In the early morning hours of June 26th, the NC General Assembly (GA) completed most of its work and adjourned the 2019-2020 session. However, the legislature will conduct pro forma sessions over the next week—awaiting Governor Cooper’s decisions on bills passed by the General Assembly—and then formally adjourn on Saturday, July 11, to reconvene on Wednesday, September 2 at noon. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said a voting session might be held before July 11 to take care of veto overrides or other pressing matters.
According to the adjournment resolution SJR 870 Adjourn to Date Certain then Sine Die, the House and Senate will be limited to only considering bills that appropriate federal funds received in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; appointments and confirmations from the General Assembly; and gubernatorial nominations or appointments. Once the Senate and the House adjourn on Thursday, September 3, they stand adjourned sine die.
There were two significant tax bills passed this session, with many of the provisions of these bills being significant focus areas of our NCACPA advocacy efforts. We thank our members for your related efforts, and for your legislative outreach in these areas as well. Attached is an alert summarizing tax legislation enacted during the 2020 session of the NC General Assembly. This alert specifically summarizes the tax provisions included in H1080, H1079, H77, S315, and S704, and was prepared by Bill Nelson with Smith Anderson.
HB 1080Revenue Law Recommendations. The bill changed very little since its introduction. Issue areas addressed in the bill include:
Excise Tax Changes
Sales and Use Tax Changes
Personal Income Tax Changes
Corporate Tax Changes
Tax Enforcement and Administration Change
Extend Certain Sunsets
HB 1079Various Sales Tax Changes. HB 1079 makes changes in the sales tax law.
The issues addressed in the bill include the following:
Relief for Auctioneers and Estate Sale Companies
Expansion of Large Fulfillment Facility Exemption
Clarify Digital Property/Online Learning
Incentives & Grants
HB 1023 Coronavirus Relief Fund/Additions & Revisions. HB 1023, Section 4.2B Job Retention Grants includes a state PPP styled loan program for some businesses and nonprofits. It has strict eligibility criteria and is limited to only $15million in total grants. This bill also directs millions of dollars in federal coronavirus funds mostly to state and local government agencies for diverse projects and programs, such as the implementation of COVID-19 related operations and improvements to the state’s health information exchange network (NC HealthConnex), tourism promotion and grants, additional funding for the NC Biotech Center, the purchase of PPE for public schools, and job retention grants to provide economic support to businesses and nonprofits.
Liability Protections for Businesses, Schools, & Universities
HB 118COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor. This bill provides businesses, government agencies and others limited liability immunity from lawsuits based on the transmission of COVID-19. The bill requires the posting of notices explaining the safety measures taken to prevent viral spread. HB 118 does not provide immunity for gross negligence, wanton conduct or when intentional wrongdoing is allowed. The Senate passed this legislation, and the House concurred. HB 118 has been presented to the Governor.
SB 113Education Omnibus. This bill contains various provisions related to K-12 schools across the state, including providing COVID-19 limited liability protection for private and parochial schools from lawsuits related to tuition and fees from the 2020 spring semester. SB 113 will allow these schools to avoid liability if their actions were reasonably related to protecting the public health, safety or welfare of their students and remote learning options were provided to students to complete their academic year. The Senate and House both adopted the conference report, and SB 113 has been enrolled.
SB 208 COVID-19 Immunity/IHEs. SB 208 provides public and private universities and colleges with limited immunity protection from lawsuits for tuition and fees for the spring 2020 semester. With most students returning home from campus due to the pandemic, SB 208 will allow universities and colleges to avoid liability if their actions were reasonably related to protecting the public health, safety or welfare of its students in accordance with the Governor’s executive orders and CDC guidance. In addition, these colleges and universities had to have offered remote learning options to students for completing their coursework. SB 208 will apply retroactively to any pending lawsuits. SB 208 successfully passed the House with a concurrence vote from the Senate; and it has been presented to the Governor for his consideration.
The GA passed and sent to the Governor numerous bills proposing to overrule the Governor’s emergency order closing certain businesses. Veto override attempts of these bills have not been successful. A list of bills in this category are as follows: