Pricey Harrison

Friday, April 29, 2005

Bills I Have Introduced

In my newsletter last week(and post on 4-22), I listed the bills I have introduced this session and promised to list other bills I signed as a primary sponsor. The first group below lists those that I introduced and the second group lists those that I co-sponsored. In addition, I believe it might be helpful to provide brief, descriptive information on those that I sponsored.

DHB 217 Driving From/Leaving Scene of Accident/Stephen's Law (awaiting Senate action). This bill would make it unlawful to drive away from or otherwise leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident in certain circumstances and prohibits a passenger from allowing the vehicle to be removed from the scene of the accident without a law enforcement officer's consent. This bill is meant to correct the weakness in our hit and run law, which was exposed by the tragic death of Stephen Gates, a Greensboro native.

HB 496 Student Asthma Medications (passed House and Senate and signed by the governor this week). The bill requires local school boards to adopt policies permitting students diagnosed with asthma to possess and self-administer certain asthma or anaphylaxis medications. The student must demonstrate to school nurse or designee the skill level necessary to use the asthma medication, that parent or guardian provide school with a backup asthma medication, and that school keep information provided by parents or guardians in an accessible location. It further provides that no local board of education or its employees or volunteers will be liable for any omission relating to any act authorized by statute unless act constitutes gross negligence or was intentional. It also requires that the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Public Instruction, and other appropriate state agencies apply for available federal grants relating to treating, preventing, or training on children's asthma. The need for this bill was brought to my attention by a constituent, Cindy Moseley, whose children are asthmatic with severe allergies.

HB 594 ACC Hall of Champions. Appropriates $20 million for 2005-06 from General Fund to City of Greensboro to establish an Atlantic Coast Conference Hall of Champions in the city. This is a top priority of the Piedmont Triad Legislative Agenda.

HB 837 Funds for "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" School Competition. Appropriates $25,000 for 2005-06 and $25,000 for 2006-07 from General Fund to Department of Public Instruction to enable the State winner to travel to the national competition. The need for this bill was brought to my attention by a student from Northwest Guilford High School, Chase Rumley, who will be representing North Carolina in the national competition.

HB 1135 Environmental Enforcement Accountability Act. Directs the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to establish and maintain a list of chronic violators and a database of enforcement actions to further discourage violations relating to the environment. This would include a maximum civil penalty of $10,000 per occurrence. It would also prohibit the state from doing business with chronic violators.

HB 1295 New Motor Vehicles Warranties/Lemon Law. Clarifies the maximum weight of a motor vehicle that is subject to the New Motor Vehicles Warranties Act and would promote the expeditious settlement of claims when the consumer requests the manufacturer to repurchase the motor vehicle. It deletes the requirement that any vehicle refund made to the consumer be reduced by the amount attributable to the consumer's use of the vehicle after the consumer reports that the vehicle does not conform to warranty.

HB 1327 Criminal Record Checks/Psychology Practice Act. Allows the N. C. Department of Justice to conduct criminal history record checks from state and national repositories of criminal history of applicants for licensure. "Criminal history" is defined to include conviction of specified crimes, but conviction will not automatically bar licensure or reinstatement of license or result in revocation of license. Allows Board to consider convictions along with other specified factors. This legislation was requested by the North Carolina Psychology Board.

HB 1328 Pardon/Expunction of Record. Provides for the expunction of official records when a person is granted a pardon of innocence. The person involved would apply to the court in which he/she was convicted. The bill sets out the scope of the expunction order. I learned about the need for this bill in a conversation with Darryl Hunt, who still carries a first-degree murder conviction on his record despite his pardon of innocence.

HB 1510 Electioneering Communications. The bill would expand the prohibition on the use of corporate and union money (527s) in electioneering communications and related reporting requirements. Includes definition of electioneering communication to be a clearly identified candidate for state or local office from within a territory for an electorate having a total population of more 10,000 as of the most recent federal decennial census. Last year legislation was passed that would impose such requirements on legislative and statewide races. This bill simply adds local and judicial races.

HB 1511 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. This legislation promotes the development of renewable energy in the state through implementation of a renewable energy portfolio standard. State policy would promote diversification of energy resources and private investment in renewable energy resources, including requiring the North Carolina Utilities Commission to initiate proceedings and adopt rules implementing these provisions. In addition, the Commission would track the use of electricity from renewable resources in the state and would report annually to state oversight committees on the percentage of electricity sold in the state from renewable sources. This is an effort to move away from fossil fuels. Twenty-two other states have such a requirement.

HB 1512 Coastal Hazards Disclosure. The bill provides for disclosure of coastal natural hazards to purchasers of coastal properties and is applicable to all properties designated as ocean hazard areas of environmental concern by the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC). The bill directs CRC to prepare disclosure forms and maintain current information and other relevant data for property that is subject to the Act. It applies to property sold or offered on or after July 1, 2006. While on the Coastal Resources Commission, we often heard of unwitting property owners who had no idea of the hazards associated with certain coastal property ownership, The bill simply encourages disclosing hazards when known.

HB 1531 Mercury Reduction and Education. The purpose of the bill is to reduce the quantity of mercury that is released into the environment, that impacts natural resources, and that harms the public health of the citizens of the state. The bill includes prohibitions and exemptions to the requirements for selling or distributing products containing mercury. Manufacturers would be required to notify retailers about these requirements and how to properly dispose of remaining inventory. It directs the Department of Administration to give priority and preference to purchasing products that contain no mercury-added compounds, prohibits schools from purchasing bulk elemental mercury compounds for use in teaching, and directs the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to develop education materials on the hazards cause by the release of mercury, and on proper disposal methods for mercury products. The state of Washington passed similar legislation last session.


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