As discussed in previous blogs, House Bill 320: Modernize Remote Business Access is an important piece of legislation that allows for the continuance of certain business transactions to be conducted electronically, beyond the COVID-19 emergency setting.
Specifically, the bill would:
- Authorize remote meetings of corporation shareholders, nonprofit corporation members, and mutual insurance company policy holders.
- Authorize nonprofit corporations to conduct all business electronically.
Since our previous update, House Bill 320 has passed the Senate and is currently waiting for House concurrence with the Senate proposed changes. The ability to conduct business in a virtual setting remains important as employers adjust to operational changes brought about by COVID-19. We will continue to update you as the bill moves forward.
Additionally, a PCS for House Bill 776: Remote Online Notarization saw movement in the Senate last week. The Proposed Committee Substitute would allow authorized North Carolina notaries to remotely perform notarial acts using real time online communication technology. The notary and the principal to the transaction would be required to be physically located in North Carolina at the time of the notarial act. Unfortunately, the current Senate proposal limits the scope of documents that are eligible for remote notarization and therefore we are hopeful that the final bill reflects the original proposal that passed the House in May.
Like the remote business access issue, the remote notarization process was also part of COVID-19 emergency procedures granted to employers during the pandemic. The flexibility that is offered in the House version of HB 776 has been helpful to businesses that remain under some level of internal COVID-19 restrictions. We will continue to encourage the General Assembly to provide as much flexibility as possible for employers by allowing for more remote options. HB 776 is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee, and we will keep you updated on further action.
Finally, The Raleigh City Council released its study group final report. The report focuses on Raleigh City Council election terms, compensation, and voter participation. Currently, Raleigh City Council has five district members, two at-large members and the mayor. Each member serves two- year terms instead of four- year terms. The study committee recommended a four-year term instead of a two-year term and adding one additional district member, increasing the Raleigh Council to nine members. This will avoid deadlocks, improve the decision-making process, and facilitate efficient policy development. The study committee also recommended council members receive a pay raise. Currently, Raleigh city Council members makes far less than their counterparts in Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem. The mayor currently makes $27,550 while council members make $19,725. If the study committee’s recommendation is approved, the mayor could make $45,911 and council members would make $37,248. Finally, the study committee recommended a voter engagement program to help voters feel more included in the election process. A few recommendations to increase voter engagement includes reallocating savings from shifting elections to even years to fund voter engagement, including voter engagement within City’s DEI and community engagement strategy and adding voter engagement to the City’s social media platforms. The study committee’s final recommendations are listed below.
The study group proposed six recommendations:
1. 4 -year terms
2. Staggered terms
3. Even year elections
4. Increase total compensation
5. Develop and implement voter engagement program
6. Add 1 new district council position
We will keep you updated on further action as the Raleigh City Council moves forward with the recommendations of the study committee.
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