September 3, 2021
In this issue...
Learn the latest on new (and some not-so-new) nonprofit compliance issues
Non-charging of nonprofits’ unemployment costs ends tomorrow
Two NC Senate committees approve nonprofit remote meeting legislation
State budget negotiations likely to continue for several more weeks 
Center offers tips as nonprofits consider COVID-19 vaccination requirements for employees
NC Senate approves bill that could create precedent of limiting nonprofit independence
NC House passes school diversity instruction legislation that could hamper some nonprofit contracts
Learn more about economic needs in your county
Nonprofits can help maximize participation in 2021 municipal elections
Learn the Latest on New (and Some Not-So-New) Nonprofit Compliance Issues
To help your nonprofit keep up with ever-changing federal and state laws and regulations affecting nonprofits, the Center is offering a half-day Nonprofit Legal Compliance Workshop on Wednesday, September 15. The workshop will include an overview of basic legal and accounting compliance issues for 501(c)(3) nonprofits and provide in-depth sessions on topics including COVID-19 legal considerations (e.g. vaccination requirements and returning to in-person operations), nonprofit accounting trends, insurance basics for nonprofits, board governance, and creative fundraising considerations. During the final hour of the workshop, presenters will provide insights (and perhaps even a few answers) to any questions that participants may have about legal or accounting issues for nonprofits.

As an added bonus, participants will get a sneak preview of the Center’s popular 2021 Legal Compliance Checklist. And as an even bigger added bonus for some, participants who are attorneys will receive four hours of continuing legal education credit. Register today!
Non-Charging of Nonprofits’ Unemployment Costs Ends Tomorrow
Yesterday, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 231, which ends several state unemployment relief programs that were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, the executive order ends the state’s policy of not charging reimbursing nonprofits for their COVID-related unemployment claims. Reimbursing nonprofits are those organizations that normally reimburse the state for the cost of their laid-off, terminated, or furloughed workers’ unemployment claims instead of paying state unemployment taxes. 

The executive order, which takes effect on Sunday, comes as several federal unemployment programs that were extended by the American Rescue Plan Act are scheduled to end tomorrow. These programs include:
  • The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals and staff at religious organizations and small nonprofits that aren’t part of the state unemployment system;
  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides unemployment benefits after workers have exhausted their 12 weeks of state benefits; and
  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which provides $300 per week in supplemental unemployment benefits.

The Center is grateful that Governor Cooper extended unemployment relief to reimbursing nonprofits for more than 17 months. North Carolina’s policy of not charging reimbursing nonprofits for their COVID-related claims since the start of pandemic has saved nonprofits millions of dollars and helped prevent some nonprofit organizations from going out of business.
Two NC Senate Committees Approve Nonprofit Remote Meeting Legislation
On Wednesday, two NC Senate committees unanimously approved a bill (H.B 320) that would make several changes to the NC Nonprofit Corporation Act to make it easier for nonprofits with members to conduct meetings remotely and for nonprofit board members to use email to take action by unanimous written consent. Under current law, nonprofits with members must conduct meetings in person, and nonprofits need board approval (typically in a provision in the nonprofit’s bylaws) to use email or other means of electronic communication for unanimous written consent votes of boards. The bill would enable nonprofits to hold membership meetings remotely and would create a default rule that nonprofit boards can use email to take action by unanimous consent outside of a meeting.

The proposed changes are based on recommendations from the Center, thanks to input we received from nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Center is appreciative of Senator Amy Galey (R-Alamance) for her leadership on this bill and for working with the Center and other nonprofits on legislative language that will be helpful for a wide range of nonprofit organizations.

The full Senate will vote on the bill next week. The House approved a slightly different version of the bill in March.
State Budget Negotiations Likely to Continue for Several More Weeks
A conference committee of members of the NC Senate and NC House of Representatives is (slowly) negotiating a final version of the state budget for FY2021-23 (S.105). Legislators hope to come to agreement on appropriations and provisions in the budget in late September or early October so they can approve a final version of the budget for Governor Roy Cooper for his consideration.

