Legislative sessions work on a biennium with the majority of the legislation passing in the long session, which is held in even-numbered years.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, NCRLA has been fighting for state and federal relief for North Carolina’s hospitality and tourism businesses. Input from thousands of small business owners from across the state went into our Blueprint for Revival of the NC Hospitality Industry, and our Addendum to the Blueprint.
Below are our legislative wins during the long legislative session in 2021:
- $500 Million in Direct State Grants to Businesses – $300 million were protected for use by NAICS Code 71 and 72 businesses. Currently, this is the largest state appropriation of direct financial assistance to the hospitality industry in the nation.
- Paycheck Protect Program (PPP) Expense Deductibility- NCRLA fought for the state tax code to couple with the federal government to allow for full deductibility of business expenses made with PPP funds and for PPP to not be treated as income by the state.
- $5 Million for Workforce Development – state funding is appropriated directly to NCRLA to run a statewide campaign to recruit workers back to the hospitality industry
- $400,000 in funding for the ProStart Program
- Increased Funding for Tourism – $30 million included in the state budget for tourism promotion
- ABC Omnibus Legislation – municipalities can now have permanent outdoor expanded areas for ABC licensed premises, local ABC boards will deliver orders to ABC permittees, and a new NC Spirituous Liquor Advisory Council was established
Below are our legislative wins during the short legislative session in 2022:
- Defeated legislation proposed by Airbnb which would have preempted local government’s ability to regulate all online marketplaces.
- Passed HB 768: 2022 ABC Omnibus: HB 768 includes several provisions of importance to the hospitality industry including:
- Establishment of a bar permit. Customers would no longer be required to pay a membership fee and form to enter a bar. This antiquated system is overly burdensome and not normally enforced in North Carolina
- Allows distilleries that are in dry counties to serve mixed drinks without having to hold a voter referendum
- Distilleries would also be able to attain a new mixed beverage catering permit to cater their products at events
- A new transitional permit would be created to allow a 60-day grace period to transfer the alcohol sales permit to a business’ new owner before it expires
- Passed SB 470: ABC Technical and Other Changes: This bill included major provisions pushed by NCRLA including:
- A restaurant’s seating requirement has been reduced from 36 people to 10 people.
- A bar area or similar area in an establishment where alcoholic beverages are prepared, poured, or mixed is no longer subject to health inspection, except for the preparation of garnishes for alcoholic beverages.
- It is no longer necessary for an establishment to maintain kitchen operations at all times it is open to the public in order to qualify as a restaurant.
- A permittee may recycle spirituous liquor containers for display purposes.
- Passed HB 211: Social District/Common Area Clarifications: This much-needed bill makes clarifications about the implementation of these districts and allows for a new common area entertainment area permit for social districts as well. These changes will help municipalities across the state adopt social districts.
- Passed HB 661: Age Requirement Modifications: This bill makes a number of age requirement modifications to address workforce shortages. It temporarily changes the law from 16 to 15 years old to be able to work at an establishment with an ABC permit. They would still not be allowed to prepare, serve, dispense or sell any alcoholic beverages. This section of the bill is effective when it becomes law, a maximum of ten days from today, and expires December 31, 2023. NCRLA has continued to lobby legislators on the dire shortages of the workforce in the hospitality industry.