GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SESSION LAW 2021-112
HOUSE BILL 461
AN ACT to make clarifying and technical changes in the state auditor statutes.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. G.S. 147‑64.2 reads as rewritten:
The General Assembly is ultimately
responsible for authorizing the expenditure of public moneys, designating the
sources from which moneys may be collected, and shaping the administrative
structure to perform the work of government throughout the State, and is held
finally accountable for how the funds are spent and what is accomplished with
them. The legislature should, therefore, provide the basic direction for audits
agencies.agencies as defined in G.S. 147‑64.4.
In the interest of reducing audit overlap and expense at all levels of government, the General Assembly and the Auditor should promote, to the extent possible, coordinated nonduplicating audits of public programs and activities of all governmental levels throughout the State.
It is the intent of this Article
that all State agencies, and entities supported, partially or entirely, by
public funds be subject to audit and investigation under the policy
guidance of the Auditor.
Such These audits and investigations shall
be made to assist in furnishing the General Assembly, the Governor, the
executive departments and agencies of the State, the governing bodies and
executive departments of the political subdivisions of the State, and the
public in general with an independent evaluation of public program
SECTION 2.(a) Subdivision (1) of G.S. 147‑64.4 is recodified as subdivision (2a) of that section.
SECTION 2.(b) G.S. 147‑64.4, as amended by subsection (a) of this section, reads as rewritten:
"§ 147‑64.4. Definitions.
words and phrases used in
this Article have the following meanings:following definitions apply in
system". – Accounting system or system of accounting. – The
total structure of records and procedures which that discover,
record, classify, and report information on the financial position and
operating results of a governmental unit State agency or any of
its funds, balanced account groups, and organizational components.
"Audit". – Audit.
– An independent review or examination of government State agency
organizations, programs, activities, and functions. The purpose of an audit
is to help ensure full accountability and assist government State
agency officials and employees in carrying out their responsibilities. The
elements of such an audit are:are as follows:
a. Financial and compliance:
to determine whether financial operations are properly conducted, whether the
financial reports of
an audited entity a State agency are
presented fairly, and whether the entity State agency has
complied with applicable laws and regulations; and,laws.
b. Economy and efficiency:
to determine whether the
entity State agency is managing or
utilizing its resources (such as personnel and property) in an economical and
efficient manner and the causes of any inefficiencies or uneconomical
practices, including inadequacies in laws and regulations, laws, management
information systems, administrative policies and procedures, or organizational structures;
c. Program results: to
determine whether the desired results or benefits are being achieved, whether
the objectives established by the General Assembly or
other another authorizing
body are being met, and whether the State agency has considered
alternatives which that might yield desired results at lower
d. An audit may include all three elements or only one or two. It is not intended or desirable that every audit include all three. Economy and efficiency and program result audits should be selected when their use will meet the needs of expected users of audit results.
agency". – Federal agency. – Any department, agency, or
instrumentality of the federal government and any federally owned or controlled
(3a) Investigation. – An independent review or examination of an allegation of an improper governmental activity regarding a State agency organization, program, activity, or function. The purpose of an investigation is to help ensure full accountability and assist State agency officials and employees in carrying out their responsibilities.
agency". – State agency. – Any department, political
subdivision, institution, board, commission, committee, division, bureau,
officer, official or any other entity for which the State has oversight
responsibility, including but not limited to, any university, mental or
specialty hospital, community college, or clerk of court."
SECTION 3. G.S. 147‑64.6 reads as rewritten:
"§ 147‑64.6. Duties and responsibilities.
(a) General Duty. – It is the policy of the General Assembly to provide for the auditing and investigation of State agencies by the impartial, independent State Auditor.
(b) Areas of Examination.
– The duties of the Auditor are independently to examine into and make
findings of fact on whether State
agencies:agencies have done or are
doing all of the following:
(1) Have established adequate
operating and administrative procedures and practices; systems of accounting,
reporting, and auditing; and other necessary elements of legislative
or management control.
(2) Are providing financial
and other reports
which that disclose fairly, consistently,
fully, and promptly all information needed to show the nature and scope of
programs and activities and have established bases for evaluating the results
of such these programs and operations.
(3) Are promptly collecting, depositing, and properly accounting for all revenues and receipts arising from their activities.
(4) Are conducting programs
and activities and expending funds made available in a faithful, efficient, and
economical manner in compliance with and in furtherance of applicable laws
regulations of the State, and, if applicable, federal law and
(5) Are determining that the
authorized activities or programs effectively serve the intent and purpose of
the General Assembly and, if applicable, federal
law and regulation.law.
(6) Are adhering to statutory requirements that include conditions precedent, classifications, and similar eligibility or qualifying standards to assure that statutory intent is carried out while the requirements are in effect.
(7) Are not engaging in an improper governmental activity as provided in G.S. 147‑64.6B, including misappropriation, mismanagement, waste of State resources, fraud, or a violation of State or federal law.
(c) Responsibilities. – The Auditor is responsible for the following acts and activities:
(1) Audits made or caused to be made by the Auditor shall be conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards as prescribed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the United States General Accounting Office, or other professionally recognized accounting standards‑setting bodies.
(2) Financial and compliance audits may be made at the discretion of the Auditor without advance notice to the organization being audited. Audits of economy and efficiency and program results shall be discussed in advance with the prospective auditee unless an unannounced visit is essential to the audit.
(3) The Auditor, on the
Auditor's own initiative and as often as the Auditor deems necessary, or as
requested by the Governor or the General Assembly, shall, to the extent deemed
practicable and consistent with the Auditor's overall responsibility as
contained in this
act, Article, make or cause to be made audits
of all or any part of the activities of the State agencies. Each State agency
or department receiving a financial statement audit by the Auditor under
this subdivision shall prepare a financial statement and supplementary
information in the format required by the Auditor. Financial statements and
supplementary information prepared as required by this subdivision shall be
completed and submitted to the Auditor not later than 60 days after the
deadline for the State agency's or department's Comprehensive
Annual Financial Report submission as established by the State Controller.
(4) The Auditor, at the Auditor's own discretion, may, in selecting audit areas and in evaluating current audit activity, consider and utilize, in whole or in part, the relevant audit coverage and applicable reports of the audit staffs of the various State agencies, independent contractors, and federal agencies. The Auditor shall coordinate, to the extent deemed practicable, the auditing conducted within the State to meet the needs of all governmental bodies.
(5) The Auditor
authorized to may contract with federal audit agencies, or any
governmental agency, on a cost reimbursable basis, for the Auditor to perform
audits of federal grants and programs administered by the State Departments
and institutions State agencies in accordance with agreements
negotiated between the Auditor and the contracting federal audit agencies or
any governmental agency. In instances where the grantee State agency shall
subgrant subgrants these federal funds to local governments,
regional councils of government government, and other local
groups or private or semiprivate institutions or agencies, the Auditor shall
have the authority to may examine the books and records of these
subgrantees to the extent necessary to determine eligibility and proper use in
accordance with State and federal laws and regulations.laws.
Auditor shall charge and collect from the contracting federal audit agencies,
or any governmental agencies, the actual cost of all the audits of the grants
and programs contracted by
him the Auditor to do. Amounts
collected under these arrangements shall be deposited in the State Treasury and
be budgeted in the Department of State Auditor and shall be available to hire
sufficient personnel to perform these contracted audits and to pay for related
travel, supplies supplies, and other necessary expenses.
(6) The Auditor
authorized and directed shall, in the Auditor's reports of audits or
reports of special investigations to investigations, make any
comments, suggestions, or recommendations the Auditor deems appropriate
concerning any aspect of such the State agency's activities and
(7) The Auditor may charge
and collect from each examining and licensing board the actual cost of each
such the board. Costs collected under this subdivision
shall be based on the actual expense incurred by the Auditor's office in making
such audit the audit, and the affected State agency shall
be is entitled to an itemized statement of such the costs.
Amounts collected under this subdivision shall be deposited into the general
fund General Fund as nontax revenue.
(8) The Auditor shall examine
as often as
may be deemed necessary the accounts kept by the State Treasurer,
and if the Auditor discovers any irregularity or deficiency therein, in
the accounts, unless the same be irregularity or deficiency is rectified
or explained to his the Auditor's satisfaction, report the
same forthwith it in writing to the General Assembly, with Assembly
and provide a copy of such the report to the Governor and
Attorney General. In addition to regular audits, the Auditor shall check the treasury
Treasurer's records at the time a new Treasurer assumes
office (not to succeed himself or herself), and therein and charge
the Treasurer with the balance in the treasury, accounts and
shall check the Treasurer's records at the time the Treasurer leaves office to
determine that the accounts are in order.
(9) The Auditor may examine
the accounts and records of any bank or financial institution relating to
transactions with the State Treasurer, or with any State agency, or the Auditor
may require banks doing business with the State to furnish the Auditor information
relating to transactions with
the State or State agencies.
(10) The Auditor may, as often
as the Auditor deems advisable, conduct a detailed review of the bookkeeping
and accounting systems in use in the various State agencies
are supported partially or entirely from State funds. Such These examinations
will shall be for the purpose of evaluating the adequacy of
systems in use by these agencies and institutions. State agencies. In
instances where the Auditor determines that existing systems are outmoded,
inefficient, or otherwise inadequate, the Auditor shall recommend changes to
the State Controller. The State Controller shall prescribe and supervise the
installation of such these changes, as provided in G.S. 143B‑426.39(2).
(11) The Auditor shall, through appropriate tests, satisfy himself or herself concerning the propriety of the data presented in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and shall express the appropriate auditor's opinion in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.
(12) The Auditor shall provide
a report to the Governor and Attorney General, and other appropriate officials,
such facts as are in the Auditor's possession which that
pertain to the apparent violation of penal criminal statutes
or apparent instances of malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance by an officer
(13) At the conclusion of an
audit, the Auditor or the Auditor's designated representative shall discuss the
audit with the official whose office is subject to audit and submit necessary
underlying facts developed for all findings and recommendations
may be included in the audit report. On audits of economy and efficiency
and program results, the auditee's written response shall be included in the
final report if received within 15 to 30 days from receipt of the draft report.
The length of time shall be determined by the Auditor and shall be commensurate
with the number and complexity of the findings.
(14) The Auditor shall notify
the General Assembly, the Governor, the
Chief Executive Officer head of
each State agency audited, and other persons as the Auditor deems appropriate
appropriate, that an audit report has been published, its subject
and title, and the locations, including State libraries, at which the report is
available. The Auditor shall then distribute copies of the report only to those
who request a report. The copies shall be in written or electronic form, as
requested. He The Auditor shall also file a copy of the audit
report in the Auditor's office, which will office which shall be
a permanent public record. In addition, the Auditor may publish on his or
her Web site the Auditor's website any reports from audits of State
agencies not directly conducted by the Auditor. Nothing in this subsection shall
be construed as authorizing or permitting permits the publication of
information whose disclosure is otherwise prohibited by law.
It is not the intent of
the audit function, nor shall it be so construed, to The audit and
investigation function does not infringe upon or deprive the General
Assembly and the executive or judicial branches of State government of any
rights, powers, or duties vested in or imposed upon them by statute or the
(16) The Auditor
shall be is
responsible for receiving reports of allegations of the improper
governmental activities as provided in G.S. 147‑64.6B. The Auditor
shall adopt policies and procedures necessary to provide for the investigation
or referral of these allegations.
(17) Repealed by Session Laws 2009‑136, s. 2, effective June 19, 2009.
