Legislative Update Regarding Bills Affecting NC Construction Industry

NC Legislature

ABC of the Carolinas Legislative Director Benton Albritton reports on the current status of important legislation pertaining to our industry in the NC General Assembly. Please take a moment to look at the updates below:

H 110 – ABC’s anti-PLA bill passed the House and is awaiting discussion in the SenateState and Local Government Committee. We fully expect this bill to pass, but we need your help to get it before the committee as soon as possible. If you live in the districts of Sen. Tommy Tucker or Sen. Jim Davis, the co-chairs of this committee, please let them know you would like it to be brought up ASAP. Sen. Tucker can be reached at (919) 733-7659 or Tommy.Tucker@ncleg.net. Sen. Davis can be reached at (919) 733-5875 or Jim.Davis@ncleg.net.

H 284 – This bill, entitled “An Act Providing That Counties and Municipalities May, When Contracting for Construction or Repair Work or for the Purchase of Apparatus, Supplies, Materials, or Equipment Involving the Expenditure of Public Money, Give Preference to Local Bidders When Certain Requirements are Met” seeks to help local businesses by giving them the opportunity to match a non-local bid if theirs comes within 5% or $10,000 of the lowest bid. The bill defines local as existing within the borders of the county where the job is taking place. While this sounds like a good idea in theory it flies in the face of Open Competition and Free Enterprise and ABC cannot support it. We believe that this bill would ultimately hurt NC business owners and increase costs for the taxpayers. As Rep. Mike Stone put it during the bill’s discussion on Thursday, “the free market system works, and we should allow it to continue to do so.” After discussion this bill was sent to the House Finance Committee without prejudice, meaning it neither passed nor failed, and will be studied further before moving forward.

H 341 – One of ABC’s priorities for this session has been to implement a program, based on an existing one in South Carolina, that gives employers a $1000 tax credit for each apprentice they hire who has completed the process of registering with the Department of Labor. With help from Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry and Lt. GovernorDanForest, Rep. John Torbett presented a bill that does precisely that last Wednesday in the House Finance Committee. ABC is committed to helping this bill become law and will be asking members to reach out to their elected officials when needed to ask for their support.

H 857 – This bill, which has received extensive input from industry representatives across the state, would allow “governmental entities to employ the design-build method to erect, construct, alter or repair public buildings and enter into public-private partnership construction contracts.” After years of requiring job- and county-specific legislation each time these methods were utilized we are glad to finally see a statewide bill written with the help of many interested parties. It is unclear whether this bill will pass both the House and Senate before the end of session, especially with the Senate preparing to tackle tax reform, but we will hope for the best and keep you posted on it’s progress.

H 872 – This bill aims to strengthen NC’s status as a Right-to-Work state by “making it an unenforceable unfair trade practice for any contract to require a contractor or subcontractor to use unionized labor.” ABC supports this idea, but there are still some concerns with the legality of the legislation and whether or not it is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.  If that is the case it could result in costly litigation for the state once signed into law. On Thursday the bill passed the House by a vote of 73-38 and now moves to the Senate where they will examine it’s legality further.  Read More.