Brooks Pierce Capital Dispatch: Budget Negotiations Continue, Farm and Energy Choice Bills Become Law
Two notable bills became law this week and legislators continued budget negotiations.
Budget negotiators this week continued work on a conference committee report for the budget bill (H 259). There was not an agreement by June 30, the end of the state’s fiscal year. Although a new budget was not enacted by June 30, state government operations will continue at the FY 23 level pursuant to the state’s budget continuation law (GS 143C-5-4).
Legislators this week overrode Gov. Cooper’s veto of the Farm Bill (S 582). The votes in both chambers—78 to 40 in the House and 29 to 17 in the Senate—met the 60 percent number necessary to override. The bill includes a number of provisions dealing with agriculture such as honey production, timber larceny, hog waste regulations and wetlands.
Energy Choice/Solar Decommissioning
An “energy choice” bill (H 130) that includes solar decommissioning procedures became law this week when Gov. Cooper did not act upon it within 10 days after receiving it. The bill prohibits local governments from adopting any ordinance prohibiting connection, reconnection, modification, or expansion of an energy service based on the type or source of energy. Bill supporters noted that some local governments in other states have enacted such ordinances related to natural gas. The bill also requires owners of utility-scale solar projects to follow certain procedures when decommissioning projects upon cessation of their operation and to establish financial assurance to cover the decommissioning.
The Senate on Wednesday by a 31 to 13 vote passed the Regulatory Reform Act of 2023 (H 600) and sent it to the House. If the House does not agree to the Senate version, both chambers will work on a conference report that will resolve differences between their versions. The bill includes provisions on a variety of topics including watersheds, stormwater, fish harvests, drinking water, environmental permitting, disposal of lithium-ion batteries and solar panels and nonprofit raffles.
July 4 Holiday Break
Legislators left Raleigh on Thursday and will return on July 10 after taking a week off for the July 4 holiday.
Information about bills and work of the General Assembly can be found at its website: www.ncleg.gov.
For more information, contact a member of the Brooks Pierce Government Affairs Team.