2021 Legislative Issue: So many bills, so few laws – Triad City Beat – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Perhaps you’re wondering why our 2021 Legislative Issue hits the streets in January 2022. It’s a valid question, but it’s one that should be directed at our own state legislature, which dragged out this session until Dec. 30, when it officially closed. For context, we used to run the Legislative Issue in June. For even more context, the legislature is already back in session as of this week.

As always, we’ve highlighted the work of all our Guilford and Forsyth delegations to the state House and Senate, tallying their contributions — or lack thereof — and noting their successes. Triad reps authored hundreds of bills this session, often reaching across the political aisle to find common ground. And very, very few of them were passed into law. 

SENATE

FORSYTH 

Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R) District 31

  • Terms: 4 (+1 in House)
  • About the district: The district contains Forsyth’s rural tracts outside Winston-Salem and the entirety of Davie County.
  • Committee chairs: Appropriations on Health and Human Services (chair), Health Care (chair), Pensions and Retirement and Aging (chair)
  • Primary sponsored bills: 67 (11 signed into law)
  • Highlights:
  • SB 143 – Juneteenth Observance Day in NC (with Lowe): This bill would have officially recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday in North Carolina.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 191 – No Patient Left Alone Act: This bill makes clear that patient visitation rights in health care facilities won’t be impacted during declared disasters or emergencies. The bill reflects on the unintended consequences of COVID-19, during which many people have been turned away from seeing hospitalized family members.
    • Status: Signed into law on Oct. 15, 2021.
  • SB 249 – The SAVE Act: This bill would have clarified nursing regulations and eased requirements that make it costly or cumbersome for nurse practitioners to treat their patients. The bill would also remove supervision requirements for advanced practice registered nurses to grant them to full practice authority.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 377 – Remove Foreign Citizens from Voting Rolls: This bill would have allowed the courts to notify the State Board of Elections of any noncitizens to remove their names from its list of registered voters. The names would be derived from those who request to be excused from jury duty because they are not citizens.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 404 – A Second Chance for LIFE: Bill would have required physicians to tell patients about the possibility of reversing the effects of drug-induced abortions after the first dose.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 405 – Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act: This bill, which Kraweic has  introduced during the legislative session for the past several years, would charge doctors who fail to provide care for an infant born after a failed abortion.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 505 – Medical Billing Transparency: Would have required healthcare facilities to give patients at least 72 hours advance notice if they have scheduled appointments in which they would receive care from an out-of-network provider.
    • Status: Died in the House.
  • SB 530 –  Medicaid for Twelve Months Postpartum: Would have provided pregnant women coverage under the NC Medicaid program for 12 months of postpartum treatment. The bill would also have waived tuition and registration fees at community colleges for the same individuals.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 700 – Balanced Political Discussion in Classrooms: Would have required balanced political viewpoints in classroom instruction and would have required the online publication of information about instructional materials.
    • Status: Died in committee.

Sen. Paul Lowe (D) District 32

  • Terms: 3
  • About the district: District 32 contains most of the city of Winston-Salem and outlying areas to the north and south.
  • Committee chairs: None
  • Primary sponsored bills: 27 (1 signed into law)
  • Highlights:
  • SB 109 – Law Enforcement Recordings/Winston-Salem: Would have amended the public records law in Winston-Salem to release law enforcement recordings to a citizens review board, to the city or county manager or to the city council.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 145 – Winston-Salem/Real Property Conveyances (with Krawiec): This bill allows the city of Winston-Salem to transfer city-owned real property to increase the supply of affordable housing.
    • Status: Signed into law on June 17, 2021.
  • SB 324 – Student-Athlete Compensation/Study: This bill would have allowed student athletes to receive compensation for their name, image or likeness in relation to an athletic program. The bill would also have established a study committee on student-athlete compensation.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 639 – Commuter Rail Study/Piedmont Triad: This bill would have funded a Department of Transportation study to project the cost and feasibility of a commuter rail service linking Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 694 – Black Farmer Restoration Program: This bill would have established a program to purchase farmland and grant it to Black farmers. It also would have established a training program for Black farmers.
    • Status: Died in committee.

