by Brian Clarey, Jordan Green, Anthony Harrison and Sayaka Matsuoka

There’s more to holding office than just getting elected.

After running the stump-speech circuit and grinding through election night, our elected representatives in the General Assembly then must go forth and govern.

That means they file bills — lots of them, but some more than others. By our count, Ralph Johnson and Pricey Harrison, both Democrats from Guilford filed more than 300 bills with a state House that’s become indifferent to their causes. Conversely, Phil Berger, Republican of Rockingham, lent his name to just six bills — though in his role as Senate president, he has a hand many, many pieces of legislation.

They also vote on these bills, some of them more controversial than others.

It’s not always pretty, and it doesn’t always seem fair, but this is how the sausage gets made.


Forsyth County


Joyce Krawiec




About the district: D-31 covers the suburban/rural doughnut of Forsyth County, including parts of Lewisville, Clemmons and Kernersville, along with affluent, Republican-leaning neighborhoods like Buena Vista on the west side of Winston-Salem and portions of Ardmore and areas around Baptist Hospital in the southwest. The district also covers the entirety of Yadkin County.

Terms: 1

Bills: 79, 16 as primary sponsor


SB 373 — Repeal Map Act

Ends state Transportation Department’s ability to designate corridors for future highway development while placing limitations on development but not immediately condemning the property and compensating the owners. The legislation would relieve property owners in the path of the future Winston-Salem Northern Beltway, who have endured deteriorating values for decades as the road project underwent repeated delays.

SB 505 — Revoke Consent/Intercourse

Provides a legal mechanism for a woman to withdraw consent during vaginal intercourse such that a criminal defendant is understood to be acting by force and against the will of the other person if they continue the act.

SB 622 — UAS/No LEO Surveillance of Private Property

Prohibits police drones from photographing gatherings of persons on private land.


About the district: D-32 covers almost all of Winston-Salem, with the exception of a carve-out of affluent, Republican-leaning neighborhoods like Buena Vista along the Country Club Road corridor, along with more liberal-leaning areas of Ardmore in the city’s southwest quadrant. The district trails Business 40 to the east and picks up the heart of Kernersville.

Terms: Appointed this term to fill vacancy

Bills: 60, 18 as primary sponsor


SB 39 —  Minimum Wage/Inflation Increases

Raises the state minimum wage annually to reflect the increase in the cost of living, as measured by the US Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index.

SB 204 — Reenact Film Credit

Restores the film tax credit, forgiving 25 percent of qualifying expenses of a film production or episodic television series. Productions must spend a minimum of $250,000, and credits are capped at $20 million.

SB 329 — Economic Development/Renewable Energy Credit

Extends a tax credit of 35 percent for renewable energy development through the end of 2019.

SB 584 — Poverty Task Force

Establishes a Statewide Poverty Task Force tasked with developing a coordinated, integrate and ongoing approach to poverty reduction by identifying targets.

Guilford County


About the district: Berger’s piece of the state covers the entirety of Rockingham County, with a few fingers dipping into northern Guilford. A handful of precincts carve out territory in the northwest quadrant of Greensboro.

Committee assignments: Senate president pro tem

Terms: 8

Bills: 6, 5 as primary sponsor


SB2: Magistrates Recusal for Civil Ceremonies

Allows magistrates to refuse to perform weddings if they have a “sincerely held religious objection.”

S703: Medicaid Transformation

It’s a healthcare plan of sorts that shifts the Medicaid system from a fee-based operation into a managed-care risk pool.


About the district: Robinson’s minority-majority territory covers about two-thirds of Greensboro, extending into central High Point.

Terms: 3

Bills: 66, 13 as primary sponsor


SB 96 — Deadline to Complete State Alzheimer’s Plan

“An act requiring the department of health and human services to complete the strategic state plan for Alzheimer’s disease by a date certain.” No specific date is mentioned.

SB 103 — Notice to Vote Absentee Ballot w/o Voter ID

The act requires election officials to inform people who don’t bring ID to the polls that they can petition for an absente ballot.

