Are NC Leaders Building an Economy that Works for All?

Our elected leaders come together every year to make the policies and refine the systems that connect us to each other and seek to move our state forward. Public policy holds the potential to expand access to opportunity and build a strong foundation for economic growth that reaches all communities and families. 

At the Justice Center, we believe that our elected leaders have a particular duty to serve the common good. That means addressing inequities and the historic exclusion from opportunity of poor and low-income North Carolinians as well as communities of color. 

To build a stronger economy and thriving communities, North Carolina must build the pathways to economic security for everyone in our state.

So have the policy proposals in the 2017 General Assembly Long Session moved our state closer to the goal of an economy that works for all? Below we present an update on the status of a range of bills that have been introduced with particular relevance to our goal to build pathways to opportunity.

Check out the list below.

Click on the "Bill Number" to go to the Bill page on the General Assembly web site, where you can see the history of the legislation, its current status, floor votes, and text of the legislation. Click on ACTION ALERT under the bill number (when applicable) to take action by contacting your legislators.

The table below lists only bills currently active in the state legislature.

Click here to see GOOD LEGISLATION ignored by the General Assembly

Click here to see BAD LEGISLATION (hopefully) ignored by the General Assembly


Click here for the latest information on the state budget and tax proposals.

Active Legislation:

BAD PROPOSAL: This legislation takes North Carolina in the WRONG DIRECTION
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: This legislation COULD have taken North Carolina in the RIGHT DIRECTION

NEEDS DEBATE: This legislation has provisions that take North Carolina in the RIGHT or WRONG direction


Bill Number Summary Rating Area of Interest
SB 594

Requires suspicion-less drug testing of all applicants and recipients of Work First Benefits. Could cost counties million of dollars. Studies show recipients of public assistance are less likely to use drugs than the rest of the population. Repeals the current law aimed at detecting people in need of substance and alcohol abuse treatment. Similar Florida law was struck down as unconstitutional by unanimous decision of Federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Public Benefits

Requires people applying to DSS for temporary assistance or benefits to submit to criminal background check, and requires anyone with an outstanding arrest warrant to be reported to law enforcement.

Public Benefits
SB 721

Enforces a 5 year waiting period after a person convicted of a felony has served their sentence before they can get their voting rights back. Getting their voting rights back must be approved unanimously the county board of elections. Requires strict government issued photo ID to vote and financial hardship oath to obtain free identification. Cuts a full week from the early voting period and ends Sunday voting.

Election Laws
SB 666

Prohibits the child dependency tax deduction ($2,500) for parents if their child registers to vote in the town or city where they attend school instead of their parents’ address. Allows poll observers to move about more freely in the polling place.

Election Laws
SB 428

Cuts a week from the early voting period. Repeals same-day voter registration during the early voting period.

Election Laws
HB 589

Requires photo identification issued by a government entity to vote.

Election Laws
HB 451

Eliminates all early voting on Sundays, eliminates straight ticket voting, eliminates same day voter registration, makes judicial elections partisan, and gives flexibility in applying for absentee ballots.

Election Laws
SB 334

Cancels the lease between the State of NC and the City of Raleigh for the lease of Dix property as a public part.

Sb 76

Expedites fracking in NC.

SB 10

Eliminates and reconstitutes boards and commissions.

SB 306

Capital Punishment/Amendments – Attempts to remove "barriers" to carrying out the death penalty and repeals the Racial Justice Act.

Criminal Justice
SB 20

Good Samaritan Law/Naloxone Access.

Criminal Justice
SB 91

Prohibits expunction inquiry. Employers would not be able to ask prospective employees if they have had a conviction removed from their record.

Criminal Justice
SB 33

Sets clear standards for consideration of criminal records for occupational licensing.

Criminal Justice
HB 730

Ban abortion coverage in private health plans purchased through N.C.'s health exchange.

SB 402

Senate budget bill begins the process to privatize N.C.'s Medicaid program by selling parts of Medicaid to private health insurers.

SB 4

No Health Benefits Exchange or Medicaid Expansion. Rejects Medicaid expansion possible from the Affordable Care Act, meaning 500,000 North Carolinians will not have health care coverage – even though the first three years of coverage would have been paid for completely by the federal government and 90 percent thereafter. North Carolina will not have its own state health benefits exchange to purchase insurance – instead having an exchange set up by the federal government. Signed into law.

HB 786

Allows law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of anyone they stop and detain them for up to 24 hours.

Makes it harder for undocumented immigrants to post bail. Requires anyone who is undocumented and arrested to pay the cost of their detention, and would allow law enforcement to impound and seize the vehicles of any drivers without (or with expired) insurance or licenses.

Includes a ban on matricula consular IDs issued by the Mexican government as an acceptable form of ID. Forces undocumented immigrants to register and obtain an annual restricted driver’s permit or restricted ID that will have a vertical design and include the driver’s thumbprint, which is also a "bull's-eye" license signifying that the person is undocumented. These driving permits or state IDs will not be available to all.

Aside from passing a driving test and having insurance, the legislation establishes additional criteria to qualify for a permit that will be difficult for many immigrants—including farmworkers and seasonal workers—to meet:

  • proof of residency in North Carolina for one year;
  • admit to being in the country without permission;
  • submit fingerprints and pass a criminal background check;
  • prove that he or she was living in NC as of April 1, 2013;
  • and prove N.C. residency for at least one year.
Immigrant and Refugee rights
HB 218

Prohibits undocumented immigrants from attending any public colleges, including community college.