The House and Senate each passed their own versions of the state budget earlier this summer. Both versions included significant new funding for nonprofits (about $701 million in the House budget, and about $300 million in the Senate budget), and a variety of other provisions that would affect the work of some or all charitable nonprofits in North Carolina. To help your nonprofit understand the differences between the two versions of the budget, the Center has prepared a chart comparing various appropriations and provisions affecting nonprofits in the House-approved budget and the Senate-approved version.

The Center continues to advocate with legislators and the Governor’s Office to include favorable nonprofit provisions in the final version of the budget. Specifically, the Center is asking that the final budget include:
  1. The Senate’s JOBS grant program, which would provide automatic grants to nonprofits that received Paycheck Protection Program loans and other forms of COVID-19 economic relief;
  2. Provisions to allow North Carolinians to use temporary heightened incentives for charitable giving on their state taxes in 2021 by conforming to federal tax laws; and
  3. Requirements that certain state agencies report on late payments or late contracts with nonprofits that provide public services through state grants and contracts.
Center Offers Tips as Nonprofits Consider COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Employees
Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, many nonprofits are asking whether they can or should require their staff to get vaccinations.

To answer the first question: It is legal for nonprofits to require their employees to be vaccinated. To help with the second question, the Center posted an analysis of the pros and cons of nonprofit vaccination requirements (spoiler alert: the pros probably outweigh the cons for most nonprofits). We have also included some tips for ways your organization can implement an employee vaccination requirement in a way that is fair and effective and that minimizes potential liability for your nonprofit.
NC Senate Approves Bill That Could Create Precedent of Limiting Nonprofit Independence
Yesterday, the NC Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill (H.B. 91) that would impose strict governance and operations requirements on the nonprofit organization that administers interscholastic high school athletic activities in North Carolina. Specifically, the bill would require the nonprofit to agree to a unilateral memorandum of understanding that:
  1. Sets standards for how the nonprofit’s board is selected;
  2. Requires the nonprofit to subject itself to state open meeting laws and public records laws;
  3. Regulates the way the nonprofit contracts with schools and other entities; and
  4. Places several limits on the nonprofit’s fundraising ability.

As part of its policy agenda to support and strengthen North Carolina’s nonprofit sector, the Center opposes government policies that limit nonprofits’ governance as independent, nongovernmental corporations with control over their own organizational policies and practices. The Center is concerned that this legislation would create a precedent of the state limiting the ability of a nonprofit organization to operate as an independent organization. Because the Senate made changes to the bill, the House must approve it one more time before it goes to Governor Cooper for his consideration.
NC House Passes School Diversity Instruction Legislation That Could Hamper Some Nonprofit Contracts
On Wednesday, the NC House of Representatives gave final approval to a bill (H.B. 324) that would limit the way that public schools in North Carolina teach about race, sex, racism, and sexism. Among other things, the bill would make it harder to contract with nonprofits that provide training on topics related to racism, diversity, and discrimination. The Senate approved the bill last week, so it now goes to Governor Cooper for his consideration. Both the House and Senate passed the bill in party-line votes, and it is likely that Governor Cooper will veto it.
Learn More About Economic Needs in Your County
This week, the NC Budget & Tax Center released its 2021 county economic snapshots. These snapshots provide a variety of data that are important to the work of nonprofits, including information about poverty, employment, housing affordability, access to healthcare, and education attainment. Snapshots are available for all 100 counties in North Carolina. This resource provides information that can help nonprofits assess local needs and make a stronger case for their services when pursuing funding.
Nonprofits Can Help Maximize Participation in 2021 Municipal Elections
With dozens of cities and towns around North Carolina holding municipal elections this fall, now is a great time for nonprofits to help ensure that their staff, volunteers, and the people they serve are registered to vote and show up during Early Voting or on Election Day. Voter turnout is typically much lower in years when there are no national or statewide races on the ballot, so it is particularly important for nonprofits to promote the 2021 election (if there is one in the municipality where you provide services). Here are three easy (and nonpartisan) steps your nonprofit can take today:
  1. Check on what municipal elections are coming up in October or November in the regions you serve by searching the NC State Board of Elections 2021 Municipal Voter Tool
  2. Sign on as a partner for National Voter Registration Day on September 28. As a partner, your organization will receive tools and messaging you can use to promote voter registration.
  3. Check out the local elections resources from You Can Vote to learn more about what’s on your ballot, messaging for nonpartisan voter engagement, and ways you can get involved.
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.