Bill Summary for S 734 (2013-2014)

Summary date: 

Jun 25 2014

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
Senate Bill 734 (Public) Filed Wednesday, May 14, 2014
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THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA BY PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS, BY ELIMINATING CERTAIN UNNECESSARY OR OUTDATED STATUTES AND REGULATIONS AND MODERNIZING OR SIMPLIFYING CUMBERSOME OR OUTDATED REGULATIONS, AND BY MAKING VARIOUS OTHER STATUTORY CHANGES.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, B. Jackson, Brock.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute deletes all of the provisions of the previous edition, unless otherwise indicated. and makes the following changes: 

ELIMINATE, AS OBSOLETE, THE SMALL BUSINESS CONTRACTOR  AUTHORITY, THE COMMITTEE ON DROPOUT PREVENTION, THE STATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, THE STATE EDUCATION COMMISSION, THE NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA DESIGNATION COMMISSION, THE GOVERNOR'S MANAGEMENT COUNCIL, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE NORTH CAROLINA CENTER FOR NURSING, THE BOARD OF CORRECTIONS; AND TO ENCOURAGE THE CHIEF JUSTICE TO ABOLISH THE ACTUAL INNOCENCE COMMISSION

Included in the previous edition, but deletes the provision which encouraged the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court to take action to formally abolish the NC Actual Innocence Commission. Also provides that the committees and commissions termination dates as provided for in this section are August 1, 2014 (was, July 1, 2014 in the previous edition). 

Terminates the Committee on Dropout Prevention August (was, July) 1, 2014. Terminates the National Heritage Area Designation Committee on August (was, July) 1, 2014.

CLARIFY PROCESS FOR READOPTION OF EXISTING RULES

Included in the previous edition but makes technical changes.

AUTHORIZE LICENSING BOARDS TO ADOPT RULES FOR PROFESSIONAL CORPORATIONS 

Included in the previous edition.

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING BOARD REPORTING AMENDMENTS

Included in the previous edition.

OAH ELECTRONIC FILING

Included in the previous edition but makes technical changes.

STREAMLINE RULE-MAKING PROCESS

Included in the previous edition.

PROHIBIT CERTAIN HEADLIGHTS

Amends GS 20-131 (Requirements as to headlamps and auxiliary driving lamps) by creating a new subsection, GS 20-131(b1), that provides that no person will operate a vehicle with headlamps that change the original design or performance of the headlamps and do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108. A violation of this subsection will result in a $100 infraction. Effective December 1, 2014, applying to offenses on or after that date. 

BAIL BOND SHIELD AMENDMENT

Amends GS 58-71-40 to allow the design of the shield carried by licensed bailbondsmen and runners to be altered by enameling or other specified processes to accommodate the license number, as long as the digits of the number are gold in color and at least 3/8 inches in height. Requires the size of the shield to be 1.88 inches wide and 2.36 inches high. 

Amends GS 15A-540, concerning the surrender of a defendant by a surety, providing that a surety may utilize the services and assistance of any surety bondsman, professional bondsman, or runner licensed under GS 58-71-40 to effect the arrest or surrender of a defender.

REPEAL OUTDATED PUBLIC UTILITIES STATUTES OR REPORTS

Repeals GS 62-36.1 and GS 62-36A (both concerning natural gas planning). Amends GS 62-158(d) and 62-159(d), making conforming changes and deleting the specified reporting requirements. 

Repeals GS 62-133.2(g), which required the Utilities Commission to report, on July 1 of every odd-numbered year, to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations on specified proceedings. 

Repeals SL 2002-4, Section 14; SL 2007-397, Section 14; and SL 1995-27, Section 6.1, all of which contained various public utilities reports.

MERCHANT EXEMPTION FROM LOCKSMITH LICENSING

Amends GS 74F-16, providing that the provisions and limitations of this section regarding locksmith licensing does not apply to a merchant or hardware store that does not purport to be a locksmith and duplicates keys, including the duplication of a transponder type key that requires programming (previously, did not allow for the duplication of a transponder type key without a license). 