GUILFORD

Sen. Amy Galey (R) District 24

  • Terms: 1
  • About the district: District 24, covers all of Alamance County and the rural eastern strip of Guilford.
  • Committee chairs: None
  • Primary sponsored bills: 33 (7 signed into law)
  • Highlights:
  • SB 208 – Labor Law Changes: This bill made changes to the state’s Wage and Hour Act including requiring employers to notify employees of promised wages in writing at the time of hiring. Employers must also now provide written notice to employees at least one pay period prior to any reduction in wages.
    • Status: Signed into law on July 8, 2021.
  • SB 335 – Increase Penalty/Disruption of Open Meeting: Bill would have made it a Class 1 misdemeanor for anyone to disturb the peace of an official meeting of a public body. The second offense would have been a Class I felony while a third would have been a Class H felony.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 671 – Changes to K-12 Scholarship Programs: The bill would have changed the state scholarship program to allow private school students to receive state funding for scholarships.
    • Status: Died in the House.

Sen. David Craven Jr. (R) District 26

  • Terms: 1+ 
  • About the district: District 26 covers all of Randolph County plus most of High Point in Guilford County’s southwest corner.
  • Committee chairs: None
  • Primary sponsored bills: 19 (3 signed into law)
  • Highlights:
  • SB 29 – Ricky’s Law/Political Sign Placement: This bill shortens the time allowed to place political signs in right-of-ways from 30 days before one-stop early voting to 10 days before and after.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 238 – Life and Property Protection Act: This bill holds local governmental entities liable if they intentionally prohibit, prevent or delay law enforcement or fire and rescue services from accessing areas during public demonstrations.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 390 – UNC Law Enforcement Recruitment: Allows full-time and part-time UNC campus law enforcement officers to enroll in college courses without paying tuition or fees.
    • Status: Signed into law on May 7, 2021.
  • SB 492 – Establish NC Textile Museum: This bill would have allowed for the creation of a state textile museum through a partnership with the Randolph Heritage Conservancy, Inc. 
    • Status: Died in committee.

Sen. Michael Garrett (D) District 27

  • Terms: 2
  • About the district: District 27 includes all of rural Guilford County with the northern tier and west side of High Point, and a sliver of Greensboro west of Guilford College Road.
  • Committee chairs: None
  • Primary sponsored bills: 39 (0 signed into law)
  • Highlights:
  • SB 216 – Release of LEO Recordings/Greensboro (with Robinson): This bill would have allowed the release of police body-worn camera recordings to a citizens review board or to city council in closed session upon the recommendation of the city manager and a majority vote of the council.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 281 – Fair Treatment of Journalism/Guilford County (with Robinson): Essentially a copy-and-pasted bill from the 2019 session, this bill would make it so that certain governmental meetings and legal actions must be advertised in local newspapers rather than just on government-run websites.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 369 – Make Election Day a State Holiday: Pretty straightforward, this bill would have made general election day an official state holiday, paid for state employees.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 412 – $15/Hour Min. Pay for Noncert. Schl. Employees: This bill would have required the hourly rate for noncertified public school employees to be at least $15 per hour.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 565 – Supporting Law Enforcement: This bill would have directed the Department of Justice to assist local agencies in applying for grants, allocating $250,000 each year for grants to law enforcement agencies for community policing. Despite its somewhat misleading name, this bill would also have created a statewide database for decertified law enforcement officers, changed the definition of deadly force to include chokeholds and required officers to intervene when other officers violate policies.
    • Status: Died in committee.
  • SB 637 – Guilford County Mental Health Facility/Funds (with Robinson): This bill would have granted Guilford County more than $3.8 million from the state to construct a mental health crisis center for adults.
    • Status: Died in committee.

Sen. Gladys Robinson (D) District 28

  • Terms: 6
  • About the district: District 28 is now most of the city of Greensboro, with a bit in the east ceded to District 24.
  • Committee chairs: None
  • Primary sponsored bills: 24 (1 signed into law)
  • Highlights:
  • SB 212 – Bennett College Accredit./Private Need-Based (with Garrett): Changed the requirements to allow for Bennett College stude


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