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Latest updates on N.C. legislative presumption

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As previously reported, North Carolina newspapers have been fighting to maintain the tremendous advantage they have enjoyed in Workers' Compensation legislation for the last 20 years, in the form of a legislative presumption of independent contractor status for newspaper carriers.

At the very end of the legislative session on June 28, a modified version of H.B. 205 passed in both Houses. This bill would have removed the legislative presumption. Fortunately, on July 17, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the new legislation.

A special legislative session can be scheduled to vote to override any of the governor's vetoes. If a vote is scheduled, a two-thirds majority in both Houses of the North Carolina Legislature would be required to overturn the July 17 veto. During a special session held on Aug. 3, there was no attempt to override it. Currently, the legislation remains in a committee with three other vetoed bills.

While the veto of H.B. 205 could come up for an override during any special session or until the end of the 2018 short session, the North Carolina Press Association does not believe there is enough legislative support for an override vote at this time. The next special session will deal with redistricting and is scheduled for Aug. 24.

North Carolina publishers must remain vigilant and continue to reach out to legislators to persuade them not to vote to override the veto. We will keep SNPA members updated.

L. Michael Zinser is the founding partner of The Zinser Law Firm in Nashville, Tenn. The firm, which has a heavy concentration of clients in communications media, represents management in the area of labor and employment. Zinser can be reached at (615) 244-9700 or mzinser@zinserlaw.com.

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