Legislative Update: Minimum wage bills filed before Spring Break
Apr 04, 2021
SEANC’s lobbying team spent this week working on several bills as legislators rushed to finish work ahead of the General Assembly’s Spring Break. No votes will be taken next week in the House or the Senate.
Two new bills were introduced regarding a $15 minimum wage. Senate Bill 447 raises the minimum for all workers (not just state employees) to $15 an hour, while Senate Bill 412 calls for the legislature to extend the state employee starting salary of $15 an hour to non-certified school employees.
SEANC worked with Republican leadership in 2017 to implement the $15 an hour for agency employees and university employees and is working with leaders again to extend that minimum wage to public school and community college employees.
Senate Bill 355 was also introduced this past week and contains unconstitutional language that would open up employee personnel files to the public with no regard to property or due process rights. This bill is the same language that has failed in the General Assembly three times before. It would allow ANYONE full access to a state employer’s personnel file, including any comments from supervisors about disciplinary actions in real time, even though an employee’s appeal of potentially false information could take months. This could result in an employee’s personal or professional reputation being ruined based solely on an accusation. SEANC strongly opposes this bill.
State Treasurer Dale Folwell stepped up the push for House Bill 169 this week, condemning hospitals’ “Pattern of Deceit” on price transparency. H169 would allow the State Health Plan’s staff access to data on claims payments. SEANC sees this bill as essential in the continued fight to bring transparency to the plan and rein in costs. “What do North Carolina’s state employees and taxpayers pay? We don’t know,” said Treasurer Folwell. “The state hospital won’t tell the state treasurer what it’s charging to treat state employees. That’s unacceptable. We need access to our own data.”
SEANC lobbyists are lobbying members of the Senate to oppose a section of House Bill 243 as well. This bill has a section which would allow universities to cut salaries up to 20 percent for anyone making $45,000 or more. With a state surplus of more than $4 billion, this language is unnecessary. Our universities can manage their budgets without cutting salaries. SEANC does not oppose the rest of this bill but we are committed to seeing the salary cutting language removed.