United States: April 17, 3015 NC Legislative Update

Legislators are back in Raleigh after a week off and it doesn't look like anything has changed after the extra time they were given to reflect on the session.  Just as we've seen before:

  • There's a new bill that would allow the opossum to be dropped in Brasstown on New Year's Eve. 
  • There's another economic incentives bill in the House. 
  • There were dogs that had been rescued from puppy mills at the legislature to lobby for the puppy mill bill. (And YES, that was best thing to happen all week!!!!  Well, for Angel at least.  Laura watched and smiled.)

One thing that we haven't seen before is the introduction of multiple bills dealing with the prohibition of powdered alcohol.  You heard it right.  Powdered.  Alcohol.  There's just too much to say about that.

Opossum* Drop

There's a perennial issue out there that offers a good lesson in sausage-making: the Clay's Corner Opossum Drop. For more than six years, Clay's Corner in Brasstown, NC has been fighting to maintain its now famous New Year's Eve tradition of lowering a caged Opossum at the stroke of the new year. PETA and other animal lovers groups have been trying to get it stopped through administrative hearings and Superior Court, but lawmakers have been trying to find a way to let this tradition continue in a limited way.  In 2014, a bill was filed to carve out Clay County from NC wildlife laws regarding opossums at year's end, which many argue is unconstitutional. This year's attempt is HB 574 which exempts opossums statewide from protections pertaining to capture and treatment of animals from December 29th until January 2nd.  The effect of that carve out is that New Year's opossum drops would be legal statewide.  The bill got a nod from the House and will be considered by the Senate. It would be in bad taste to say that there's more than one way to skin a cat.

*"O" or No?  Opossum refers to the animals native to North America, while possums are native to New Guinea, Australia and Indonesia.  Thank us later when you answer that question correctly in trivia.

Another Incentives Bill

HB 920Omnibus Economic Development Improvements – is the latest economic development bill to be introduced in the House.  With a bipartisan sponsorship led by Rep. Jason Saine, this bill includes many of the same things as the previous economic development bill that the House sent over to the Senate.  But because the Senate is sitting on that bill, the House decided to hit them again.  New additions in this bill include:

  • Historic rehabilitation tax credits
  • Film grant fund modifications
  • Credit for manufacturing cigarettes for exportation
  • Use of North Carolina ports credit
  • Motorsports sales tax credit

No word yet on what the Senate will do.

Elections Bills

Judicial Elections

HB 8Restore Partisan Statewide Judicial Elections – would restore the "D" and "R" beside a judicial candidate's name on the ballot.  A decade ago, judicial elections were made nonpartisan and public funds were made available for judicial campaigns by a Democratic legislative majority. In the last few years, Republicans have eliminated public financing and outside spending has taken its place in judicial elections. This bill would make them partisan elections, requiring primaries in some cases.  Bill sponsors argued that providing candidate party affiliation will help voters to make choices based on whether a candidate's ideology matches their own, thus increasing voter interest in these elections.  Opponents don't believe that partisan politics should be brought into races of judges who should be impartial.

 The bill passed the House Elections Committee on Tuesday and got its second nod on the House floor with 3 Republicans and an Independent joining the Democrats in their losing effort.  Final House approval is scheduled for Monday, after which it will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Gubernatorial Elections

HB 344Gubernatorial Team Ticket – also passed the House Elections Committee on Tuesday.  This bill would change the current method of separately electing the governor and lieutenant governor, instead making them run as a single ticket.  Candidates would run separately in the primaries before being teamed up for the general election.  The bill sponsor, Rep. Bert Jones, believes that the governor and lieutenant governor should be from the same party and might remember the photo finish between LTG Dan Forest and Democratic candidate Linda Coleman – who has formed her committee to run again.  As a practical matter this bill would make it close to impossible for an unaffiliated candidate to run.  Look for it on the House floor next week.


HB 436Unauthorized Practice of Law Changes – updates the definition of "practice law" and authorizes the State Bar to challenge an additional list of unlicensed services, including online services like LegalZoom.  Online service companies argue that the State Bar is simply trying to protect its turf, but the State Bar argues that there is a legitimate concern for public protection.  The bill easily passed the House Judiciary I Committee and will now head to the House floor.

Revenue Forecast

Most North Carolinians filed their taxes this week and have an opinion about the new Republican Tax Plan that is now fully in effect – they are either winners or losers. Detractors from our new tax structure have been awaiting a post-April 15th notice of a structural budget deficit, but whether the sky is actually falling is not clear.  The state budget is drafted, considered and passed by the General Assembly upon the professional advice of its staff economist, who says there will be budget hole of $94 million.  However, if you ask the State Budget Officer who answers directly to the Governor and has responsibility for implementing the enacted budget, he's still suggesting a hole of $271 million. It's rare that they don't agree. There will be a shortfall – and there always is since NC budgets one-time money in addition to recurring revenues from fees and taxes. We're anxious to see what the "April Surprise" looks like this year since it will determine the tax policy talking points for the 2016 elections. (I know – too soon!)

This leaves the Republicans with the problem providing adequate funding for state and local governments with the natural but problematic solution of raising taxes.  A few creative members are now looking at gaming revenue to fill some gaps.


HB 938Comprehensive Gaming Reform – was introduced by Rep. Harry Warren.  This bill would eliminate the State Lottery Commission and replace it with the North Carolina State Gaming Commission with expanded oversight covering ALL gaming in the state, including bingo and the boxing commission.  It would also legalize and regulate the operation of sweepstakes establishments with a valid license issued by the Gaming Commission.  Just a few ways this bill could generate revenue are through application fees ($250), penalties for operating sweepstakes without a license ($25,000-$100,000), and annual excise taxes on sweepstakes establishments and devices ($2,000 and $1,000 respectively).  It also allows counties and cities to impose an annual excise tax of $500 on each sweepstakes device and $1,000 on each sweepstakes establishment.  Local governments must distribute at least 3% of these revenues to the county sheriff's department or the municipal police department of the taxing jurisdiction.  The remainder many be used for any public purpose. 

HB 922Video Sweepstakes Regulation and Taxation – was introduced on the same day by Rep. Chris Malone.  This bill also legalizes and regulates the sweepstakes industry and has the same fees and penalties as Warren's bill.  The major difference is that this bill does not create a gaming commission to oversee all forms of gaming in the state.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions