The short session will begin at the state legislature tomorrow at noon. As you may know, the NC legislature operates on a biennial schedule. The last session which ended in summer 2013 was a long session – during which a 2 year budget was passed. The short session has no set end date although we hear that it may run around 6 weeks. Bills proposed in the short session are supposed to be primarily budget corrections. But there are ways that legislators can get around these limitations to bring forward all kinds of proposals.
We understand that legislative priorities include directing funding towards teachers and addressing coal ash clean-up. Regarding environmental legislation, we can expect state legislators to debate a range of issues from coal ash to leaking garbage trucks.
Stay tuned for more on the short session in coming weeks and action alerts from the NC Chapter. A preview – the following are bills that have either been proposed by a legislative committee or we expect will be proposed soon:
- a Coal Ash Bill – The Governor proposed a bill that would not address all the coal ash ponds in the state. We expect that there will be additional bills proposed on this issue. Whatever NC legislation is passed may end up being a model for the EPA final federal coal ash rule due in December 2014.
- an Energy Bill addressing fracking regulations has been proposed which includes some positive and some negative proposals. The draft “Energy Modernization Act” is available here.
- a Farm GPS/Photos/Public Records Bill – would disallow state records containing aerial photos of farms or GPS coordinates of farms from being requested as public records.
- an Isolated Wetlands Bill that would decrease protections for wetlands that are not connected to navigable waterways.
- a bill improving Public Notification of Spills – this would be a positive step forward, improving public notification of spills from 48 hours to 24 hours.
- a bill that would reverse Governor McCrory’s Executive Order addressing leaky garbage trucks. The bill would allow garbage trucks to be leak-resistant rather than leak-proof.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Cassie Gavin, Director of Government Relations, Sierra Club – NC Chapter
919.833.8467 x 104