CLARIFY PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER EXEMPTION

Amends GS 89C-25 to provide that GS Chapter 89C (engineering and land surveying) does not prevent (in addition to those items listed in the statute): (1) the practice of architecture, as defined in GS Chapter 83A, landscape architecture as defined in GS Chapter 89A, or contracting as defined in Articles 1, 2, 4, and 5 of GS Chapter 87; (2) engaging in engineering or land surveying as an employee or assistant under the responsible charge of a professional (deletes employees or assistants of a nonresident professional provided that the work may not include responsible charge of design or supervision); and (3) the engineering or surveying activities of a person as defined in GS 89C-3(5) who is engaged in manufacturing, processing, producing, or transmitting and delivering a product, and which activities are reasonably necessary and connected with the primary services performed by individuals regularly employed in the ordinary course of business by the person, provided that the activity is not a holding out or an offer of engineering or surveying services (deletes current language concerning the internal engineering or surveying activities of a person, firm, or corporation engaged in manufacturing, processing, or producing a product, including activities of public service corporations, public utility companies, authorities, state agencies, railroads, or membership cooperatives, or the installation and servicing of the product in the field, and so forth). Specifies what is included in activities reasonably necessary and connected with the primary service and requires activities performed under this third category to be under the responsible charge of a licensed professional engineer or licensed professional surveyor when the safety of the public is directly involved.

Amends GS 89C-19 to prohibit the state or its political subdivisions from engaging in engineering or land surveying involving public or private property where the safety of the public is directly involved without the project being under the direct supervision of a professional engineer or land surveyor.

STUDY SERVICE OF PROCESS IN SUMMARY EJECTMENT 

Directs the Legislative Research Commission to study to what extent service of process should be accomplished by an entity other than the local sheriff for summary ejectment proceedings. Findings and recommendations are to be reported to the 2015 General Assembly on or before January 20, 2015. 

CLARIFY EFFECTIVE DATE OF DEFINITION OF DISCHARGE WASTE

Amends Section 17 of SL 2012-187 to provide that Section 11 of the act (which amended the term "discharge" to provide that it does not include an emission which is a release into the outdoor atmosphere of air contaminants) is effective when the act became law and applies to contested cases filed or pending on or after the date that the act became law.

STUDY MEMBERSHIP UNDER INSURANCE GUARANTY ASSOCIATION ACT

Directs the Department of Insurance, in consultation with the Departments of Labor and Commerce, to study issues related to whether claims by a workers' compensation group self-insurer, merging with a NC Insurance Guaranty Association member insurer on or after January 1, 1997, should be covered by the Association. The study should also consider when a group self-insurer's membership in the Association terminates in the event of merger with a mutual or stock insurance company. Recommendations from the study will be reported to the 2015 General Assembly on or before January 20, 2015.

SPECIALTY MARKETS

Amends GS 66-255 to add that for purposes of the registration list kept by a specialty market operator or the operator of an event where space is provided to a vendor, the exemptions in GS 66-256 applicable to farmers markets and tailgate markets apply

ADA REQUIREMENTS FOR PRIVATE POOLS

Requires swimming pools to be accessible only to the extent required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and federal rules and regulations adopted under the act. Requires the Building Code Council to adopt a rule to amend Section 1109.14 of the 2012 NC State Building Code that is consistent with this requirement.

REMOVE SUNSET FOR CERTAIN COLUMBARIUM

Amends GS 65-47, providing that a columbarium that is built on or before January 23, 2015 (date previously not included in the section) on the grounds of a private or a self-contained retirement community in a county where no commercially available columbarium exists, funded only by the residents of that community and reserved for the residents' use, will be exempt from the provisions of the NC Cemetery Act (previously, included an expiration date for the section, January 23, 2015, which has now been deleted).

Amends SL 2013-335, concerning the exemption for certain columbariums, providing that the act is effective when it becomes law (previously, expired 18 months after the act became law).

STUDY INSURANCE RATES

Directs the Legislative Research Commission to study whether the Commissioner of Insurance should have the authority to specify overall rates that do not exceed the rates proposed by the Bureau filing. The findings from the study, along with any legislative recommendations, are to be submitted to the 2015 General Assembly prior to the convening of the 2015 Regular Session. 

STUDY STATUTORY CHANGES RELATED TO CORPORATIONS LAW

Directs the Joint Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee to study the creation of statutory language which would permit a NC corporation to be merged, without shareholder authorization, into a direct or indirect wholly owned subsidiary of the NC corporation as well as allowing a NC corporation to designate an exclusive forum for shareholder disputes.  The findings from the study, along with any legislative recommendations, are to be submitted to the 2015 General Assembly prior to the convening of the 2015 Regular Session. 

JUMP START OUR BUSINESS START-UPS ACT

Amends GS 78-17 to add a new exemption to the list of transactions that are exempt from the registration and filing requirements to include the offer or sale of securities conducted in accordance with proposed GS 78A-17.1, the Invest NC exemption.

