For the next month, it’s open season for new bills in the North Carolina General Assembly.
We keep an eye on all of them, but we all know that some bills are more important than others. Here are the ones worth watching in 2019.
Longleaf Politics will continue to add to this list as more important bills get filed. We’ve included links to follow the bills on the official state legislative website for your reference.
House Bill 3: Restrict eminent domain to public use
This bill sponsored by Reps. David Lewis, Destin Hall and Chuck McGrady would restrict the government’s use of eminent domain for “public use” projects, instead of the broader “public benefit.” It sounds like a minor change, but it has a major impact. Under current law, state and local governments can seize private property under eminent domain and then sell it to a private company.
The bill seeks to put this provision in the state constitution. A nearly identical bill overwhelmingly passed the House in the last long session, but the Senate version didn’t make it out of committee.
House Bill 28: Prohibit Abortions After 13 Weeks
Under current law, abortions are legal for any reason up until 20 weeks. This bill would bump that down to 13 weeks. Abortions after this point would still be legal in the event of a “medical emergency.”
House Bill 29: Standing Up for Rape Victims Act of 2019
This bipartisan bill was announced at the start of the session in conjunction with Attorney General Josh Stein. It allocates $6 million to test all of the rape kits in North Carolina’s backlog, and requires all future rape kits to be tested.
Senate Bill 28: Restore Master’s Pay for Certain Teachers
In the 2013 budget, the General Assembly began phasing out additional pay for teachers who earn master’s degrees. The rationale for that was that there is no real evidence that teachers with master’s degrees are more effective than those without them.
This bipartisan bill, sponsored by Republican Sens. Danny Britt and Rick Horner, would restore that pay for people who were eligible for it before, and for newer teachers who spend 70% or more of their time in the classroom.
Senate Bill 5: Building North Carolina’s Future
This bill would fund $2 billion worth of school construction without needing to borrow money. Read our full explainer on that here.
House Bill 37: Child Sex Abuse/Extend Statute of Limitations
This bill would allow people who were victims of sexual abuse in childhood to file a lawsuit against their abusers up until the victim turns age 45. Under current law, most civil lawsuits cannot be initiated 10 years after an incident. However, there’s lots of evidence that victims aren’t able to come forward until much later.
House Bill 5: Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap
This Democrat-sponsored bill reportedly has quiet support among many in the Republican caucus as well. It would take the federal government up on its Obamacare-era promise to expand Medicaid to able-bodied, low-income single adults.
However, Medicaid expansion remains controversial, so we’ll see how far it goes.
Senate Bill 11: ABC Regulation and Reform
Privatizing North Carolina’s alcohol sales has been on the radar for years. Could this be the year it actually makes progress?