Brooks Pierce Capital Dispatch: Governor Signs Notable Bills Into Law, Budget Negotiations Continue
Governor Roy Cooper this week signed some bills and legislators continued budget negotiations.
Budget negotiators this week continued work on a conference committee report for the budget bill (H 259). Legislative leaders have announced a goal of enacting a new budget by June 30, the end of the state’s fiscal year, although there remain a number of areas of disagreement which may push the legislative session into July.
Governor Cooper on Wednesday signed a bill (H 347) into law that authorizes, regulates and taxes sports wagering in North Carolina. It also legalizes pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.
Under the law, the North Carolina Lottery Commission will be responsible for regulating sports wagering. Wagering will either be interactive (for example, on electronic devices such as “smart” phones) or at certain sports facilities or a place of “public accommodation” associated with such facilities. Wagers will be allowed on professional sports, college sports, electronic sports, amateur sports or other events approved by the Lottery Commission. Under the new law, sports wagering shall begin no later than June 2024. The first date on which a wagering license can be effective is January 8, 2024.
A privilege tax of 18% will be levied on each interactive sports wagering operator. Proceeds from this tax will go for a variety of purposes including grants for youth sports and to certain UNC school athletic departments. Of the remaining funds, 30% will go to a new Major Events, Games and Attractions Fund to attract events to North Carolina and 50% will go to the state’s General Fund, which funds most state entities other than transportation.
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Gov. Cooper recently signed into law a bill (H 346) that will allow the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance company to restructure its corporate model. Under the law, Blue Cross can create a nonprofit holding company that would become what state law calls its “ultimate controlling person.” Both legislative chambers earlier passed the bill by large margins.
During consideration of the bill, proponents argued that the holding company will allow Blue Cross to compete more effectively. State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey raised concerns about the new holding company, including its accountability and it possibly leading to higher insurance rates.
Legislators recently passed the Farm Bill (S 582) and sent it to the Governor on Tuesday. The House passed the bill by a 77 to 38 vote and the Senate concurred in the House version by a 37 to 6 vote. The bill includes a number of provisions dealing with agriculture such as honey production, timber larceny, hog waste regulations and wetlands.
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.