NCYCA Spring Meeting
Legislative Affairs & Alliances Committee Update
March 14, 2017
ZIPLINE REGULATION BILLS
There are currently two bills that have been put forward to consider tighter controls over the operation of ziplines and challenge courses in the state.
HB 196 – Sander’s Law
Introduced by Representative Ted Davis, this bill proposes significant regulation of the zipline and challenge course industry. It would create a division in the Department of Labor to approve, inspect and regulate the industry.
The NCYCA has been working closely with the NC Arial Adventure Association and the NC Alliance of YMCAs to represent a common voice of the industry to Rep. Davis. While we all support the majority of the objectives of this bill (to allow the state to be aware of who is operating ziplines or challenge courses in the state, to allow the state to set minimum standards for operation and to provide a mechanism for oversight of the industry), we believe there are better and less cumbersome avenues to meet these objectives than those outlined in this bill. We have been working with Rep. Davis, with limited success, to address these concerns.
This bill has been referred to House Judiciary Committee 1, but has not been schedule for a hearing.
SB 100 – Aerial Adventure Financial Responsibility
Introduced by Senator Michael Lee, this bill would mandate that all operators of ziplines and challenge courses in the state maintain minimum liability insurance limits. The NCYCA, along with representatives of the NCAAA, spoke at hearing to represent the camping industry and explain requirements in operating ziplines and challenges courses required by insurers and the ACA.
This bill was heard in the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Rules Committee last week, and was favorably moved by both. It is schedule to be heard on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, March 14th.
SCHOOL CALENDAR FLEXIBILITY LAW
To date, 45 bills have been filed to provide local flexibility to the school calendar. The General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division released their report on school calendars and concluded there was no way to reconcile the competing interests related to school calendars. As such, they did not recommend a specific change.
Our understanding is that the Senate leadership is not interested in hearing any bills related to the school calendar regulation. We are working with Ken Melton and his team to be prepared with a clear strategy in the event that any of these bills do begin to move.
BILL TO ALLOW SCHOOLS TO LEASE BUSES TO SUMMER CAMPS
We have researched the legislative restrictions on the leasing of school buses during the times when schools are out. Currently, there is an exception to that rule allowed for programs or services that serve senior citizens. We are working with Ken Melton and his team to determine if can use that language as a basis for an exception to be added for summer camps as well. We are approaching Representatives to determine if there is the possibility to advance such a bill.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CHANGES TO HOURLY PAY RATES (FEDERAL)
The new requirements put in place by the Department of Labor to move the minimum salary threshold for those exempt from hourly pay to $47,000 was put on hold by a Federal court at the end of next year. It is unclear whether the current administration will make any adjustments to the changes that were to be put in place. Some organizations that implemented changes prior to the stay are choosing to continue with those changes. Some organizations are choosing to roll back those changes until the future of the new requirements is clear. It is unclear what, if any, changes may come or when.
CHILD PROTECTION IMPROVEMENTS ACT (FEDERAL)
This bill continues to be of interest to youth serving organizations. It will allow any organizations that serves vulnerable populations (youth, elderly, disabled, etc.) to access the FBI database for background checks. It will not mandate use and does not cost the Federal Government anything, as fees for service will cover the costs associated with the bill. While this bi-partisan bill has the general support of a majority of lawmakers, it has proven very difficult to break through the static of urgent issues at hand to move it into law.
NON-PROFT TAX DEDUCTION
Tax reform is a major priority for the Trump administration. When tax reform is on the table, the tax deduction for charitable contributions is often on the table for discussion as well. There are many studies and two state examples (Hawaii and Michigan) that demonstrate that the removal or capping of this tax deduction creates a significant negative impact on the ability of non-profits to support their local communities.
Early discussions with a variety of representatives, including those on the House Ways and Means Committee, indicate that it is not likely that this tax deduction will be significantly altered. But we have learned to expect the unexpected with this administration, so we are keeping an eye of the issue.