Legislative Agenda Update – Crossover
There are four milestones that a bill needs to pass in order to become law.
- Bill Drafting – Getting the bill written, sponsored and introduced
- Crossover – Getting the bill passed in one of the legislative chambers
- Concurrence – Getting both chambers to pass the bill and agree on a final version
- Signed – Getting the bill signed by the Governor.
We just achieved the second milestone – Crossover. Here is a recap of our legislative agenda and the process that took place.
The Landlord-Tenant Omnibus Bill – HB880
An Omnibus bill is legislation that contains multiple law changes in one bill. HB880 is a collection of changes to the Landlord-Tenant Law that will reduce evictions records, lower the cost to provide housing, correct inconsistency within the law and provide clarity to existing procedures, laws and fees. Link to bill: https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2019/H880
HB880 has five sections covering many aspects of the Landlord Tenant Law. AANC General Council Norm Praet, consulted on the language and legal aspects of this legislation. AANC lobbyist Colleen Kochanek worked with tenant organizations to gain support for the legislation. Ultimately the legislation was a consensus bill which allowed it to pass through committee and receive a near unanimous vote in favor. This bill now needs to pass through the senate process.
House Vote: Vote of 111 in favor and 3 against
H880 Supporters: NC Justice Center
H880 Opponents: None
Emotional Support Animals - HB796
Emotional Support Animals (ESA) is one of the biggest issues that apartment professionals handle on a daily basis. HB796 establishes needed protections to curtail abuse while maintaining the ability for a person with a legitimate disability to have an emotional support animal under the Federal Fair Housing Act. Link to bill: https://www.ncleg.gov/Sessions/2019/Bills/House/PDF/H796v0.pdf
The AANC Government Affairs Committee created a study group headed by TAA Government Affairs Director Dustin Engelken to research ESA legislation around the country. This group helped to formulate the legislative language and talking points. Dustin and the TAA Government Affairs Committee were effective in engaging with their legislative delegation and relationships to help progress the ESA bill through the bill drafting process. Again, Colleen engaged with other organization to ward off oppositions and recruit support. HB796 encountered opposition in the committee process and was almost “left in committee” but AANC lobbyist Alex Miller was able to revive the bill and pass it through committee on to the house floor. The bill passed with only one sole vote against. Dustin also assisted by volunteering his evening and served as the industry expert, assisting Alex in the lobbying efforts.
House Vote: Vote of 115 in favor and 1 against
H796 Supporters: NC Association of Realtors and The Association of Social Workers NC
H796 Opponents: None
Private Process Servers - HB881 & SB507
Private Process Servers (PPS) has been an association legislative agenda item for the last few years. This legislation looks to provide the option for larger counties to utilize private process servers in conjunction with county Sheriff departments to affix the summons on the door of the tenant, notifying them of the lawsuit and their court date. https://www.ncleg.gov/Sessions/2019/Bills/Senate/PDF/S507v1.pdf
This year both a senate bill SB507 and a HB881 were filed. However, neither of the bills got out of committee, and it was not for a lack of trying. PPS is contentious legislation because of the legislation’s opposition by the Sheriff’s Association. This year the General Assembly Leadership (Republicans) has not been interested in passing any controversial bills unless the legislation can score political points against the Governor (Democrat). Senator Dan Bishop is the sponsor of SB507 and worked hard to get it moved out of committee. Association members also made phone calls to key committee member to move the bill forward.
Bills never really die at the General Assembly they go into hibernation. In the upcoming weeks the Government Affairs Committee and the AANC lobby team will come up with options and strategies for this legislative effort.
H881/S507 Supporters: NC Association of Realtors
H881/S507 Opponents: NC Sheriff’s Association
The AANC also has a few other bills of interest that we are monitoring this year. Here is a quick summary of where those bills stand.
Doorstep Trash Service HB730
Legislation to allow Doorstop Trash Service to continue in multifamily communities. https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2019/H730
Passed the House: 112 – 0, This legislation has opposition from the State Fire Inspectors
Affordable Housing SB316
Proposals and studies to reduce the cost to construct housing. https://www.ncleg.gov/Sessions/2019/Bills/Senate/PDF/S316v0.pdf
Passed the Senate: 49-0
Sewer Fees – HB435
Specific legislation to address an issue in Onslow County, where utilities, which currently bill providers for sewer service, are based on a flat, base fee. As a result, providers are unable to pass sewer fees through to their lessees and instead must pay sewer fees out-of-pocket. For some communities this results in annual losses over $100,000. https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2019/h435
Remains in Committee on State and Local Government
Mold Legislation – HB1012
This legislation is viewed as unfavorable by the Association. https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2019/H1012
Remains in Committee on Appropriations, Health and Human Services
Source of Income – HB907
This legislation is viewed as unfavorable by the Association. https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2019/h907
Remains in the Judiciary Committee