As the calendar turns to February and this year’s legislative session works through its second week, things have remained pretty quiet thus far. There are, however, three bills already introduced that Civitas will be keeping an eye on:
- House Bill 3 – this bill would place on the ballot in fall of 2018 an amendment to the state constitution clarifying that the state’s eminent domain powers could only be used for a “public use” and that “just compensation shall be paid” to the landowner, as determined by a jury. This would be an important step in protecting property rights and protecting against the state government’s abuse of its eminent domain powers.
- House Bill 10 – along the same lines as HB 3, this bill would change the statutory law regarding the state’e eminent domain powers, changing the current power from the ability to exercise eminent domain for “public use or benefit” to just “public use.” That is an important distinction and would restrict the state’s ability to improperly use its eminent domain powers.
- House Bill 7 – this bill would strengthen the state’s rainy day fund (savings reserve) by limiting the amount of the savings the legislature can spend in any given year (while allowing for exceptions if 2/3 majority approve), specify the uses of the funds, require 15% of each year’s year-over-year increase in tax revenue be placed in the Fund, and also require any savings from refinancing state debt to be placed into the Fund. This is a fiscally prudent move to better prepare NC for the inevitable cyclical nature of state revenue, so there will be no need to resort to “temporary taxes” or wild spending swings to cover for major revenue drop offs when recessions hit.
Each of these bills are in committee awaiting further action.