Adds new GS 78A-17.1, Invest NC Exemption, to Article 3 of GS Chapter 78A. Provides for an exemption from the registration requirements of GS 78A-24 and GS 78A-49(d) for the offer or sale of a security if the offer or sale is conducted in accordance with each of the specified 13 requirements. The requirements include specified caps (which must be adjusted every fifth year to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index) on the sum of all cash and other consideration received for all sales of the security in reliance upon the exemption, with the cap amount varying depending on whether the issuer has undergone a financial audit; the issuer has not accepted more than $2,000 from any single purchaser except accredited investors; the issuer files appropriate and timely notice containing specified information; the issuer informs prospective purchasers that the securities have not been registered and are subject to limitations on resale, including displaying specified information in the disclosure document; and specified requirements are met when the offer and sale of securities is made through a website.

Requires an issuer of security for which the offer of sale is exempt under this section to submit a free-of-charge quarterly report to the issuer's investors until there are no outstanding securities issued under this section. Permits the reporting requirement to be satisfied by making the information available on a website if the information is made available within 45 days of the end of each fiscal quarter and remains available until the succeeding quarterly report is issued. Requires an issuer to provide a written copy of the report to any shareholder upon request. Specifies content required to be in the report. Provides criteria for offers and sales to controlling persons, defined as an officer, director, partner, trustee, or individuals having similar status or performing similar functions as the issuer, or a person owning 10 percent or more of the outstanding shares of any class or classes of securities of the issuer. Provides for a disqualification for the exemption if an issuer or person affiliated with the issuer or offering is subject to any of the specified disqualifications.  However, makes the disqualification provisions inapplicable if there is a (1) showing of good cause and without prejudice to any other action by the Administrator, the Administrator determines that it is not necessary that an exemption be denied and (2) the issuer shows that the issuer made factual inquiry as to the existence of any disqualification and could not have known that a disqualification existed even with the exercise of reasonable care. Authorizes the Administrator to adopt rules to implement the statute and protect investors who purchase securities under this statute.

Makes a conforming change to GS 78A-49(d) regarding the informational filing requirement.

Requires the Secretary of State (Administrator) to adopt rules to implement this act within 12 months. Provides for a 15-day notice and comment period and requires the Administrator to hold at least one public hearing on the rules. Provides that the rules become effective on the first day of the month following the date the rules are adopted and sent to the Codifier of Rules for entry into the Administrative Code. Provides that this provision expires 12 months after the effective date of this act.

These provisions are effective when the act becomes law and expire on July 1, 2017, unless otherwise indicated.

NOTIFY PROPERTY OWNERS OF RIGHT-OF-WAY TRANSFERS

Amends GS 136-66.10 (dedication of right-of-way under local ordinances) to require local governments that require or accept right-of-way dedications in exchange for transferred density credits to notify the applicant and the property owner when the local government begins review of or negotiations for a right-of-way dedication and associated density credit transfer, whichever occurs first. Provides details for sending the notification and providing notification when the property owner is not the applicant. Applies to dedications occurring on or after October 1, 2014. 

DOT CONDEMNATION/CORRIDOR MAP CHANGES

Amends GS 136-113 to provide that interest on the damages awarded a DOT condemnation is calculated from the date of the taking to the date the judgment is paid (was, to the date of the judgment). Applies to condemnation actions filed on or after July 1, 2015.

Amends GS 136-119 to require the court to award the owner of the condemned property costs, disbursements, and expenses, including attorneys' fees, if the final judgment exceeds the amount of the initial deposit by 35 percent or more. Limits attorneys' fees to one-third of the difference between the verdict, plus interest, and the initial deposit, and prohibits the fee from exceeding the prevailing hourly rate in the county where the land is located. Applies to condemnation actions filed on or after July 1, 2015.

Amends GS 136-44.51 to prohibit an application for a building permit issuance or subdivision plat approval for a tract subject to a valid transportation corridor official map from being delayed for more than two years (was, three years) from the date of its original submittal. Effective July 1, 2014.

NOTICE TO CHRONIC VIOLATORS

Repeals GS 160A-200 (city annual notice to chronic violators of overgrown vegetation ordinance).

Amends GS 160A-200.1 (annual notice to chronic violators of public nuisance ordinance) to add that cities may also give notice to a chronic violator of the municipality's overgrown vegetation ordinance in accordance with this statute.