SB 198 — Persons Under 18 in Confinement Facilities

This segregates juveniles from adults in the jail and prison system.

SB 585 — Create HBCU Advisory Board (with Lowe)

“An act to create the Historically Black Colleges and Universities advisory board.”

This is a separate board for the HBCUs that fall under the UNC System.


About the district: Trudy Wade’s new district begins in the northeast corner of Guilford County and wraps entirely around Greensboro, circumventing central High Point and picking up a few Greensboro precincts in the northwest.

Committee appointments: Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources (co-chair); Appropriations on Natural and Economic Resources (co-chair); State and Local Government (vice-chair)

Terms: 2

Bills: 20, 17 as primary sponsor


SB 36 — Greensboro City Council Changes (with Krawiec)

“An act to clarify the form of government, method of election, and determination of election results in the city of Greensboro.” This is the infamous bill that restructures Greensboro city government.

SB 66 — Amend Environmental Laws 2015

“An act to amend various environmental laws.” This bill puts us in an interstate mining compact with other unnamed states.

SB 94 — Education Simplification Amendment

This makes sweeping changes to the way we administrate public education in the state by abolishing the state Board of Education and creating a Dept. of Education that falls under the executive branch.

SB 210 — Notice Publication by Counties and Cities

Allows cities and counties to post public notices on the internet, as opposed to paid-circulation newspapers.

SB 453 — Regulatory Reform Act of 2015

This is huge bill, some of it innocuous — it repeals a law making it illegal to use indecent language on public highways, for instance. But it touches on legislative appointments, state-issued cell phones, small business, criminal justice, motor vehicles, education and energy. There’s a whole section on “environmental self-audit privilege and limited immunity,” and another that repeals environmental reporting requirements.

SB 480 — Uniform Political Activity/Employers

Teachers can’t run for office or work on political campaigns.


Forsyth County


Debra Conrad




About the district: D-74 covers the northern suburban-rural doughnut of Forsyth County, including Tobaccoville, Rural Hall and Belews Creek. The district also reaches a finger into affluent, Republican-leaning areas on the west side of Winston-Salem south of Robinhood Road.

Committee assignments: Commerce and Job Development (chair)

Terms: 2

Bills: 64, 21 as primary sponsor


HB 139 — Gun on Private School Property/Forsyth County

Allows the principal of a private school that is located in Forsyth County and that receives no public funding to adopt a policy allowing certain employees to carry a handgun on school grounds. The employees would be required to hold a concealed handgun permit.

HB 318 — Protect North Carolina Workers Act

Prohibits local governments and law enforcement agencies from accepting anything other than state-issued ID or valid passport for purposes of determining a person’s immigration status. Also strikes the exemption for temporary employees under the federal E-verify program; instead, farmworkers, independent contractors and domestic workers would be exempt.

HB 596 — Reproductive Health & Safety Education Revisions

Prohibits sexual education programs administered by public school districts from teaching about emergency contraception, including Plan B, Preven and equivalent drugs.

HB 740 — Allison’s Law/GPS Tracking Pilot Program/Domestic Violence (with Hanes, Lambeth)

Directs the state Department of Public Safety to create a pilot program for placing GPS tracking devices on domestic violence offenders.


About the district: Covering the northern urban portion of Winston-Salem, D-72 is bisected by University Parkway, a de facto racial and economic dividing line in the city. The district includes Smith Reynolds Airport and Wake Forest University.

Committee assignments: Education K-12 (vice-chair), Public Utility (vice-chair), University Board of Governors Nominating (vice-chair)

Terms: 2

Bills: 111, 36 as primary sponsor


HB 66 — Sales Tax Exemption for Datacenter Equipment

Exempts the sale of electricity for use at a data center with at least $75 million in total investment over a five-year period from the state sales tax.

HB 107 — Liquor Sales-Permitted Distilleries

Allows distilleries to sell spirituous liquor in closed containers to visitors for consumption off the premises. Also allows distillers to hold tastings “at trade shows, conventions, shopping malls, beverage festivals, street festivals, holiday festivals, agricultural festivals, balloon races [and] local fundraisers.”