Immigrant and Refugee rights
HB 118

This bill outlaws the recognition of a matricula consular (and possibly passports) by the state or local governments for showing proof of residency or identity.

Immigrant and Refugee rights
SB 516

Eliminates maximum class size for K-4 grades.

SB 337

Creates a taxpayer financed Charter School Board independent of the State Board of Education, and loosens charter school requirements by drastically lowering teacher certification requirements in charter schools.

HB 944

Voucher program that provides up to $4,200 a year or up to 90% of the tuition and fees, whichever is lower, for low-income students to attend a private school.

HB 935

Reduces the income eligibility level for at-risk children for pre-K services and eliminates English language learners from inclusion in the at-risk definition.

HB 719

Creates a task force for educator effectiveness and compensation. Teacher could obtain career status. Teachers with career status who receive a poor rating will lose status, but it could be regained. Modifies statutes on school performance grades.

HB 269

Appropriates state funds to be granted to educate students with disabilities in private schools, who often have admission tests, and other restrictive admission policies.

HB 144

Provides parents who home school their children a tax credit valued at $2,500 per year without any accountability to taxpayers. Impact is a reduction of $97 million in the first year up to $200 million in fiscal year 2017-18.

SB 374

Would give local school systems budget flexibility to eliminate the requirement for limiting class size in the early grades.

SB 361

Ends teacher "tenure," enacts a grading system for schools, provides increased "pay for performance," among other provisions.

HB 802

Limits the ability of tenants to have their claims heard in court and to remove their possessions once a court has ordered an eviction.

HB 773

Limits the ability of local governments to hold slum lords accountable for housing code violations.

HB 203

Repeals protections from foreclosure rescue scams, rent with option to buy, and contracts for deeds.

SB 394

Shifts the tax load slightly to bottom 80% of taxpayers. Reduces personal, corporate and sales tax rates and adopts a flat income tax rate of 6%. Closes corporate loopholes and breaks and expands the base of the sales tax to services as well as limits the value of itemized deductions for higher wealth taxpayers. Does not include the EITC.

Fiscal Policy: Taxes and Budgeting
HB 382

Three fifths majority would be required to raise taxes.

Fiscal Policy: Taxes and Budgeting
HB 984

Requires implementation of zero-based budgeting for the state budget by the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium.

Fiscal Policy: Taxes and Budgeting
HB 274

Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). Would limit spending to an arbitrary formula through constitutional amendment thereby tying the hands of future legislatures to invest according to needs.

Fiscal Policy: Taxes and Budgeting
HB 82

Reduces State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – Brings the value of the state EITC to a lower percent of the federal credit. Sunset of State EITC likely at the end of 2013. Impacts 907,000 low-income families who work and pay taxes.

Fiscal Policy: Taxes and Budgeting

Repeal of NC's Estate Tax – Affects estates valued at more than $5.25 million. In 2012, just 23 estates paid the state estate tax. Results in loss of $52 million.

Fiscal Policy: Taxes and Budgeting
SB 677

Reduces the corporate income tax rate to 6 percent, moves towards single sales factor apportionment and closes some loopholes. Estimated revenue loss is $340 million.

Fiscal Policy: Taxes and Budgeting
SB 669

Reduces the personal income tax to 4% by 2016 resulting in the loss of nearly $6 billion in revenue.

Fiscal Policy: Taxes and Budgeting
HB 875

The bill would allow payday lenders back into NC. Payday loans are short term loans, lasting only until the borrower next gets paid and requires the borrower to give the lender access to the borrower’s bank account on payday, ensuring that the lender will be repaid. The annual percentage rates on these loans will be 392%.

Consumer Protection
HB 721

Allows car title lending in NC, authorizes lenders to make loans to borrowers that own their cars outright. The loans are secured by the borrower’s vehicle. The borrower gives the title of the vehicle to the lender, along with a copy of the keys to the vehicle. The loan period is a maximum of 30 days. If, at the end of the 30 day loan period, the borrower doesn’t repay the entire loan amount plus interest, the lender can simply take the borrower’s car. The interest on these loans is at an annual percentage rate of approximately 300%.

Consumer Protection
SB 489

Dramatically raises interest rates on small loans and eliminates consumer protections.

Consumer Protection
SB 89

Repeals ban on pay day lending. Authorizes “deferred presentment transactions” up to $500 and enables the lender to charge a 15% fee per $100 borrowed.

Consumer Protection
HB 677

Bars any city or county from enacting any ordinance providing for union or labor organization dues check-off

Workers' Rights
HB 834

Reduces substantive and procedural due process rights afforded NC State employees.

  • (1) Reconstitutes the State Personnel Commission and moves the agency from the Department of Administration to the Governor’s office, reduces training and reporting demands, but expands authority,
  • (2) Adds 500 additional positions that the governor may designate as exempt from the newly named NC Human Resources Act and adds the offices of State Personnel, Budget and Management and Information and Technology services where they may also be designated,
  • (3) Changes what and how a state employee might grieve, narrowing the field of grievances and increasing the burden on the appellant employee in the process.
Workers' Rights

Calls for a constitutional provision for “Right-to-Work” requirement and no collective bargaining for public employees, which is already NC law. Requires a secret ballot for union elections and voids any agreements between unions and local governments.

Workers' Rights
HB 4

Makes drastic cuts to NC’s Unemployment Insurance program in benefits, eligibility and period of receipt. Loss of federal emergency benefits program from July – December 2013. 170,000 laid off workers affected. Loss of estimated at $500 million in 100% paid for federal benefits. Signed into law.

Workers' Rights