The 2020 short session of the North Carolina Legislature was marked by the emergence of the coronavirus in our state. From the moment they convened, almost all legislation concerned the virus itself, responses to the economic damage it has wrought and disbursement of federal funds to our counties, with a few other nuggets tucked in there just to keep the wheels on the bus.

As in the 2019 session, at the outset Republicans held majorities in both the House (65-55) and Senate (29-21), and a Democrat governor attempted to hold them in check.

The Senate passed 70 bills into law this session, the House 54. Four House Bills failed to override a governor’s veto; three of his vetoes held in the Senate. And almost all of the drama concerned Republicans pressuring Gov. Cooper to “reopen” the state before he was comfortable doing so.

Like most members of the General Assembly, Guilford and Forsyth representatives put in a lot of hasty work this session as the global emergency took shape.

FORSYTH HOUSE

Rep. Debra Conrad/ Wes Schollander (R) District 74 (Note: Rep. Conrad resigned on July 31; Rep. Schollander was appointed on Aug. 19)

Wes Schollander
Debra Conrad
  • Terms: 4/1
  • About the district: As currently drawn, District 74 forms a horseshoe around the northern half of Forsyth County outside of Winston-Salem. (The reconfigured district for the November election covers the southwest corner of the county, including Lewisville and Clemmons)
  • Rep. Schollander’s committee chairs: None
  • Rep. Schollander’s sponsored bills: None

Rep. Donny Lambeth (R) District 75

  • Terms: 4
  • About the district: As currently drawn, District 75 forms a horseshoe around the southern half of Forsyth County outside of Winston-Salem, stretching from Kernersville in the east around to Clemmons. (The reconfigured district for the November election more or less forms a horseshoe around the eastern half of the county.)
  • Committee chairs: Chair, Health; senior chair, Appropriations; vice chair, Appropriations, Health and Human Services
  • Sponsored bills: 13
  • Highlights:
  • HB 1087 — Waste/Wastewater Public Enterprise Reform: Requires Local Government Commission approval for grant applications by local governments for water and wastewater systems.
    • Status: Signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on July 1
  • HB 1208 — Funding for Workforce Housing Loan Program: Appropriates $20 million for the Workforce Housing Loan Program.
    • Status: Signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on June 19
  • HB 1187 — Raise the Age Funding: Appropriates $5.7 million for renovations to the CA Dillon Youth Development Center in Granville County; $2.8 million for renovations to the Perquimans Youth Development Center; and $2.0 million for construction of the Youth Development Center in Rockingham County. The investments in juvenile confinement facilities are for the purpose of preparing for implementation of Raise the Age, which ends the practice of trying youth offenders as adults for serious crimes.
    • Status: Signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on June 12   

Rep. Derwin Montgomery (D) District 72

  • Terms: 1.5
  • About the district: As currently configured, District 72 covers the northern half of Winston-Salem. The redrawn district, which goes into effect in 2021 and is in play for the November election, cuts a diagonal swath, starting in the neighborhoods east of Carver School Road, and running through the south side of the city down to the Davidson County line.
  • Committee chairs: None
  • Sponsored bills: 7
  • Highlights:
  • HB 1124 — Funding for NC Housing Trust Fund: Appropriates an additional $100 million to the NC Housing Trust Fund.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 1125 — WSSU/Online Education/CARES Act Funds (with Terry): Appropriates $4 million from CARES Act funds to Winston-Salem State University for infrastructure upgrades to allow the university to move to online instruction.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 1145 — Farming Modernization Act: Appropriates $50 million to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to provide grants to farmers to for conversion to production of marijuana for medical use.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 1143 — North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act: Allows qualified patients to purchase and possess cannabis (marijuana) for medical use with a doctor’s prescription and protects designated caregivers from arrest, prosecution or penalty for purchasing or possessing the drug for use by the patients they serve.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 1165 — Modify City Council/City of Winston-Salem: Expands the number of seats on Winston-Salem City Council from eight to 10, with two at-large seats added to the eight district seats currently in place. Modifies the process of filling vacancies on city council by establishing a process for a special election in place of the current process of allowing the executive committee of the political party of the incumbent to select the replacement.
    • Status: Died in committee 

Rep. Evelyn Terry (D) District 71

  • Terms: 4
  • About the district: As currently configured, District 71 covers the south end of Winston-Salem. The redrawn district, which goes into effect in 2021 and is in play for the November election, covers a big chunk of the city towards the northwest, running west from Carver School Road and north from Salem Parkway
  • Committee chairs: None
  • Sponsored bills: 3
  • Highlights:
  • HB 1144 — CARES Act Funds for Winston-Salem (with Montgomery): Appropriates $30 million in CARES Act funds to the city of Winston-Salem for purposes of preventing community spread of the coronavirus.
    • ° Status: Died in committee
  • HB 694 — Designate Legacy Airports (with Montgomery and Conrad): Instructs the state Department of Transportation to designate as a legacy airport any airport in the state that meets the following criteria: being owned and operated by a county or airport authority, being established before 1945, having an actively used runway that is at least 6,500 feet long, and having contributed significantly to the development of the state.
    • ° Status: Signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on July 1