HB 349 — Develop Broadband Connectivity Plan

Instructs the Office of the State Chief Information Officer to develop a plan to ensure that all citizens have access to broadband capability as a matter of promoting economic prosperity.

HB 395 — Body and Dashboard Cameras/Law Enforcement (with Brockman)

Requires that law enforcement officers wear body cameras and activate them during encounters with citizens, with certain exceptions like meetings with confidential informants, strip searches and ones that take place in private residences. Allows law enforcement agencies to release footage to any member of the public who submits a written request.

HB 518 — County Sales Tax Flexibility

Allows counties to levy a quarter-cent sales tax to finance public transportation project.


About the district: D-79 includes the western tip of Forsyth County, including Lewisville, along with the entirety of Davie County.

Committee assignments: Banking (chair)

Terms: 14

Bills: 15, 13 as primary sponsor


HB 24 — Unemployment Insurance Law Changes

Requires unemployment insurance claimants to contact five potential employers per week, and eliminates the procedure for requesting reconsideration of benefit decisions by the Division of Employment Security.

HB 657 — Study UNC-Fixed Tuition

Directs the UNC Board of Governors to study the idea of establishing fixed tuition program for public universities across the state, including how long the program would remain in place and what financial impact it might have on the university system.


About the district: D-75 covers much of the southern suburban-rural doughnut of Forsyth County, including Clemmons and a wide swath of the county’s southeast corner that also covers outlying areas of Kernersville. The district also includes a finger that reaches into Winston-Salem from the southwest, covering Hanes Mall and the Ardmore neighborhood.

Committee assignments: Appropriations (chair), Health (chair)

Terms: 2

Bills: 96, 43 as primary sponsor


HB 250 — Health Food Small Retailer/Corner Store Act

Provides small grants of up to $5,000 to small food retailers “to purchase and install… refrigeration equipment, display shelving and other equipment necessary for stocking nutrient-dense foods” Only small food retailers in certified food deserts are eligible for the grants.

HB 278 — Increase Small Brewery Limits

Increases the small brewery limit from 25,000 to 100,000 barrels before the brewery must use a wholesale distributor.

HB 536 — School Bus Cameras/Civil Penalties (with Conrad)

Authorizes “the use of photographic or video evidence for the civil enforcement of violations for passing a stopped school bus.


About the district: D-71 is centered in the southeast quadrant of Winston-Salem, but also covers downtown and includes a narrow, westward corridor hugging Business 40 and reaching to Hanes Mall Boulevard.

Terms: 2

Bills: 89, 7 as primary sponsor


HB 475 — Lenders Must Have Proof of Ability to Repay

Requires a lender to obtain documentation “demonstrating that the borrower is reasonably likely to be able to repay” a loan without needing to defer payments or refinance. Also caps interest at 8 percent should refinancing occur. Directs the Commissioner of Banks to adopt rules outlining which types of documentation are considered acceptable for demonstrating ability to repay.

HB 520 — Require Restaurant Training on Food Allergies

Requires “the Commission for Public Health to adopt rules establishing food allergy awareness and safety training requirements for food and lodging establishments.”

HB 888 — Appropriate Funds for Future Health Care Jobs

Appropriates a total of $47 million to the Community Colleges System over the next two fiscal years to provide training for 25,000 new healthcare jobs, in the event that the state expands Medicaid to cover an estimated 500,000 residents who are living at under 133 percent of federal poverty guidelines.

Guilford County


About the district: D-62 covers the northwest corner of Guilford County, with precincts in Oak Ridge, Stokesdale, Colfax, Summerfield, High Point and Greensboro.

Committee assignments: Finance (vice-chair); Judiciary II (chair)

Terms: 8

Bills: 16, 14 as primary sponsor


HB 482 — Employee Fair Classification Act

Establishes an “Employee Misclassification Task Force” to investigate whether certain types of employees are being misclassified as contract laborers, so that employers can live up to their tax obligations.

