(a)        Authority. – Only the General Assembly has the power to authorize an agency to establish or increase a fee or charge for the rendering of any service or fulfilling of any duty to the public. In the construction of a statute, unless that construction would be inconsistent with the manifest intent of the General Assembly or repugnant to the context of the statute, the legislative grant of authority to an agency to adopt rules shall not be construed as a grant of authority to the agency to establish by rule a fee or a charge for the rendering of any service or fulfilling of any duty to the public, unless the statute expressly provides for the grant of authority to establish a fee or charge for that specific service. Notwithstanding any other law, a rule adopted by an agency to establish or increase a fee or charge shall not go into effect until the agency has consulted with the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations on the amount and purpose of the fee or charge to be established or increased. Where a rule provides for a periodic automatic adjustment to a fee, the agency that adopts the rule is not required to consult with the Commission every time the fee automatically adjusts. The agency shall submit a request for consultation to all members of the Commission, the Commission Assistant, and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly on the same date the notice of text of the rule is published. The request for consultation shall consist of a written report stating (i) the amount of the current fee or charge, if applicable, (ii) the amount of the proposed new or increased fee or charge, (iii) the statutory authority for the fee or charge, and (iv) a detailed explanation of the need for the establishment or increase of the fee or charge.

(a1)      If the Commission does not hold a meeting to hear the consultation required by subsection (a) of this section within 90 days after the notice of text of the rule has been published and the consultation request required by subsection (a) of this section has been submitted, the consultation requirement is satisfied.

(b)        Definitions. – The following definitions apply in this section:

(1)        Agency. – Every agency, institution, board, commission, bureau, department, division, council, member of the Council of State, or officer of the legislative, executive or judicial branches of State government. The term does not include counties, cities, towns, villages, other municipal corporations or political subdivisions of the State or any agencies of these subdivisions, the University of North Carolina, community colleges, hospitals, county or city boards of education, other local public districts, units, or bodies of any kind, or private corporations created by act of the General Assembly.

(2)        Rule. – Every rule, regulation, ordinance, standard, and amendment thereto adopted by any agency, including rules and regulations regarding substantive matters, standards for products, procedural rules for complying with statutory or regulatory authority or requirements and executive orders of the Governor.

(c)        Exceptions. – This section does not apply to any of the following:

(1)        Rules establishing fees or charges to State, federal or local governmental units.

(2)        A reasonable fee or charge for copying, transcripts of public hearings, State publications, or mailing a document or other item.

(3)        Reasonable registration fees covering the cost of a conference or workshop.

(4)        Reasonable user fees covering the cost of providing data processing services.

(d)       In lieu of the requirements of subsections (a) and (a1) of this section, the North Carolina State Ports Authority shall report the establishment or increase of any fee to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations as provided in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 136-262(a)(11). ?(1979, c. 559, s. 1; 1981, c. 695, ss. 1, 2; 1987, c. 564, s. 35; 1991, c. 418, s. 6; 2001-427, s. 8(a); 2002-99, s. 7(c); 2005-276, s. 6.8(b); 2011-145, s. 14.6(k); 2015-241, s. 6.18.)

Terms Used In North Carolina General Statutes 12-3.1

  • Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
  • following: when used by way of reference to any section of a statute, shall be construed to mean the section next preceding or next following that in which such reference is made; unless when some other section is expressly designated in such reference. See North Carolina General Statutes 12-3
  • state: when applied to the different parts of the United States, shall be construed to extend to and include the District of Columbia and the several territories, so called; and the words "United States" shall be construed to include the said district and territories and all dependencies. See North Carolina General Statutes 12-3
  • Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
  • User fees: Fees charged to users of goods or services provided by the government. In levying or authorizing these fees, the legislature determines whether the revenue should go into the treasury or should be available to the agency providing the goods or services.