ALLOW FOR DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT OF FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES IN ZONING

Amends GS 153A-340 (applying to counties) and GS 160A-381 (applying to cities) to allow a zoning or unified development ordinance to differentiate, with respect to fraternities and sororities, in terms of the regulations applicable to fraternities or sororities between those that are approved or recognized by a college or university and those that are not, as follows: (1) the ordinance must allow a fraternity or sorority suspended or not recognized at least two years to reestablish approval or recognition, (2) the ordinance must allow a fraternity or sorority seeking approval or recognition at least three years to establish approval or recognition, and (3) the ordinance must require that a property may not be occupied successively by a fraternity or sorority seeking to reestablish approval or recognition and one seeking approval or recognition, and vice versa, unless the property is occupied by a fraternity or sorority approved or recognized for at least 12 successive months between the two.

REPEAL SUPERMAJORITY EFFECT OF PROTEST PETITIONS

Repeal protest petitions (new) Repeals GS 160A-385(a) (stating the General Assembly's finding that it is necessary and desirable to provide for the establishment of certain vested rights in order to ensure reasonable certainty, stability, and fairness in the land use planning process, secure the reasonable expectations of landowners, and foster cooperation between the public and private sectors in the area of land use planning). Repeals GS 160A-386 (protest petition; form; requirements; time for filing). Makes conforming changes to GS 122C-403. Provides that the section also repeals any local act authority for submission, review, or action by any city upon any zoning protest petition, whether or not enacted as a provision in a municipal charter.

REPEAL OBSOLETE DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE STATUTES

Repeals GS 58-2-170 (Annual statements by professional liability insurers; medical malpractice claim reports); GS 58-3-191(a) (which required each health benefit plan to annually file in the office of the Commissioner the specified information for the previous calendar year) and (b1) (when provided that effective March 1, 1998, insurers shall make the reports that are required under subsection (a) of this section and that have been filed with the Commissioner available on their business premises and shall provide any insured access to them upon request); GS 58-67-140(a)(7) (allowing HMO license suspension or revocation for knowingly publishing or making any false statement or report, including any report or any data that serves as the basis for any report, required to be submitted under GS 58-3-191); GS 58-36-3(c) (requiring the Department of Insurance to report annually to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the effectiveness of SL 2001-389 in assuring the provision of insurance coverage to motorcyclists at fair and economical rates); GS 58-40-130(e) (concerning a report that was to be made by July 1, 1988); and GS 58-50-95 (the Commissioner shall report annually to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services regarding the nature and appropriateness of reviews conducted under this Part). Makes conforming changes.

STUDY POST-ARREST PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES NOT PUBLIC

Requires the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Department of Public Safety to study whether photos of individuals charged with a crime should be a public record. Requires a report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety by December 31, 2014.

COMPLIANCE WITH BUILDING CODE INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS

Amends GS 153A-360 (county inspections of work in progress) to provide that the statute's provisions are subject to GS 153A-235(a) (which provides that a county may not adopt a local ordinance or resolution or any other policy that requires regular, routine inspections of buildings or structures constructed in compliance with the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings in addition to the specific inspections required by the North Carolina Building Code without first obtaining approval from the North Carolina Building Code Council).

Amends GS 160A-420 (city inspections of work in progress) to provide that the statute's provisions are subject to GS 160A-412(b) (a city may not adopt a local ordinance or resolution or any other policy that requires regular, routine inspections of buildings or structures constructed in compliance with the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings in addition to the specific inspections required by the North Carolina Building Code without first obtaining approval from the North Carolina Building Code Council). 

STUDY ETHICS REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTAIN CITY OFFICALS

Requires the State Ethics Commission and the UNC School of Government to study the implications and impact of requiring city and county elected officials to file a statement of economic interest. Requires a report to the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee on or before December 31, 2014.

BUILDING CODE STUDY

Requires the NC Building Code Council to study the authority given to local building inspectors in those counties and cities where building plans are reviewed and approved before the issuance of a building permit pursuant to specified statutes. Requires a report to the 2015 General Assembly.

BRAC RELATED AMENDMENTS

Retains provisions from Section 3.37 and makes the following additions.

Enacts new GS 127C-5 to allow the NC Military Affairs Commission (Commission) and the Department of Commerce (Department) to share documents and discussions protected from disclosure with other public bodies; shared information is confidential and exempt from GS Chapter 132 to the same extent that it is confidential in the Commission’s or Department’s possession. Also allows the Commission and Department to share documents and discussions protected from disclosure, with any third party in its discretion, in carrying out the Commission’s purposes. Shared information must be shared under an agreement to keep the information confidential to the same extent that it is confidential in the Commission’s or Department’s possession.