HB 499 — Study/Public Records and Open Meetings

Ten members, five from the House and five from the Senate, would study ways to improve open-records law and issue a report next year.

HB 820 — Zero-base budgeting

Zero-based budgeting means that every budget item needs approval every year, not just new budget items, by 2021.

HB 928 — Two-Thirds Vote to Levy Taxes

This replaces a simple majority vote to levy new taxes.

HB929 — Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

The bill adds an amendment to the state constitution that creates spending limits and an emergency reserve, and limits transferring cash or shifting expenses to local government.


About the district: The majority-minority D-60 takes great pains to encapsulate African-American voters, starting in Greensboro straddling Wendover Avenue, moving southeast and then crossing through Jamestown and Sedgefield in a slim little finger before ballooning again in central High Point.

Terms: 1

Bills: 235, 26 as primary sponsor


HB 179 — Form of Government Changes by Referendum Only

Filed March 9, in direct response to Trudy Wade’s SB36, which seeks to radically change Greensboro city government by state fiat. This bill would require a public vote before such measures could be taken.

HB 193 — Prohibit Discriminatory Profiling

Makes illegal racial profiling by police departments, addresses use of race in police reports, requires training for neighborhood watch volunteers and empowers citizen-review boards.

HB 363 — High Point/Doughnut Annexations

Allows High Point to absorb any area it surrounds on every side without a vote from the community.

HB 384 — Greensboro/Police Disciplinary Actions

Gives the city’s police review board the ability to see some personnel records.

HB 535 — Promoting Charter School Success Pilot

This takes $1 million per year for the next two years from the General Fund and gives it to pro-charter school group Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina.

HB 549 — Tax Restoration Act

This undoes what the last General Assembly did, restoring tax levels to the previous rate of 5.75 percent for the first $1 million of personal income and 7.75 percent for anyone making more than that.

HB 717 — Restore Free and Fair Elections (with Faircloth)

This symbolic bill urges Congress to overturn “the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision and related cases ”— though the NC General Assembly can’t do anything about a Supreme Court decision.

HB 741 — Shift Workers Bill of Rights (with Harrison)

The bill addresses scheduling fluctuations, consistent hours, equal treatment for part-timers and other issues that come with an hourly wage.

HB 830 — North Carolina State Health Plan (with Johnson)

“An act to provide for the North Carolina health plan to cover all state residents with comprehensive health benefit coverage.”

HB 876 — Cell Phone Location Tracking

Requires a warrant before searching a cell phone “or other electronic device.”


About the district: D-61 wraps around Brockman’s High Point precincts, capturing the outskirts of the city and wending east through rural areas in Jamestown, Summerfield and Pleasant Garden.

Committee Appointments: Appropriations (vice-chair); Appropriations, Justice & Public Safety (chair); Ethics (chair); Judiciary II (vice-chair)

Terms: 3

Bills: 142, 44 as primary sponsor


HB 187 — Stalking by GPS/Criminal Offense

Equates tracking someone via a GPS device as cyberstalking.

HB 252 — Conflict of Interest/Certain Relationships

Specifies new conflicts of interest — it recuses an elected official from a vote if they are sleeping with a lobbyist.

HB 341 — Controlled Substances/NBOME & Other Drugs

Adds NBOME, also known as “bath salts,” or synthetic cocaine, to the list.

HB 362 — Cities/Business Registration (with Brockman)

“An act authorizing cities to require businesses to register on an annual basis and to impose a registration fee.” Municipal business fees were previously eliminated by the General Assembly.

HB 477 — LEO Privacy Protection

Cops get to scrub some of their internet presence.

HB 562 — Second Amendment Affirmation Act

“An act to allow district attorneys to carry concealed handguns in courtrooms… to amend laws relating to concealed handguns on educational property, to prohibit concealed handguns on rides at the state fair, to eliminate pistol permits… to ensure federal recognition of state firearm right restoration, to modify the misdemeanor convictions that prevent issuance of a concealed handgun permit, to implement sign requirements for private-property owners that choose to prohibit concealed handguns and to allow hunting with suppressors on short-barreled rifles.”