(18) Repealed by Session Laws 2010‑31, s. 6.15(b), effective July 1, 2010.
(19) Whenever the Auditor
believes that information received or collected by the Auditor may be evidence
of a violation of any of the provisions of Chapter 138A of the General
Statutes, Chapter 120C of the General Statutes, or Article 14 of Chapter 120 of
the General Statutes, the Auditor shall report that information to the State
Ethics Commission and the Secretary of State as appropriate. The Auditor
be is bound by interpretations issued by the State Ethics Commission
as to whether or not any information reported by the Auditor under this
subdivision involves or may involve a violation of Chapter 138A of the General
Statutes, Chapter 120C of the General Statutes, or Article 14 of Chapter 120 of
the General Statutes. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to
limit limits the Auditor's authority under subdivision (1) of this
(20) Whenever the Auditor
believes that information received or collected by the Auditor may be evidence
of criminal misconduct, the Auditor shall report that information to either the
State Bureau of Investigation or the
District Attorney district
attorney for the county where the alleged misconduct occurred. Nothing in this
subdivision shall be construed to limit limits the Auditor's
authority under subdivision (1) of this subsection.
(21) If an audit or
investigation undertaken by the Auditor results in a finding that a private
person or entity has received public funds as a result of fraud,
misrepresentation, or other deceptive acts or practices while doing business
the State or a political subdivision thereof, a State agency, the
Auditor shall submit a detailed written report of the finding, and any
additional necessary supporting documentation, to the State Purchasing Officer
or the appropriate political subdivision official, as applicable. A
report submitted under this subsection may include a recommendation that the
private person or entity be debarred from doing business with the State or a political
subdivision thereof.State agency.
(22) Verification audits for
compliance with statutory requirements, with or without advance notice to the
or State agency being audited, which may be initiated at the discretion
of the Auditor or as requested by the Governor or General Assembly.
(d) Reports and Work Papers. – The Auditor shall maintain for 10 years a complete file of all audit reports and reports of other examinations, investigations, surveys, and reviews issued under the Auditor's authority. Audit work papers and other evidence and related supportive material directly pertaining to the work of the Auditor's office shall be retained according to an agreement between the Auditor and State Archives. To promote intergovernmental cooperation and avoid unnecessary duplication of audit effort, and notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 126‑24, pertinent work papers and other supportive material related to an audit or investigation made pursuant to this section may be, at the discretion of the Auditor and unless otherwise prohibited by law, made available for inspection by duly authorized representatives of the State and federal government who desire access to and inspection of the records in connection with some matter officially before them, including criminal investigations.
Except as provided in this section,
or upon an order issued in Wake County Superior Court upon 10 days' notice and
hearing finding that access is necessary to a proper administration of justice,
audit work papers and related supportive material
shall be kept are confidential,
including any interpretations, advisory opinions, or other information or
materials furnished to or by the State Ethics Commission under this section.
(e) Access to Records. – The Auditor may examine the accounts and records of any organization or State agency relating to a verification audit for compliance with a statutory condition precedent, classification, or other similar eligibility or qualifying standard."
SECTION 4.(a) Article 5A of Chapter 147 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 147‑64.7B. Failure to Respond to Verification Audit.
When the Auditor requests information from any organization, other than a State agency, as part of a verification audit and the organization fails to provide the requested information, the organization shall be treated as if the organization failed to meet any condition precedent, classification, or other similar eligibility or qualifying standard subject to the verification audit. The Auditor shall document the organization's failure to provide the requested information in a public record."
SECTION 4.(b) This section becomes effective October 1, 2021.
SECTION 5. Except as otherwise provided, this act is effective when it becomes law.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 12th day of August, 2021.
s/ Bill Rabon
Presiding Officer of the Senate
s/ Tim Moore
Speaker of the House of Representatives
s/ Roy Cooper
Approved 11:48 a.m. this 23rd day of August, 2021