Amends GS 132-1.2 to add that nothing in GS Chapter 132 requires disclosure of documents related to the federal government’s process to determine closure or realignment of military installations until a final decision has been made in that process. Amends GS 143-318.11 to allow holding a closed session to discuss matters relating to military installation closure or realignment. Effective for meetings held on or after October 1, 2014.

ABC PERMITS/SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES

Amends GS 18B-1006(a) to prohibit a permit for the sale of alcoholic beverages (was, sale of malt beverages, unfortified wine, or fortified wine) from being issued to a business on the campus or property of a public school, college, or university (was, just of a public school or college). Adds to and amends the exemptions.

EXTEND DEADLINE FOR ADOPTION OF DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY RULES

Amends Section 1.10(c) of SL 2011-401 by extending the deadline by which the Division of Employment Security (Division) must adopt all existing rules and regulations under GS Chapter 150B, Article 2A, from December 31, 2012, to December 31, 2015. Effective December 31, 2012.

Requires the Division to report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance on its progress by September 3, 2014. Amends GS 120-70.156 to add to the powers of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance the ability to review rules adopted by the Division and recommending policies and procedures to ensure the Division is operating in conformity with GS Chapter 96 and federal laws and regulations.

BUILDING CODE ALTERNATE APPROVAL METHODS STUDY

Requires the NC Building Code Council to study the policies and procedures for the approval of alternative materials, designs, or methods. Specifies three elements that must be included in the study. Requires a report to the 2015 General Assembly on or before January 20, 2015.

CLARIFY OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT FOR CODE OFFICIALS

Amends GS 143-151.8 to provide that for purposes of the Article (North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board), willful misconduct, gross negligence, or gross incompetence also includes four additional items, including the enforcement of a code requirement applicable to a certain area or set of circumstances in other areas or circumstances not specified in the requirement, and the enforcement of a requirement that is more stringent than or otherwise exceeds the code requirement. Requires the NC Code Officials Qualification Board to, by October 1, 2014, notify all Code enforcement officials in the state of the clarification to the grounds for disciplinary action enacted by this section.

ENFORCE MUNICIPAL FLOODPLAIN ORDINANCE IN ETJ

Amends GS 160A-360(k) to add that for complying with 44 CFR Part 60, Subpart A, property that is exempt from the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction under subsection (k) is subject to the county’s floodplain ordinance or all floodplain regulation provisions of the county’s unified development ordinance.

Amends GS 20-84(b) to allow the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue permanent plates for a motor vehicle owned and exclusively operated by a nonprofit corporation authorized to operate a charter school and identified by a decal or marking showing the nonprofit’s name.

CLARIFY WHEN A COUNTY OR MUNICIPALITY MAY ENACT ZONING ORDINANCES RELATED TO DESIGN AND AESTHETIC CONTROLS

Amends GS 160A (Cities and Towns) and GS 153A (Counties) by adding new GS 160A-381(g) and GS 153A-340(k), prohibiting zoning and development regulation ordiances related to building design elements adopted under the Part, or under recommendations made under GS 160A-452(6)c. (a governing development board's recommendation for the adoption of certain regulations that will enhance the appearance of the municipality or its surrounding areas) from applying to structures subject to North Carolina's Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings except in the following situations: (1) structures in areas designated as local historic districts; (2) structures in areas designated as a historic district on the National Registry of Historic Places; (3) structures designated as local, state, or national historic landmarks; (4) the regulations are directly and substantially related to applicable safety codes under GS 143-138 (North Carolina State Building Code); (5) where the regulations apply to manufactured housing, consistent with GS 160A-383.1 (zoning regulations for manufactured homes) and federal law; and (6) where such regulations are adopted as a condition of participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Regulations prohibited by this section cannot be applied in any zoning district, special use district, conditional use district, or conditional district unless voluntarily consented to by all of the owners of all of the property to which they can be applied. Such regulations also cannot be applied indirectly as part of the review pursuant to GS 160A-383 or GS 153A-341 (accordance of zoning regulations with a comprehensive development plan) or any other applicable adopted plan. The subsections do not affect the validity or enforceability of private covenants or other contractual agreements among property owners relating to building design elements. Effective when the act becomes law and applies to development approvals granted on or after that date.

SEVERABILITY CLAUSE AND EFFECTIVE DATE

Identical to previous edition. 

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