HB 563 — Strengthen Firearms Background Checks

More reporting, more conditions and terms will apply, particularly to concealed-carry holders.

HB 565 — Threaten LEO or Correctional Officer

Makes threatening an officer with “serious bodily harm” a felony.

HB 713 Body & Dash Cam/Public Record

This one does almost exactly the opposite of what it proposes — it classifies footage from these cameras as criminal-investigation records, which makes it exempt from the public record.


About the district: Hardister’s eastern Guilford district circles around Greensboro, hooking in for just a few precincts on the northwestern corner of the city.

Committee appointments: Alcoholic Beverage Control (chair); Appropriations (vice-chair); Appropriations, Capital (chair)

Terms: 2

Bills: 52, 25 as primary sponsor


HB 92 — Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission (with Howard)

“An act to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process.” A redistricting based on Census numbers, without political input, may be Hardister’s signature bill this year.

HB 153 — New Historic Preservation Tax Credit

The bill moves to bring back what the General Assembly took away last year, giving a 15 percent tax credit to developers for spending up to $10 million, and 10 percent up to $20 million, with development and investment bonuses.

HB 815 — Sexual Assault/Sexual Consent

Colleges that get state funds must have policies for sexual assault, and support services and outreach for victims.

HB 844 — STEM Teacher Forgivable Loan Program

Teach for four years within six of graduation and the loan gets forgiven.

HB 849 — Create Debtor Exemption for Firearms

They cannot come for your guns, even if you owe them money.

HB 938 — Comprehensive Gaming Reform

This settles the strip-mall sweepstakes issue by taxing it, and creates a Gaming Commission to regulate the state’s one casino.


About the district: Two rural precincts are tacked on to the northeast quadrant of Greensboro.

Committee appointments: Environment (vice-chair); Judiciary III (vice-chair)

Terms: 6

Bills: 348, 46 as primary sponsor


H 76 — Disapprove MEC Oil & Gas Rules

No offshore drilling.

H78 — Enact Medical Cannabis Act

An “adequate supply” of smokable marijuana is defined as “not more than 24 ounces.”

HB 159 — Dog Breeding Standards/Law Enforcement Tools

The regulations on dog breeding would make puppy mills illegal.

HB239 — Restore Early Voting Days

This undoes an action by the General Assembly in 2013.

HB 309 — Got Natural Milk

Allows the sale of raw milk in North Carolina.

HB 316 — Give Student BOG Member a Vote (with Johnson)

“An act to provide that the student member of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina shall have the same right to vote as all other members.”

HB 360 — Raise Minimum Wage/Set COLA

Raises the minimum wage from $6.15/hour to $10.10, with increases along with the cost of living.

HB 377 — Efficient and Affordable Energy Rates

Requires tiered electricity rates to encourage conservation and creates a bank to make loans for energy-efficiency projects.

HB 448 — Extend Coal Ash Structural Fill Moratorium

Extends by one year the prohibition on use of coal-ash as structural fill.

HB 610 — Citizens United Disclosures

Shareholders get a vote when corporations domiciled in North Carolina donate more than $10,000 for electioneering.

HB 689 — In-State Tuition/Some NC Immigrant Youth

If you went to high school here, you qualify for in-state tuition.


About the districts: This minority-majority district covers sweeping portions of southeast Greensboro and a swath around Friendly Center and Starmount.

Terms: 1.5

Bills: 356, 14 as primary sponsor


HB 326 — Lottery Game to Benefit Veterans

“An act to create a special North Carolina education lottery game to benefit homeless veterans.”

HB 384 — Greensboro Police/Disciplinary Action (with Harrison)

Gives Greensboro’s police review board access to non-public personnel records.

HB 455 — Local Food Sourcing Tax Credit

Gives a 20 percent tax credit for a grocer who sells local produce in a food desert, and if the amount exceeds taxes owed, the state has to pay the money back.

HB 605 — Reduce Unfair Barriers to Public Employment

“[A] public employer neither ask about nor consider the criminal record of a job applicant until the applicant has been selected by the employer for an interview.”

