Balanced Budget: On July 2, 2012 Republicans in the House and Senate overrode the Governor’s veto of the $20.17 billion budget adjusted for 2012-2013 (HB 950). This budget increased spending by 2.5% (-0.5% after inflation). No tax rates were increased.
The budget provides state employees and teachers a 1.2% raise. It gives retirees a 1% cost of living adjustment. This is the first raise for state employees and first cost of living adjustment for retirees since 2008.
Regulatory Reform: HB 237 requires the Rate Bureau to share information with the Industrial Commission on the status of employers’ workers’ compensation insurance coverage. It became law on July 1, 2012.
SB 810 “Regulatory Reform Act of 2012” loosens regulatory requirements on citizens. It was presented to the Governor on June 28, 2012.
Licensures: HB 799 accelerates the process by which military personnel and their spouses can be licensed to lawfully practice their occupation once they have moved to North Carolina. It allows the State Board of Education to issue teacher licenses to military spouses who are teachers in their home state. It was presented to the Governor on July 3, 2012.
Audits: HB 462 prohibits the use of contingency based contracts for tax assessment audit purposes. State audits will no longer be able to use
contingency based contracts beginning October 1, 2012. Local governments may continue existing contracts until July 1, 2013. This prohibition will sunset for local governments on July 1, 2015. This allows time to study the impact of contingency contracts versus flat fee contracts for audits. This bill brings fairness to the property tax system in North Carolina. It was presented to the Governor July 3, 2012.
Funding: The 2012-2013 adjusted budget restores $251 million to public education. It provides $27 million for an education reform program that focuses on student literacy, improving graduation rates, and rewarding effective teachers. The budget fully funds enrollment growth in K-12, community colleges, and the university system.
Community colleges and the university system are given funds for a 1.2% raise for recruiting, retaining, or rewarding excellent instructors.
Policy: HB 7 allows community colleges to opt out of the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. The House and Senate overrode the Governor’s veto on June 18, 2012 at the request of the Trustees of many community colleges.
Natural Gas: SB 820 “Clean Energy and Economic Security Act” creates the Mining and Energy Commission, which will develop regulations for horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Licenses will not be issued until further legislative action. It became law on July 2, 2012 after the House and Senate overrode the Governor’s veto.
Protections: HB 925 requires that residents of an area have the opportunity to vote prior to that area being annexed by a municipality. It became law on June 11, 2012.
Protections: HB 843 repealed G.S. §14-288.7, which prohibited transporting any dangerous weapon or substance in an area where there is a declared state of emergency. The act prohibits local governments from restricting lawfully possessed firearms within an emergency area. It became law on June 11, 2012.
Gas Tax: The budget freezes the gas tax at 37.5 cents per gallon. This is 1.4 cents less than the previous rate.
Human Trafficking: SB 910 is a bipartisan bill that increases penalties for the unlawful sale or purchase of a child to suppress human trafficking. It was presented to the Governor on July 3, 2012.
Absconders: HB 1173 provides that a probation violator who absconds after the issuance of a warrant forfeits any public assistance benefits, such as Medicaid, until surrendering to the court. It does not affect the benefits of any of the violator’s family members. It was presented to the Governor on July 3, 2012.
Murder: SB 105 increases the penalties for second degree murder and death by motor vehicle. It was presented to the Governor on June 28, 2012.
SB 635 amends state sentencing laws to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama. Minors who are convicted of felony murder will be sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years. In all other circumstances where minors are convicted of first degree murder, the court will conduct a hearing to determine whether the minor will be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole or life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years. It was passed by the House and Senate on July 3, 2012.
Death Penalty: SB 416 amends death penalty procedures. Major changes detail the use of evidence to prove racial discrimination. It eliminates the defendant’s ability to use statewide statistical evidence. Statistical evidence alone will not determine racial discrimination. It limits the use of statistical data to approximately a 15 year window around the time the death sentence was sought or imposed. It ends the moratorium on the death penalty. It became law on July 2, 2012 after the House and Senate overrode the Governor’s veto.