The governor continues to gradually sign new bills into law as her Aug. 2 deadline for action approaches. This week she signed three more bills into law and only a handful remain for her consideration.
The governor must sign the remaining bills, allow them to become law without her signature or veto them. If she vetoes any bills, the General Assembly could come back to Raleigh to consider whether to override them. I support each of these bipartisan measures and am pleased to see them become law. Governor Perdue has signed into law a measure to allow members of the military and their spouses to receive occupational licenses in North Carolina if they have been permitted by the military or in another jurisdiction. The applicants would have to meet requirements that are substantially equivalent to or exceed North Carolina’s requirements for licensure. Each occupational licensing board is required to implement the new statute within one year. (House Bill 799)
High school students must complete a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training course to graduate beginning with the graduating class of 2015. CPR training has technically been required for high school graduation since 1997, but the requirement has never been enforced. North Carolina is now one of five states with such a requirement. (House Bill 837)
The state will now place defibrillators in all buildings and facilities that house state services or agencies in how to use the devices. The American Heart Association reports that 23 percent of all deaths in North Carolina are attributed to heart disease and that as many as 40,000 deaths nationwide can be prevented through the use of defibrillators. The new law (House Bill 914) also calls for the formation of a task force to identify, pursue, and win public and private funding to pay for the defibrillators and employee training.
The state’s annual sales tax holiday will run from Aug. 3-5. In an effort to better help consumers afford back-to-school items for their children, shoppers on this weekend will not have to pay the sales tax on clothing, school supplies and computers. The sales tax holiday was created by the General Assembly in 2001 and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2002. During the sales tax holiday, consumers will not pay sales tax on clothing, footwear, and school supplies of $100 or less per item; school instructional materials of $300 or less per item; sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item, computers of $3,500 or less per item; and computer supplies of $250 or less per item. For more information on the sales tax holiday, including a list of exempt items and answers to frequently asked questions, go to www.dor.state.nc.us/taxes/sales/salestax_holiday.html.
Stephen LaRoque, the co-chairman of the powerful House Rules committee, has resigned after being indicted on eight federal charges involving the alleged misuse and possible theft of money from a federally funded nonprofit agency he operates. Rep. LaRoque, a Republican, was serving his third term in the House of Representatives representing Greene, Lenoir and Wayne counties. He was appointed Rules chairman by the Speaker of the House in early 2011.
Now that the “Short Session” is over, I am home, in the District hearing from you and your neighbors. Although it is doubtful we will return for another session this year I will continue to serve my constituents until my term expires at the end of the year. I continue to work with any constituents dealing with state government issues. If I can help you with anything please do not hesitate to call me at 704-507-3956.