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How Does the Government Shutdown Affect Cities?

As all of you are likely well aware, the U.S. Federal government has been shut down since Tuesday as Congress was unable to approve a budget before the Oct. 1 beginning of the fiscal year. While the direct impacts on city governments are expected to be relatively minor, there have already been some instances where local governments have been affected. The E-Verify and U.S. Census websites are currently offline, the latter of which impacts cities' ability to file their AFIRs for 2013. The State and Local Government Finance Division of the N.C. Department of State Treasurer also notes that "Local governments should contact any Federal agencies from which they receive funds directly and any State agency from which they receive pass through funds to determine the impact of a shutdown upon that program."

The National League of Cities has been compiling information on the shutdown for cities on its website. They also posted an article entitled "Why the Federal Shutdown Matters to Cities" on their blog.

Those with additional questions about the impact of the shutdown on their municipality should feel free to contact any member of the League staff.

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NCDOT Chief Operating Officer Trogdon Resigns

This week it was announced that Jim Trogdon, Chief Deputy Secretary of Operations at the N.C. Department of Transportation, would be retiring from the department to accept a private sector position. Trogdon worked as a field engineer and in multiple other positions before being named chief operations officer in 2009. "I am proud of our team, the work I got to do at NCDOT, and the changes we made to better serve the people of North Carolina," Trogdon said in the release announcing his departure. NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata said, "I want to thank Jim for his selfless service to our department as a professional engineer and to our state as a National Guard soldier. I am personally grateful to Jim for all he did every day to make NCDOT the very best it can be." Trogdon worked closely with the League and city governments on a variety of transportation issues over the years. We thank him for all of his work and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
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Legislative Committee Meetings On Tap

Interim committee meetings at the General Assembly were held this week, and several more are scheduled in the weeks to come. Some of these committees will be taking up issues of interest to municipalities, and the League will be tracking those committees to ensure that the interests of all cities and towns across the state are represented. The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance met earlier this week, and the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee is scheduled to meet this afternoon to continue to review the recommendations made by the transportation reform work group the League has been participating in. Meetings on the calendar for next week include the Revenue Laws Study Committee on Tuesday and the Environmental Review Commission on Wednesday.
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Laws Impacting Cities Now In Effect

Several laws passed during this session of the General Assembly that affect municipalities went into effect on October 1. They include legislation limiting the insurance coverage municipalities can offer for abortions; prohibitions on municipalities banning firearms on greenways and bike paths, and clarification of where cities can regulate guns in parks; and changes to the laws governing municipal regulation of cell towers. More on the laws going into effect October 1 can be found here via WRAL and here in the Greensboro News & Record. Further details on legislation passed this year that impacts cities can be found here in the League's End of Session Bulletin.
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Charlotte Mayor Makes Airport Commission Appointments

City of Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey made her three appointments to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Commission this week. Her appointments are West Side neighborhood leader Aaron McKeithan, Jr., former NASA Astronaut and current Director of Community Relations at Lowe's Corporation Joan Higginbotham, and insurance executive Cameron Harris. Legislation creating the Commission required the appointments be made by October 1, but the City noted in its release announcing the appointments that "the Mayor's action does not signal that the City lends legitimacy to the legislation." The City has filed a lawsuit challenging the transfer of airport control, and last week the Federal Aviation Administration said it would not approve the transfer until the legal case surrounding the airport has been resolved. More on the airport and the mayor's appointments can be found here in the Charlotte Observer.
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League Policy Committees Meeting Now

The League's General Government, Planning & Environment, and Tax & Finance Legislative Action Committees have all met within the last two weeks to review items of interest to the committee and prepare for their work ahead in the coming months. For instance, the Planning & Environment LAC heard from City of Raleigh Assistant City Attorney Dan McLawhorn regarding new restrictions on cities' regulatory authority (below). The League's LACs are a great way for members to get involved in the issues of importance in their community and to help decide the League's policy on a wide range of matters. Those interested in serving on a LAC should complete and submit the form found on Page 12 here by Nov. 1. We thank all those members who traveled to Raleigh from across the state to participate in this recent round of LAC meetings, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Raleigh Assistant City Attorney Dan McLawhorn presents to the P&E LAC.

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Rev. Harris Enters U.S. Senate Race

Reverend Mark Harris officially announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate this week, entering a field of candidates for the Republican nomination that also includes Speaker of the House Thom Tillis. Rev. Harris currently serves as the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Charlotte and was active in the campaign to pass the NC Marriage Protection Amendment in 2012. Last week N.C. Senators Phil Berger and Pete Brunstetter both announced that they would not be entering the Senate race, meaning Harris' entry could round out a field that also includes obstetrician Greg Brannon and family nurse practitioner Heather Grant.