January 14, 2022
In this issue...
What type of nonprofit policy briefings would be most useful?
U.S. Supreme Court stops OSHA vaccination requirement but allows CMS rule
NC Business Recovery Grants open for many nonprofits that pay UBIT
Has your nonprofit lost board members because of new conflict-of-interest law?
Final 2021 lobbying reports due by January 21
State court upholds congressional and state legislative districts for 2022 through 2030
What Type of Nonprofit Policy Briefings Would Be Most Useful?
The Center is planning a series of nonprofit policy briefings for this Spring. We asked last month about your preference for in-person or virtual events, and the overwhelming preference is virtual. As we continue to plan the series, would you prefer:
  • Regional policy briefings (held online), where you could join in with other nonprofits from your part of the state; or
  • Topical policy briefings (held online), where a significant portion of each briefing would be dedicated to one important policy topic for nonprofits (e.g., government contracting issues, access to healthcare, or legislation affecting nonprofit operations)

Note that, either way, the Center plans to offer at least one or two more general, statewide nonprofit policy briefings.
I would prefer:
Regional policy briefings (held online)
Topical policy briefings (held online)
U.S. Supreme Court Stops OSHA Vaccination Requirement but Allows CMS Rule
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two opinions on federal government regulations requiring many employers – including many nonprofits – to have policies in place requiring their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
  1. In one opinion (NFIB v. OSHA), the Supreme Court issued a stay on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccinations for employers with 100 or more employees. The Court’s ruling temporarily blocks OSHA’s implementation and enforcement of the ETS until lower courts have ruled on it. OSHA had begun implementation of the rule this week. 
  2. In another opinion (Biden v. Missouri), the Supreme Court allowed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to move forward with enforcement of its Emergency Temporary Standard that requires health facilities that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursements to require their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

As a result of these two rulings, nonprofit health facilities that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursements must have COVID-19 vaccination policies in place, but other nonprofits are not required to do so regardless of how many employees they have. Although vaccination policies are not mandatory for most nonprofits, individual nonprofits can require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. To help your nonprofit answer questions about vaccination policies, see the Center's updated analysis of vaccination considerations for nonprofits, including tips to help your organization develop a COVID-19 vaccination policy for your employees.
NC Business Recovery Grants Open for Many Nonprofits that Pay UBIT
Some nonprofits are eligible to apply for financial support through the new Business Recovery Grant program. The program provides economic recovery grants to businesses in the entertainment and hospitality industries and to other businesses that have not previously received federal or state relief for economic harm from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the program is designed to provide support for businesses (and not to nonprofits), 501(c)(3) nonprofits that pay state unrelated business income tax (UBIT) are eligible for grants if they meet one of the following criteria:
  1. They are in the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations, or food services industries and had declines in revenue of at least 20% during the first year of the pandemic (compared to the previous 12 months); or
  2. They are in any other industry, had declines in revenue of at least 20% during the first year of the pandemic (compared to the previous 12 months), and did not receive funding from other relief programs including Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 Job Retention Grant, and EIDL Advance. 

The NC Department of Revenue (DOR) is accepting applications from eligible businesses and nonprofits through January 31. Grants will be awarded for up to 10% of lost revenue for organizations that have previously received federal or state COVID-19 support and 20% for organizations that have not received government COVID-19 aid. The maximum grant award is $500,000. Additional information and applications are available at the DOR Business Recovery Grant program website.

The Business Recovery Grant program is one of many sources of support for nonprofits in the state budget for FY2021-23 (S.105). Overall, state legislators included an unprecedented $849 million in new funding for nonprofits in the budget. To help you digest the 1,400+ pages of budget documents, the Center has developed an 11-page synopsis of nonprofit provisions and appropriations in the budget.
Has Your Nonprofit Lost Board Members Because of the New Conflict-of-Interest Law?
A new state law that took effect on January 1, 2022 requires local government elected officials who serve on nonprofit boards to recuse themselves from decisions to provide government funding to those organizations. The law means that most local officials who serve on nonprofit boards won’t be allowed to vote on local government budgets that include funding for the nonprofits on whose boards they serve. The nonprofit funding provision in the bill only applies to cities, towns, or villages with more than 15,000 residents and to counties that have municipalities with 15,000 or more residents.

The Center has heard from a few nonprofits that some county and city attorneys are advising county commissioners and city council members to resign from nonprofit boards to ensure compliance with the new law. It is important to note that nothing in the law prohibits local elected officials from serving on nonprofit boards. However, the Center is concerned that the overly strict interpretation of the new law could force some public servants to resign from nonprofit boards. The Center continues to work with lawmakers, state officials, and local government advocates for a solution to this potential issue.

Let us know if local elected officials who serve on your nonprofit’s board have expressed concerns about continuing to serve your organization because of this new law. Thank you if your nonprofit has already responded.
Final 2021 Lobbying Reports Due by January 21
Nonprofits that were registered as lobbyist principals in 2021 (and their staff or contractors who were registered as lobbyists) must file their final quarterly reports with the Secretary of State Lobbying Compliance Division by January 21, 2022. Lobbyist principals need to use the special fourth quarter expense reports (available online) that include the cumulative total payments to lobbyists for their salaries and fees reasonably allocated for lobbying. To help you understand the basics of state lobbying laws affecting nonprofits, check out the Center's summary of NC lobbying laws for nonprofits.

Also, the NC Secretary of State has opened lobbying registration for 2022. Lobbyist principals (i.e. nonprofits that lobby) and lobbyists (i.e. nonprofit employees and contractors who lobby on behalf of nonprofits) must register annually with the Secretary of State.
State Court Upholds Congressional and State Legislative Districts for 2022 Through 2030
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel in Raleigh upheld the House, Senate, and congressional maps that are scheduled to be used for elections between 2022 and 2030. Three lawsuits alleged that the maps are impermissible as racial and partisan gerrymanders. The cases will almost certainly be appealed to the NC Supreme Court, which is expected to hear them soon. Because of the ongoing state court litigation surrounding redistricting, the NC Supreme Court issued an order delaying this year’s primary election from March 9 to May 17. This would allow time for legislators to draw new congressional, NC Senate, and/or NC House of Representatives districts if the court orders the maps to be redrawn. 

Redistricting analysts have noted that the vast majority of the new congressional and legislative districts being challenged in court would be non-competitive. In the past, the Center has expressed concerns that this type of gerrymandering (i.e. overly partisan redistricting plans) diminishes nonprofits’ influence on public policy because it tends to create non-competitive congressional and legislative districts. This makes elected officials more responsive to their partisan political donors than to the nonpartisan nonprofits providing services in their districts.
The Center provides Nonprofit Policy Update each week as a benefit to its nonprofit members. However, to help all North Carolina nonprofits respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we're temporarily providing this newsletter to non-member nonprofits. Don’t miss out – become a member to ensure you continue receiving these updates along with many other valuable benefits.
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Nonprofit Policy Update is a weekly newsletter for current members of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. We track state and federal policy issues that affect all 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Learn about the Center's public policy priorities. For more information, contact David Heinen, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy.