In a rare move, the House on Thursday, unanimously approved a regulatory reform bill that aims to remove some reporting requirements to the state and clean up redundancies in state government.
The bill, S303, would serve to remove some of the reporting requirements to the state’s many bureaucratic boards that oversee agricultural, energy, environmental, and natural resources policy requirements in the state.
“Our work is a continuation of the conservative majority’s effort to provide meaningful legislation targeting unnecessary and overly burdensome regulations,” said Rep. Chris Millis (R-Pender), who is one of the representatives running the bill in the House. “The House’s Regulatory Reform legislation addresses a broad spectrum of regulatory red tape facing property owners and entrepreneurs striving to prosper in our state — all while maintaining a commitment to protect health, safety, and our commonly shared environment.”
The bill would eliminate a number of reports submitted to the legislature’s Environmental Review Commission (ERC) that Millis said are redundant. The measure would also lengthen the reporting deadlines on reports that he said are unnecessarily frequent.
Millis said that there is too much authority delegated to people who are not accountable to the voters of the state. This delegated authority tends to grow the size and scope of government, he added.
The bill, crafted in conjunction with Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Forsyth), calls for the study of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ role in evaluating the military-related criteria to include in consideration when looking to approve wind turbine permit requests.
The bill also includes calls for studies on the size of riparian buffers required for intermittent streams and if any modifications should be made.
The bill also includes changes to some business regulations relating to the relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee. The legislation clarifies that the franchisor is not the employer of the franchisee for a number of employment claims and legal actions in state court.
The bill also clarifies that landlords charging tenants for the cost of water or sewer service are not then considered utilities.
The bill also establishes a three-year statute of limitations for the government to bring action on land-use violations, given that the facts constituting the violation are known to the governing body, or that the violation can be determined from the public records of the unit of local government.
The section endeavors to clarify that landlords are not utilities and are nor beholden to the same regulations as a utility for a common practice.
The language is meant to prevent local governments from circling back many years after the fact to enforce easily identifiable land use violations against property owners, Millis said.
“We have defined a timeline for cities to enforce these sorts of violations, which was entirely lacking in statute previously” Millis said. “This provision prevents bad actors in local government from abusing their power over land use violations.”
The bill would also make clear that public bodies do not have to spend time compiling information that is readily available to the public online for free already under public information requests.
The measure has been sent to the Senate.