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Moss files Make North Carolina Home Act; orders amendment adding penalties in energy security bill

RALEIGH — Richmond County’s delegate in the state House of Representatives aims to make housing more affordable.

One provision of H.B. 54, the Make North Carolina Home Act, filed Monday by Rep. Ben Moss, would require the state building code to be translated into Spanish in addition to the already existing English version.

The Building Code Council would have to provide Spanish copies on written request and the council would have to report on the progress of the translated edition to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government by April 1.

Moss’ bill also directs the N.C. Department of Commerce to “establish and maintain a public website to track all local planning, zoning, and land-use regulations …”

The goal of that website would be to:

  • Create transparency for the public in the various land-use and building permitting processes across localities;
  • allow prospective developers to understand, compare, and contrast the various markets and building requirements in different areas; and
  • provide a central location of information to assist local planning departments and board members in obtaining details on policies.

The Commerce Department would also have to create a program to partner with the state’s 100 counties on residential site selection and set measurable goals on fulfilling housing needs in the next decade.

According to the bill, the website: “should contain a repository of sites and locations to allow interested parties to make an informed site location …” which would allow developers to “determine a suitable market and the prospective profitability of a given site.”

“North Carolina is growing rapidly, but we have a serious shortage of housing that is leaving thousands of individuals and families without affordable options,” Moss said in a press release. “As part of my broader goal to make our state the best place to live, work, and raise a family; I want to see homeownership attainable for every hardworking North Carolinian.

“This bill is going to improve and streamline our system by collaborating with the Department of Commerce and local governments to create transparency and certainty in the land development and residential construction process.”

Co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Kevin Crutchfield, R-Cabarrus, Edward Goodwin, R-Chowan, and Bill Ward, R-Pasquotank.

This makes the sixth bill Moss has introduced during the current session of the General Assembly.

Click here to read about earlier legislation.

On Feb. 1, Moss ordered an amendment to H.B. 21, the Energy Security Act of 2023, that adds criminal penalties to those who “willfully destroy, damage, or injure an electrical substation.”

The amended bill makes the crime a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Violators would also be hit with a civil penalty to pay for damages.


(Note: The amendment did not appear in online legislative records on Feb. 6.)

Moss filed the original bill on Jan. 30, which requires utility companies to provide around-the-clock security at substations.

“From the start, my objective was to have everyone come together to find policy solutions that are feasible and cost-effective,” Moss said in a press release last week. “The first draft of this bill was a necessary step to get the conversations started and after receiving feedback from my constituents, I have decided that we need stronger penalties to work in tandem with the security regulations. It is imperative that we protect our power grids and deter future attacks on this critical infrastructure.”

The bill came less than two months after an attack at two substations in Moore County left more than 40,000 homes and businesses in the dark for several days. Several homes in Richmond County were also affected.

There had also been a previous act of vandalism at a substation in Jones County.

The Energy Security Act passed its first reading in the House and has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Public Utilities and the bill currently has 21 co-sponsors.

Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Moore, introduced a similar bill in his chamber of the General Assembly, along with Sens. Danny Britt, R-Robeson, and Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus.

S.B. 58, titled “Protect Critical Infrastructure,” makes it a Class C felony to damage or destroy — or attempt to — an energy facility and levies a $250,000 fine, as well as civil penalty.

That bill rewrites the state statute on first-degree trespassing and includes other utilities, like telephone and broadband, in addition to electricity.

McInnis is a Richmond County native who switched his residency to Moore County prior to the most recent election.

Sen. Dave Craven, R-Randolph, now represents Richmond County in the state Senate and is one of 17 co-sponsors of the bill.

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