Senate - 26
Contact Info

Room 2007
16 W. Jones St.
(919) 733-5708

Bill Abbreviations
2R – Second Reading
3R – Third Reading
MC – Motion to Concur
ACR – Adopt Conference Report
VO – Veto Override
A# - Amendment (and corresponding number to amendment)
MSR – Motion to Suspend the Rules
RCS – Roll Call Number
Voted Conservatively
Did Not Vote Conservatively
Absent/No Vote
Excused Vote

Phil Berger (R)

Score: 90.9 out of 100
Rank: 6 out of 50

This bill would once again require District and Superior Court judicial candidates to go through a party primary, and would place party affiliation on the general election ballots. Civitas believes party affiliation provides important information for voters, and that greater transparency and information for voters improves the election process. The conservative vote is yes. RCS #12 (32-15)

Roll Call Vote #12

This bill originally expanded transparency on dental insurance contracts, but an additional provision allowing for lenders to add credit property insurance onto more types of consumer loans. Civitas Action believes that eliminating government barriers to expanded options for consumers is a positive. This law would not mandate any sort of insurance, merely allow for the option. - The conservative vote on the veto override is yes. - Senate: VO, RCS #552 (30-9)

Roll Call Vote #552

House Bill 467 Agriculture and Forestry Nuisance Remedies This bill creates limits on the “compensatory damages that may be awarded to a plaintiff for a private nuisance action where the alleged nuisance emanated from an agricultural or forestry operation.” In the case of a temporary nuisance, the damages would be limited to the fair rental value of the plaintiff’s property, while in permanent nuisance cases the damages would be limited to the fair market value of the property. Civitas Action supports lawsuit reforms, including those that place sensible limits on the amount that can be awarded in certain lawsuits. This grade is based upon the veto override vote. The conservative vote is yes. RCS 193 (30-18)

Roll Call Vote #193

House Bill 589, Competitive Energy Solutions for NC Despite its name, this bill is anything but competitive or a solution. Most troubling is an entirely new program, the Solar Rebate Program on page 17 of the bill. This program is very similar to the expired tax credits NC was offering, except in this case instead of the taxpayer paying for them, it will be utility customers paying through their electric bills. Other provisions in the bill include: lifting the state’s ban on third-party leasing, promoting net metering, shortening the terms of contracts between utilities and “renewable” energy providers, and introducing a competitive bidding process for utilities soliciting proposals from “renewable” facility developers. While we can acknowledge aspects of the bill, like competitive bidding and shortening contract terms, may be beneficial to ratepayers, the troubling nature of the rebate program in particular creates concern enough for Civitas Action to oppose this bill. Civitas Action opposes government mandates and subsidies in any industry, especially in the energy industry which affects all businesses and citizens across the state. We urge our legislators to either kill this bill or take prudent and reasonable action and turn it into a study bill to make sure they get the legislation right. NOTE: After the original version of the bill was approved by the House (and votes graded by Civitas Action), a conference substitute bill was created. The original substitute bill was deemed “neutral” by Civitas Action, but changes to the substitute moved the bill closer to the original House version (changes such as shortening the wind energy moratorium and increasing the solar mandate). As such, Civitas Action graded the Senate vote on the updated conference bill. (Civitas Action will retain the original House vote as the graded vote because more votes were cast.) The conservative vote on both versions of the bill is no. House Votes on original bill, Senate vote on Conference substitute House: 2R, RCS #585 (108-11) Senate: ACR, RCS #523 (36-4)

Roll Call Vote #523

This bill moves from the governor to the legislature two appointments to the State Medical Board, and also allows an employee at the NC Industrial Commission to draw an additional salary for serving on the state Property Tax Commission. Technical updates to other legislation was also included. The conservative vote on the veto override is yes. Senate: VO, RCS #553 (30-9)

Roll Call Vote #553

Would require 15 percent of annual projected state revenue increases be set aside into the state’s Rainy Day Fund. This, along with other measures restricting the ease with which funds from the account can be appropriated, will better grow and preserve the savings reserved for difficult fiscal times. Civitas believes prudent, fiscally responsible measures such as this helps the long-term financial health of the state and protects taxpayers. The conservative vote is yes. Senate: 2R, RCS #49 (49-0)

Roll Call Vote #44

Senate Bill 257 The conference committee “compromise budget” (SB 257) includes significant tax cuts, holds spending growth under TABOR measures, creates an ambitious school choice program and continues to prudently set aside money into the state’s savings reserve. The budget also continues the scheduled increases in investments of the Opportunity Scholarship Program and addresses perhaps the state’s largest fiscal challenge by eliminating state health benefits for retired state employees for those hired after Jan. 1, 2017. While acknowledging the negative aspects of this budget, most notably the corporate welfare (e.g. film grant funds) and millions in pork spending, Civitas Action believes that on net the good outweighs the bad, and Gov. Cooper was wrong to veto it. Therefore, the conservative vote to override Cooper’s veto on the budget is yes. House and Senate Votes Senate: VO, RCS #352 (34-14)

Roll Call Vote #352

SB 325 Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut - This bill reduces income taxes for virtually all taxpayers and provides tax relief to North Carolina businesses. Estimates project that total tax savings will exceed $1 billion in the next biennium, and grow in size in future years. Changes include: a reduction in the personal income tax rate from 5.499% to 5.35%, an increase in the standard deduction; and cuts to the corporate income tax and a lowering and simplification of the state’s franchise tax. Civitas Action supports reductions of the tax burden on individuals and businesses in order to scale back government’s intrusion of our lives, and to create more job opportunities and economic growth. The conservative vote is yes. Senate: RCS 54 (35-14)

Roll Call Vote #54

This bill would repeal the ability of the state government to withhold association dues from employee paychecks in order to pay association membership dues. For years, NCAE and other association groups of state employees have utilized state government resources to withhold money from their members’ paychecks in order to collect membership dues. Civitas Action believes this is not a proper function of the state government, which is using taxpayer dollars. The conservative vote is yes. Senate: RCS 151 (32-17)

Roll Call Vote #151

This bill would place on the November, 2018 ballot a vote to change the state constitution’s current cap on the income tax rate of 10% down to 5.5%. The current flat personal income tax rate is 5.499% and the corporate income tax rate is 3%. Civitas Action believes in strongly protecting North Carolina taxpayers against future legislatures’ desire to raise taxes to fuel their spending habits. The conservative vote is yes. Senate: 3R, RCS #20 (36-13)

Roll Call Vote #20

The resolution would authorize the North Carolina legislature to apply to the U.S. Congress for a calling of a Convention of the States to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Article V of the Constitution provides for such a convention to be called upon the application of two-thirds of the states. The purpose of the convention would be to propose amendments “that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.” Civitas Action supports measures to restore balance between the power of the federal government and states’ rights. The conservative vote is yes. Senate: RCS 176 (29-20)

Roll Call Vote #176