Rep. Lee Zachary (R) District 73

  • Terms: 3
  • About the district: District 73 covers the entirety of Yadkin County and the western tip of Forsyth surrounding Lewisville. The reconfigured district, which goes into effect next yar and will be in play for the November election, also includes all of Yadkin County but takes in the northwest corner of Forsyth County, including Tobaccoville and Rural Hall.
  • Committee chairs: Chair, Judiciary Committee on Civil Matters; vice chair, Judiciary
  • Sponsored bills: 5
  • Highlights:
  • HB 451 — Temp. ABAWD Time Waivers: Allows the state Department of Health and Human Services to seek a temporary waiver from the time limits for able-bodied adults without dependents participating in the food and nutrition services program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 679 — Rules of Civ Procedure/E-Filing and Service: Changes the rules of civil court procedure by allowing parties to file electronically.
    • Status: Signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on June 26
  • HB 736 — Elective Share-Joint Accounts (with Conrad): Clarifies legal guidelines for inheritance when a person dies: “An act to limit spousal share with respect to jointly held property to a rebuttable presumption of in-kind contributions unless otherwise established by clear and convincing evidence and to require a fee for filing a claim for an elective share.”
    • Status: Signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on June 30
  • HB 1106 — Judicial Discretion of FTA Release: Gives judicial officials discretion in setting conditions for pretrial release for defendants that have previously failed to appear in court.
    • Status: Died in committee 
  • HB 1195 — Sales Tax Exemption/Bankruptcy Proceedings: No sales tax on items sold during a bankruptcy proceeding.
    • Status: Died in committee

FORSYTH SENATE

Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R) District 31

  • Terms: 3 (+1 in House)
  • About the district: District 31 contains Forsyth’s rural tracts outside Winston-Salem and the entirety of Davie County.
  • Committee chairs: Appropriations on Health and Human Services, Health Care
  • Primary sponsored bills: 5
  • Highlights:

Sen. Paul Lowe (D) District 32

  • Terms: 2
  • 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: 6
  • Highlights:

GUILFORD HOUSE

Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D) District 57

  • Terms: 1
  • About the district: The district starts in east Greensboro near East Market Street and stretches north and northwest, picking up much of the northern parts of the city before ending at the edges of Lake Brandt and Lake Townsend.
  • Committee chairs: None
  • Primary sponsor bills: 20
  • Highlights:
  • HB 1190 — UNC-TV/At-Home Learning Initiative: Appropriates $1.9 million in funds from the Coronavirus Relief Reserve to UNC-TV to distribute school programming and instruction through public television.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 1182 — Funds for Educational Entities/COVID: Transfers funds from the Coronavirus Relief Reserve to help assist public schools, community colleges and public UNC schools during the pandemic.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 1180 — Sam’s Law (with Hardister): Requires schools to train about seizures, have first aid for seizures and have a seizure action plan.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 1166 — CARES Act Funds for Greensboro (with Harrison, Quick, Brockman): Asks for $3 million from the Local Government Fund, allocated by the federal government, to help Greensboro combat coronavirus.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 1113 — Local Option Sales Tax/School Construction (with Hardister, Faircloth, Brockman): Allows Guilford County commissioners to vote on whether or not to put an additional one-quarter percent additional sales tax referendum on the November ballot for school repairs and construction.
    • Status: Died in committee

House Minority Whip Amos L. Quick III (D-Guilford) District 58

  • Terms: 2
  • About the district: This southwestern district reaches towards Jamestown near Grandover Resort and then creeps up towards the UNCG area and Hamilton Lakes.
  • Committee chairs: None
  • Bills: 4
  • Highlights:
  • HB 1166 — CARES Act Funds for Greensboro (with Harrison, Quick, Brockman): Requests $3 million from the Local Government Fund, allocated by the federal government, to help Greensboro combat coronavirus.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 413 — Funds to Support Greensboro/US Figure Skating (With Faircloth, Hardister, Quick, Clemmons): Gives $150,000 to the city of Greensboro to offset the cost of renting the Greensboro Coliseum for the 2020 US Figure Skating Championship.
    • Status: Died in committee

House Majority Whip Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) District 59

  • Terms: 4
  • About the district: Hardister’s district, which is shaped like a “C,” covers almost half of the county including much of the rural eastern parts. It then curves westward towards Summerfield in the north and Jamestown in the south.
  • Committee chairs: Alcoholic Beverage Control (vice-chair); Appropriations (vice-chair); Appropriations, Capital (chair); Banking (vice-chair)
  • Bills: 12
  • Highlights:

Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) District 60

  • Terms: 3
  • About the district: Brockman’s district runs vertically along the western part of the county, starting near West Market Street near the airport, and moves south towards High Point, catching a bit of Jamestown on the way.
  • Committee chairs: Vice chair, Education K-12
  • Bills: 4
  • Highlights:

Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) District 61

  • Terms: 8
  • About the district: Harrison’s district covers a swath of Greensboro from Franklin Boulevard on the eastern side through downtown towards Guilford College to the west.
  • Committee chairs: Vice-chair,Environment
  • Bills: 9
  • Highlights:

Rep. John Faircloth (R-Guilford) District 62

  • Terms: 5
  • About the district: Faircloth’s district covers the westernmost portion of the county, starting in Stokesdale, descending all the way to High Point.
  • Committee chairs: Vice-chair,Appropriations, Justice and Public Safety
  • Bills: 11
  • Highlights:
  • HB 425 – Implement Conner’s Law: Appropriates $1.2 million to pay for benefits provided under Conner’s Law which increased the penalty for assaulting a law enforcement officer from a Class E felony to a Class D felony. This bill provides funding for a death benefit for employees killed in the line of duty.
    • Status: Signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on July 2
  • HB 1113 — Local Option Sales Tax/School Construction (with Hardister, Faircloth, Brockman): Allows Guilford County commissioners to vote on whether or not to put an additional one-quarter percent additional sales tax referendum on the November ballot for the use of school repairs.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 633 — Temp. Outdoor Restaurant/Bar: This bill initially started out as a bill titled “Strengthen Criminal Gang Laws,” which it was first introduced in April 2019. Since, then it’s undergone major changes and in its current state, allows for businesses to temporarily have outdoor dining.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • HB 885 — Only Allow Courts to Charge FTA Fee Once: States that a fee for failure to appear to court can only be collected once in a criminal case.
    • Status: Signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on July 1

GUILFORD SENATE

Sen. Michael Garrett (D) District 27

  • Terms: 1
  • 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: 25
  • Highlights:
  • SB 704 — COVID-19 Recovery Act (with Robinson, Gunn, Tillman, Krawiec, Lowe): Pretty much everyone signed onto this bill, which was actually filed on April 28, before the COVID shutdown. It ended up as a 70-pager, with many financial measures, instructions for schools and community colleges, rules for healthcare facilities, adjustments to DMV procedures and authorizations of studies, among other things. It’s a monster.
    • Status: Signed into law by Gov. Cooper on May 4
  • SB 734 — Reinstate Earned Income Tax Credit (with Lowe, Robinson): Reinstates a 5 percent credit against earned income tax through 2024.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • SB 747 — $15/Hour Min. Pay for Noncert. Sch. Employees: “An Act to Require the Hourly Rate of the Minimum Salary for Noncertified Public School Employees to be at Least Fifteen Dollars Per Hour.”
    • Status: Died in committee
  • SB 766 — Rebuild A Better NC Bond Act: Establishes a $3 billion bond for “construction and renovation of public school facilities,” including UNC universities, community colleges and county-level infrastructure. Projects capped at $300 million each.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • SB 770 — Mixed Beverage Permit Fees/Reimburse Portion: Refunds mixed-beverage permit fees to restaurants and bars for March through May, with the option of keeping it capped through June 2021.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • SB 830 — CARES Act Funds for Greensboro: Asks for $3 million from the Local Government fund, allocated by the federal government, to help Greensboro combat coronavirus.
    • Status: Died in committee
  • SB 858 — Expand Mixed Beverage Sale During Pandemic: Allows restaurants to include mixed drinks with to-go orders.
    • Status: Died in committee

Sen. Rick Gunn (R) District 24

  • Terms: 5
  • About the district: District 24, covers all of Alamance County and the rural eastern strip of Guilford.
  • Committee chairs: Chairsa Appropriations on Agriculture, Natural and Economic Resources; Commerce and Insurance
  • Primary sponsored bills: 2
  • Highlights:
  • SB 733 — UNC Capital Projects: Allows two UNC schools to finance projects without drawing from the General Fund: UNC-Chapel Hill ($28.5 million) and Western Carolina University ($20 million).
    • Status: Signed into law by Gov. Cooper on July 1

Sen. Gladys Robinson (D) District 28

  • Terms: 5
  • 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: 13
  • Highlights:

Sen. Jerry Tillman/Sen. David Craven Jr. (R) District 26 (Note: Sen. Tillman resigned on June 30; Sen. Craven was appointed July 17)

  • Terms: 9/1
  • 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: 5/0
  • Highlights:

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