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 March 6 

This week's developments

  • Traffic congestion bill before committee this week.  The House Transportation Committee is scheduled to take up HB 148/SB 151 – Congestion Relief/Intermodal Transport Bill next week (week of March 9). Bill sets  up state congestion and intermodal fund to make grants for transportation purposes and allows levy of local option sales tax for public transportation, subject to approval by referendum (restrictions on who can levy and amount of tax). League supports the bill and is working on amendments to improve bill . This is a priority of the N. C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition whose members have worked very hard on this issue.
  • Study commission on Equity Formula.  The most recent version of HB 237- Equity Formula Study Commission calls for two seats on the commission to be filled by League representatives, one from a municipality with population greater than 165,000 and one with less than 165,000. The equity formula determines how some highway funds will be distributed. Bill now goes to House Rules Committee. Metro Mayors Coalition also has made this bill a priority issue.
  • Electronic notices bill passes Local Government II Committee.  The bill to allow electronic notices for public hearings as a substitute for published notices received a favorable report from the House Local Government II Committee, despite opposition from the Press Association. HB 193 now moves to Judiciary I Committee. Please call members of this committee and ask them to support HB 193 – Electronic Notices: Judiciary I Committee -- Chair: Rep. Ross; Vice Chairs, Reps. Goodwin, Stam, Stiller; Members, Reps. M. Alexander, Blust, Bryant, Hall, Harrison, Insko, Martin, Mobley, Neumann, Stevens and West.
  • Public financing of municipal elections.  HB 120 – Public Municipal Campaigns, a bill that would establish a pilot program for public financing of municipal election campaigns now before the Judiciary II committee. The House Committee on Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform discussed the bill first, then adopted a committee substitute and sent to the Judiciary II committee. Applies to Chapel Hill and other municipalities selected by State Board of Elections from those who apply.
  • Penalties for theft of scrap metal.  Reps. Jim Gulley and Thom Tillis have introduced HB 323 - Prevent the Theft of Scrap Metals, which addresses a League legislative priority. The bill strengthens documentation requirements for dealers to discourage theft of metals League supports because theft of metals has been a problem for municipal infrastructure.
  • ABC store operations.  House ABC Committee heard recommendations from the Program Evaluation Division this week that state ABC Commission should have authority to: mandate merger of ABC boards; and require local ABC boards to contract with an agency store (privately owned and operated retail outlet) to sell liquor when performance standards indicate ABC board cannot operate store efficiently.
    NCLM Finance and Administration Legislation Action Committee looked at this issue in February, and, while recognizing the opportunity to make improvements where appropriate, supports current system.

Federal Stimulus Spotlight

DUNS number required

Cities and towns must register for a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to be eligible to receive a discretionary grant directly from the federal government using stimulus funds.  This process can take 21 days, so do not delay.

New requirements for stimulus grant recipients

EPA has released guidance for states distributing funds through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Those who receive funds will have to comply with many unique "stimulus" requirements.  Look for a public hearing announcement from NC DENR on its policies and selection criteria for these two funds next week.

Webcasts available

A sampling of stimulus webcasts:

Drinking water funds - Listen to UNC Environmental Finance Center webcast, February 20, 2009

Clean energy - Listen to EPA Using EPA Resources to Maximize Clean Energy in Economic Recovery Spending, March 5, 2009

Energy efficiency - Register for EPA ENERGY STAR Tools, March 12, 2009

Children, youth, and families - Register for National League of Cities, March 26, 2009

Smart growth implementation assistance

Regulatory Update

Clean Water Management Trust Fund transfer

On Tuesday, Gov. Beverly Perdue transferred $100 million from the CWMTF reserve to help meet the state's 08-09 budgetary obligations. The impact of this transfer is not yet known, but the trust fund intends to honor commitments to projects for which the funds were already encumbered or are under contract. Projects selected in the 2008 grant cycle for which no funds have been encumbered will not receive funding until CWMTF can determine whether funding will be available…

Permeable pavement rule change April 1

All parking lots approved for construction on or after April 1, 2009 will be limited in impervious cover to no more than 80 percent of the total area devoted to parking. The new statutory requirements only apply in those areas that are not presently mandated by state or federal provisions to treat stormwater runoff. 

Smart growth implementation assistance

EPA is offering technical assistance grants for smart growth implementation projects.  Grants will go to communities wanting to incorporate smart growth in their future development to meet environmental and other community goals. Applications are due at 5:00 p.m. EST, April 23, 2009.

Action Items

Contact your legislators about these issues

Oppose HB 497-- Annexation Moratorium
What the bill would do: Place a moratorium on annexation. Please note that the language of this bill currently requires a favorable vote on annexations by those citizens in the proposed annexation area and does not mention a moratorium.
Sponsors: Reps. Bruce Goforth, Larry Brown, Nelson Dollar and Fred Steen.
Status: Filed
Actions Needed: Contact your representatives and ask them to oppose HB 497 because a moratorium is unnecessary. (See next two items)


Oppose HB 498 – Annexation – A Vote of the People

What the bill would do: Require a favorable vote by the people in an area proposed for annexation.
Sponsors: Reps. Bruce Goforth, Larry Brown, Nelson Dollar and Fred Steen.
Status: Filed
Actions Needed : Contact your representatives to oppose this bill. (See below.)


Annexation reform legislation to encompass 20-point proposal
What the bill would do: Annexation reform bill that includes the League's 20-point proposal to reform the annexation statutes to be introduced next week. This legislation will address the legitimate concerns of citizens while supporting the fairness of annexation between in-town and near town residents. The League supports this legislation.


