The state House Monday refused to concur with the Senate’s latest stab at regulatory reform, sending House Bill 74 to a conference committee in the waning days of the legislative session. At the urging of Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, the House chamber voted 109-0 not to concur, even though the version the Senate approved Friday shares many provisions with one passed earlier this month by the House.

The 56-page reaches into numerous corners of state and local government.

In some areas, it sets broad policy, such as requiring a periodic review of current rules and regulations.

In others, it puts limits on local governments’ authority. One example is a provision blocking cities and counties from requiring companies that contract with local governments to pay wages higher than the federal minimum wage. It also would prohibit local governments from enacting “transportation impact mitigation ordinances,” which could assess fees on businesses that with “large carbon footprints” that do not limit air pollution allegedly related to their employees’ commutes to and from work.

During Friday’s Senate debate, Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, peppered Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson, about the provisions, saying that Durham had adopted “living wage” ordinances.

“They wanted to make sure that individuals that were providing those services were paying livable wages,” McKissick said of Durham’s contractors.

Jackson responded that minimum wage laws are already in place, and a livable wage is a matter of interpretation.

Sen. Andrew Brock, R-Davie, said the transportation impact requirements also could be job killers.

“You’re putting an unfair burden on business owners to try to provide transportation for its employees,” Brock said.

The bill also requires companies conducting hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — to provide the state Mining and Energy Commission information on chemicals used in fracking, provided that information does not reveal trade secrets. The bill does not require the specific chemical formulas of the fracking solutions.

Likening the concept to Coca-Cola drinkers being unaware of the recipe for the soft drink, Jackson said, “We don’t need to know the formula.”

Jackson continued, “The fear-mongering and the sky-is-falling mentality of the radical environmentalists on this point is just simply not founded.”

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, said Jackson was disparaging environmentalists and disagreed with the assertion.

“I do not think this is comparable to the formula for Coca-Cola,” Kinnaird said.

The bill also would:

• Require regulations to undergo periodic review, based on a specified schedule. If an agency fails to conduct the review by the due date, the rule would expire.

• Allow billboard owners to trim trees and shrubs in front of their signs along acceleration and deceleration ramps. It would also allow them to repair or reconstruct their signs, despite local ordinances against it.

• Require all bread-and-breakfasts to offer three meals per day to their guests, instead of just breakfast.

• Require mandatory criminal background checks for child care providers to be performed within 15 days of the request.

• Allow employers to provide preferences to veterans. The provision specifically says that doing so would not be a violation of equal employment opportunity laws.

• Amend the state’s Right to Work law by prohibiting agreements requiring specific union or non-union clauses in agriculture contracts.

• Specify that taxi operators who own or lease their vehicles are independent contractors and are not covered under the state’s workers comp laws.

• Require smoke detectors in hotel rooms.

Barry Smith (@Barry_Smith) is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.