New bills would allow more leisurely breakfasts, end dues drafts for state employee groups
Posted January 28, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A bill that would have allowed magistrates to refuse to marry same-sex couples may have gotten the most attention, but it was one of more than two dozen bills filed Wednesday.
Have a seat
Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, thinks the folks who stop in to their local convenience store for coffee and a biscuit ought to be able to take a seat.
"It's totally idiotic that you can come in there and eat four biscuits and drink four cups of coffee but not sit down and do the same thing," Tillman said.
Currently, health laws prevent businesses not licensed as restaurants from installing seating, even if they're only heating up sandwiches and drinks.
"I'm looking out for the small businessman and the older folks," he said.
Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, is taking another swipe at a bill that would end the ability of state employees or teachers to have their memberships in unions or professional associations directly deducted from their paychecks. The move would affect groups such as the State Employees Association of North Carolina and the North Carolina Association of Educators.
"I just don't believe the state ought to be in the business of collecting dues for private organizations," Hise said of Senate Bill 3.
A similar bill that passed three years ago was struck down by the courts because it targeted just professional educators. Hise's bill aims to get around the problem by outlawing dues checkoffs for all membership organizations.
Ardis Watkins, a lobbyist for SEANC, said the program isn't costly to the state.
"This is a matter of a few extra key strokes," Watkins said.
She said SEANC is not merely a private group but a group of state employees who have gathered to advocate for their own interests.
One of the many causalities in the failure to pass an economic development bill last session was an idea put forward by now former Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, to allow small investors to crowd-fund start-up companies.
That idea is back in the form of House Bill 14: Start-Ups Act/New Markets Tax Credit, filed by Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, Rep. Rob Bryan, R-Mecklenburg, Rep. Brian Brown, R-Pitt, and Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland.
The measure would allow companies to raise up to $1 million or $2 million, depending on what requirements are met, without registering as a security, provided each investor puts in no more than $2,000.
The bill could have some big-time backing. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla has mentioned crowd-funding as a measure he thinks should pass this year.
Best of the rest
Other bills filed Wednesday included:
- House Bill 8, which would make judicial elections partisan. Currently, those running for courts are not labeled as Republicans or Democrats on the ballot.
- House Bill 6, which would define an autocycle. These vehicles are three-wheeled motorcycles on which riders are inside a completely enclosed shell and do not straddle the bike.
- Senate Bill 6, which would allow retired teachers to work for schools in temporary roles without limiting their health insurance options.