Oppose SB 427 - Restore Contract Rights to State/Local
What the bill would do: Repeal the prohibition against collective bargaining. Also would set up a process for collective bargaining between the state and public employee unions.
Sponsor : Sen. Ellie Kinnaird
Status: Senate State and Local Government Committee
Actions Needed: Contact your senators to oppose this bill.
Why: We do not need an adversarial process for deciding appropriate salaries, benefits and work conditions.


Oppose SB 447 -- No Monetary Exaction for Development
What the bill would do: Have effect of prohibiting cities from imposing regulatory and permit fees. Bill states that a municipality cannot impose a tax, fee or monetary contribution for development unless “specifically authorized by law.” Existing authority for many fees comes from case law and is not specifically stated in statutes.
Sponsor: Sen. David Hoyle
Status: Filed
Actions Needed: Contact your senators to oppose.
Why: League's core principles state that municipal grants of authority should be broadly construed to include supplemental powers reasonably necessary to carry out the municipal functions. 

Bill Summaries


HB 388 – Campaign Disclosure
Sponsors:   Earle, Parmon, Lucas, Carney
Status:   House Election Law
Removes the $3,000 or less exemption for campaign reporting of contributions and loans to a candidate and expenditures by a candidate.


HB 340/SB 341 – Appalachian Mountains Preservation Act
Sponsors:   Harrison, Haire, Fisher, Howard/Goss
Status:   House Environment/Senate Commerce
Prohibits electric public utilities that operate coal-fired generating units in North Carolina from purchasing or using coal that is extracted by mountaintop removal coal mining. 


SB 413 – Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Update
Sponsors:   Brunstetter
Status:   Senate Held as Filed
Encourages Congress to grant states the ability to require collection of sales and use tax by remote retailers.


HB 342 – Urban Area Revitalization Made Uniform
Sponsors:   Daughtry
Status:   House Local Government I
Amends G.S. 160A-536(c) to remove the population requirement (was 150,000) for cities to be eligible for creating municipal service districts for urban revitalization projects.

 HB 393 – Modify Rulemaking Process
Sponsors:   Allred, Owens
Status:   House Environment
Removes requirement for ten letters of objection to make a permanent rule subject to legislative review before becoming effective.

SB 372 – Clarification of Nuisance Abatement Laws
Sponsors:   Boseman
Status:   Senate Judiciary II
Makes various amendments to G.S. Chapter 19 (nuisances) to clarify its application in cases where obscene or lewd matter is involved. Identifies as a nuisance places where lewd films are publicly exhibited as a predominant course of business and every place used for purposes proscribed by the chapter (removing requirement that it be in the regular course of business). Provides that knowledge of, acquiescence to, or participation in proscribed activities is prima facie evidence that person uses the place for the purpose of such activities. Provides that knowledge of a nuisance encompasses knowledge of repeated activities or conditions that violate a local ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses. Provides that finding of court that tenant or occupant engaged in acts or omissions in violation of local sexually oriented business ordinance causes the right of possession to revert to the owner of the property at the owner's option.


SB 359 – Incorporate Sneads Ferry
Sponsors:   Brown
Status:   Senate Finance
Incorporates the Village of Sneads Ferry in Onslow County, subject to a referendum.


HB 421 – Use of Deadly Force/SBI Investigations
Sponsors:   K. Alexander
Status:   House Ways and Means
Requires district attorney upon request of next of kin to request an SBI investigation into an instance in which a private citizen is killed as a result of the use of a firearm, taser, taser-like device, chemical spray, or any other physical force sufficient to cause death by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty. Provides that any report prepared for the district attorney as a result is to be released to the decedent's next of kin, the press, and the internal affairs unit, or its equivalent, of the agency employing the affected law enforcement officer.


HB 429 – Retirement System COLAs
Sponsors:   Tucker
Status:   House Pensions & Retirement
States intent of the General Assembly to provide cost of living adjustments to the state and local retirement systems in the same percentage increase as the pay increase provided to state employees, not to exceed 1%.

SB 411 – Amend Survivor's Alternate Benefit
Sponsors:   Brunstetter
Status:   Senate Pensions & Retirement
Currently retirement system provides that upon death of a member, the beneficiary can opt to receive the member's reduced retirement allowance computed by assuming that the member had retired on the first day of the month following the date of his death, if certain criteria are met. Adds to the eligibility a law enforcement officer who has obtained 15 years of service as a law enforcement officer and is killed in the line of duty, notwithstanding the requirement of obtaining age 50.


HB 323 – Prevent the Theft of Scrap Metals
Sponsors:   Gulley, Tillis
Status:  House Commerce
Strengthens the requirements regarding secondary metals recycling in order to prevent theft of metals. Applies to various types of metals, including metal marked with identification of a public utility or government entity, utility access covers, street light poles or fixtures, road or bridge guard rails, street signs, water meter covers, traffic signals.  Prohibits metal recycler from purchasing unless sufficient written documentation is provided to show that seller is owner or authorized agent of owner of materials.  Seller must sign a receipt and leave an index fingerprint.  Prohibits recycler from paying cash for the materials.

SB 357 – Utilities/Regulation of Pole Attachments
Sponsors:   Rand
Status:   Senate Commerce
Requires a municipality or cooperatively owned organization that owns poles, ducts, or conduits to allow any communications service provider (telephone, broadband, cable) to utilize its poles, ducts, and conduits at just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory cost-based rates, terms, and conditions adopted pursuant to negotiated or arbitrated agreements. A request to utilize poles, ducts, or conduits may be denied only if there is insufficient capacity or reasons of safety, reliability, and generally applicable engineering principles, and those limitations cannot be remedied by rearranging, expanding, or otherwise reengineering the facilities at the reasonable and actual cost of the communications service provider.