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 In the News, July 8, 2010 


Wilmington eyeing Ogden area for annexation. Staff for the city of Wilmington have proposed that a 535-acre tract near the intersection of Gordon Road and Market Street be the next neighborhood City Council considers for annexation. The area, one of two in Ogden that is in the city's future annexation plans, topped the list of 10 communities city staff say will likely be considered for annexation over the next two decades. … Ron Satterfield, the city's planning manager, said setting priorities and having a clear policy for annexation will let property-owners know what's coming and let them know how to have a say in the process.

Letter: Lawmakers should return rights to residents with new annexation statutes. In this session of the N.C. General Assembly time has been wasted when it comes to the freedoms, protections, and rights of the citizenry of North Carolina. North Carolinians have been at the mercy and destructive hand of the municipalities in North Carolina for far too long. The current annexation statutes have been a destructive force within North Carolina.



Tougher ethics rules passed by both houses. Both chambers of the legislature passed versions of sweeping ethics legislation Tuesday, a reaction to a spate of scandals involving elected officials. There are still key differences between the bills, such as a House measure banning state contract holders from making political donations that is not included in the Senate bill. A conference committee will iron out the differences before a final vote, likely to occur before the end of the week. "We've got a lot of concern among the public about the general conduct of state government, based on what we all know were some fairly highly publicized cases," said Sen. Phil Berger, the Republican leader in the Senate. "This bill strengthens the penalties for what everyone would agree is improper conduct."

Editorial: Lawmakers must opt for stronger ethics bill. As the 2010 General Assembly heads toward adjournment later this week, there are a few important issues still to deal with - but nothing more important than coming up with the strongest ethics legislation possible. Before they quit for the year, lawmakers must opt for the strongest bill possible. Both the House and Senate agree on some key items. Both, for example, would extend an executive branch ban on all gifts to members of state boards and commissions. Gov. Bev Perdue has already instituted such a ban for key state officials including cabinet appointees. Both chambers agree there should be limits on how fast major officials can become lobbyists after leaving their old jobs. And both would require disclosure of fundraising by appointees.


Legislature votes to ban sweepstakes. Operators of sweepstakes call them a harmless promotional tool. Opponents call them thinly veiled remixes of video poker. Whatever they are, the General Assembly has voted to ban them. A 86-27 vote in the House sent the measure to Gov. Bev Perdue, who has said she will sign it. “This bill makes it clear what our position is about these types of enterprises: They are not welcome in North Carolina,” said Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin, a Rockingham Democrat.



Senate approves incentives bill. Lawmakers are one step closer to passing an incentives bill designed to bring new businesses to North Carolina. The Senate approved the bill Wednesday after making some changes from the house version.  The State Senate approved a bill they hope could save jobs and possibly bring in thousands more.  "We're in this sort of in this competitive arms race with the other states around us and now increasingly foreign countries. We have to stay competitive to hold on to the jobs we've got,” said Senator Dan Clodfelter, a Democrat from Mecklenburg County.



Environmental reviews tampered. Fewer industrial developments would undergo all-encompassing environmental reviews under a measure the Senate approved Tuesday. Senators voted to change state environmental law so that government incentives offered businesses as economic development lures won't count as public money if it means the companies must perform sweeping reviews of the projects' impacts on air, water and their communities. The changes, approved 45-3, were prompted by a Wake Superior Court ruling that Titan America, an international company offered state and local incentives to build a cement plant in New Hanover County, had to supply a full environmental review. Titan and the state argued that the review was not required.  … The proposal's supporters, including the N.C. Chamber and the N.C. League of Municipalities, said the changes are needed so that companies aren't scared away. Companies will still apply for necessary permits, said John McAlister, a lobbyist for the N.C. Chamber: "It doesn't mean there won't be adequate environmental review."