HB645 — Study/No Emission Testing for Hybrid Vehicle

“An act directing the Division of Motor Vehicles to study the feasibility and advisability of exempting all non-plug-in hybrid motor vehicles from emissions inspections…”

How they voted: Significant legislation

SB 36 — To redistrict Greensboro and restructure city council

Restructures electoral system for Greensboro City Council from five to seven districts while eliminating at-large seats. The mayor would only vote in certain cases.

Status: Passed third reading in Senate, passed first reading in House and referred to Elections Committee

Voted yes: Berger, Krawiec, Wade

Voted no: Lowe, Robinson

SB 287/HB 152 — New Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Provides a tax credit of 15 percent to developers investing up to $10 million — and 10 percent for investments of up to $20 million — for rehabilitation of certified historic structures.

Status: Passed third reading in House, passed first reading in Senate and referred to Ways & Means Committee

Voted yes: Blust, Brockman, Conrad, Faircloth, Hanes, Hardister, Harrison, Johnson, Lambeth, Terry

Did not vote: Howard

HB 13 — Amend School Health Assessment Requirement

Requires children being admitted to public schools for the first time to submit proof of recent health assessment.

Status: Passed third reading in House, passed first reading in Senate and referred to Rules & Operations Committee

Voted yes: Blust, Brockman, Conrad, Faircloth, Hanes, Howard

Voted no: Harrison, Johnson

HB 138 — Arts Education Requirement

Directs the state Board of Education to require one arts education credit prior to graduation from high school

Status: Passed third reading in House, passed first reading in Senate and referred to Rules & Operations Committee

Voted yes: Blust, Brockman, Conrad, Faircloth, Hanes, Harrison, Howard, Johnson, Lambeth, Terry

Voted no: Hardister

Excused absence: Terry

HB 187 — Stalking by GPS/Criminal Offense

Makes it unlawful to knowingly install or place a tracking device without consent and uses it to track the location of an individual has committed the crime of cyberstalking.

Status: Passed second reading in House, referred to Judiciary II Committee

Voted yes: Blust, Brockman, Conrad, Faircloth, Hanes, Hardister, Harrison, Howard, Johnson, Lambeth, Terry

HB 465 — 72 Hours Informed Consent by Person or Phone

Increases the required waiting period before an abortion can be performed from 24 to 72 hours, and requires physicians performing abortions to submit extensive documentation to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Status: Passed second reading in House

Voted yes: Blust, Conrad, Faircloth, Hardister, Howard, Lambeth

Voted no: Brockman, Hanes, Harrison, Johnson, Terry

HB 712 — Pilot Project/Used Needle Disposal

Directs the State Bureau of Investigation to coordinate with the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition to establish a used needle and hypodermic syringe disposal pilot program. Persons participating would have immunity from charges of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Status: Passed third reading in House, passed first reading in Senate and referred to Rules & Operations Committee

Voted yes: Blust, Brockman, Conrad, Faircloth, Hanes, Hardister, Harrison, Howard, Johnson, Lambeth, Terry

HB 713 — Body & Dash Cam Recording/Public Access

About the district: Defines footage from police body-worn and in-car cameras as a record of criminal investigation, and thus exempt from public records law.

Status: Passed third reading in House, passed first reading in Senate and referred to Rules & Operations Committee

Voted yes: Blust, Conrad, Faircloth, Hanes, Hardister, Harrison, Howard, Johnson, Lambeth, Terry

Voted no: Brockman

HB 774 — Restoring Proper Justice Act

Would make it easier for the state of North Carolina to carry out executions by allowing licensed physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and EMTs to substitute for physicians. Also lifts the restriction on “ultrashort acting barbiturate in combination with a chemical paralytic agent” as the only legal means of carrying out executions.

Status: Passed second reading in House

Voted yes: Blust, Conrad, Faircloth, Hardister, Howard, Lambeth

Voted no: Brockman, Hanes, Harrison, Johnson, Terry

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