130A-294(b1)(2), which requires a person to franchise the operation of the sanitary landfill from each local government that has jurisdiction prior to applying for a permit for a sanitary landfill, as amended, applies to franchise agreements that (1) are executed on or after October 1, 2015, and (2) are executed on or before October 1, 2015, if all parties to a valid and operative franchise agreement consent to modify the agreement for the purpose of extending the agreement’s duration to 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). Applies to franchise agreements executed on or after October 1, 2015, and executed on or before October 1, 2015, 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. Amends GS 130A-294(b1)(2) to limit the franchise granted to a sanitary landfill for the life-of-site of the landfill to a period of 60 years. Makes conforming changes. 

Amends GS 160A-319 to clarify that the prohibition against a franchise being granted for a period of more than 60 years includes a franchise granted to a sanitary landfill for the life-of-site of the landfill under GS 130A-294(b1), provided that a franchise for solid waste collection or disposal systems and facilities, other than sanitary landfills (was, a franchise for solid waste collection or disposal systems and facilities) cannot be granted for a period of more than 30 years. 

Amends GS 153A-136(a)(3) to provide that a county may regulate the storage, collection, use, disposal, and other disposition of solid waste by an ordinance that grants a franchise the exclusive right to commercially collect or dispose of solid waste within a defined portion or all of the county and set terms of any franchise, provided no franchise is granted for a period of more than 30 years unless a franchise granted to a sanitary landfill for the life-of-site of the landfill under GS 130A-294(b1) cannot exceed 60 years (was, may set the terms of any franchise, except no franchise may be granted for a period of 30 years).

The above provisions in Part III are effective retroactively to July 1, 2015.

Directs the Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Waste Management (Department), to examine whether solid waste management activities are being conducted in a manner most beneficial to State citizens in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, as specified. Directs the Department to submit a report, including legislative recommendations, to the Environmental Review commission by May 1, 2017.

Amends GS 143-215.107A, Counties covered by the motor vehicle emissions testing and maintenance program, by removing Brunswick, Burke, Caldwell, Carteret, Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Craven, Edgecombe, Granville, Harnett, Henderson, Lenoir, Moore, Nash, Orange, Pitt, Robeson,  Rutherford, Stanly,  Stokes,  Surry, Wayne, Wilkes, and Wilson counties from the counties covered by the statute. Amends a requirement in GS 20-183.2(b) concerning vehicles that are subject to an emissions inspection, providing that if it is a vehicle with a model year within 20 years of the current year and older than the three most recent model years or it is a vehicle with a model year within 20 years of the current year and has 70,000 or more miles, and meets the two other requirements specified in the statute, then it is subject to an emissions inspection (previously, requirement was if it was a 1996 or later model and older than the three most recent model years or a 1996 or later model with 70,000 miles or more).  Effective on the later of the following dates and applies to motor vehicles inspected, or due to be inspected, on or after the effective date of the act: (1) October 1, 2017, or (2) the first day of a month that is 60 days after the DEQ certifies to the Revisor of Statutes that the EPA has approved an amendment to the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted as required. Requires the DEQ to provide notice along with the effective date of the act on its website and by written or electronic notice to emissions inspection mechanic license holders, emissions inspection station licensees, and self-inspector licensees in the counties where motor vehicle emissions inspection requirements are removed by the act. Directs DEQ to prepare and submit to the US EPA for approval by that agency a proposed NC SIP amendment based on the change to the motor vehicle emissions testing program provided in these provisions by September 30, 2017.

Amends GS 90-187.10, concerning licenses for certain veterinary practices, providing that a license is not needed for a farrier or any person engaged in the activity or profession of shoeing hooved animals, provided that the person's actions are limited to shoeing hooved animals or trimming, clipping, or maintaining hooves.

Adds the requirement that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) study whether the size of riparian buffers for intermittent streams should be adjusted and whether the allowable activities should be modified.  Also requires a study of under what circumstances local governments should be allowed to exceed riparian buffer requirements mandated by the State and federal government. Requires DEQ to also consider measures to ensure that local governments do not exceed their statutory authority for establishing riparian buffer requirements. Requires DEQ to consult with property owners and others entities impacted by riparian buffer requirements as well as local governments. Requires that for any recommendations made pursuant to this study or the DEQ study on whether to adjust the size of riparian buffers and activities allowed within the buffers to be submitted in a report to the Environmental Review Commission no later than December 1, 2017. DEQ must also include specific draft language for any rule or statutory changes necessary to implement the recommendations.

Repeals GS 106-261 to eliminate the required reports to the Commissioner of Agriculture concerning milk purchased or sold.

Makes clarifying change to the proposed changes to GS 143-214.7 to exclude from the definition for built-upon area for purposes of implementing stormwater programs landscaping material, including, but not limited to, gravel, mulch, sand, and vegetation placed on areas that receive pedestrian or bicycle traffic or on portions of driveways and parking areas that will not be compacted by the weight of the vehicle, such as the area between sections of pavement that support the weight of the vehicle (currently, will not receive the full weight of vehicular traffic). 

Deletes the proposed change to GS 134-214.7C (Prohibit the requirement of mitigation for impacts to intermittent streams and establishing a threshold for mitigation of impacts to streams) that added new subsection (c) providing that for losses of 300 linear feet or more of stream bed, mitigation was not required for 300 linear feet of those losses.

Part IV, Eliminate, Consolidate, and Amend Reports to the Environmental Review Commission, includes a new provision as well as previous provisions.

Repeals GS 143-215.107 to eliminate the annual report on emissions from state employee and private sector vehicles by the Department of Environmental Quality. Makes technical and conforming changes to the Section's introductory descriptive language in the act.

© 2021 School of Government The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This work is copyrighted and subject to "fair use" as permitted by federal copyright law. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the express written permission of the publisher. Distribution by third parties is prohibited. Prohibited distribution includes, but is not limited to, posting, e-mailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, installing on intranets or servers, and redistributing via a computer network or in printed form. Unauthorized use or reproduction may result in legal action against the unauthorized user.

Printer-friendly: Click to view