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LINC'ed IN: December 14, 2012 

Out and About in North Carolina

N.C. Business and Community Leaders Launch Alliance to Promote Economic Growth and Development - The NC Communities and Business Alliance announced its formation this morning as part of a collaborative effort to promote economic growth and development in North Carolina's cities and towns. NCLM is excited to hear of this collaboration that will "serve as a voice for public policy issues affecting the economic viability of NC's cities and towns." For more on the story and to get connected with founding members, visit www.theNCCBA.com.

Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeals Decision on Sweepstakes Cafes - The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state's ban on video sweepstakes games isn't an infringement on free speech. The decision reversed a March ruling by the state Court of Appeals, which said the move to outlaw the games in 2010 was written too broadly and was unconstitutional. For more on the decision, see this report from the Associated Press. Law enforcement officials are currently seeking guidance from the Attorney General's office, and we advise our members to wait until that guidance is received before beginning to enforce the ban. We hope to have further information soon. With regard to privilege license taxes, the School of Government's tax expert Christopher McLaughlin has responded with advice on how this may affect taxes already levied. Contact: Kim Hibbard  

Additional internet sweepstakes ban reference:

School of Government information from criminal law perspective. 

Have Your Voice Heard at Advocacy Goals Conference - Join your municipal colleagues January 24 to determine the Top 25 NCLM advocacy goals for the 2013-14 biennium.  The Advocacy Goals Conference gets started with a pre-game social networking reception the evening of January 23. Register today! You can review the goals approved by the League's Board of Directors for consideration at the registration link. If your municipality has a legislative priority that is not covered by those goals, your governing board may approve and submit additional goals, but those goals must be received by Jan. 14, so get them in now! 

Upcoming Environment Legislation - A legislative panel that oversees the state's environmental activities voted yesterday on a package of recommended environmental legislation for the 2013 Long Session. Of interest to N.C. cities and towns, the recommendations will include a resolution opposing the possible legalization of uranium mining in Virginia (read background in this December 2012 EcoLINC article). Notably, the Environmental Review Commission package does NOT include bill language for a comprehensive water supply proposal. Instead, legislators predicted the proposal would come later in the 2013 session -- or even possibly the 2014 session -- to allow time for stakeholders (including the League) to work through differing opinions on the complex issues involved. Contact: Erin Wynia.

Energy Commission Includes NCLM in Work Groups - The N.C. Mining & Energy Commission (MEC), the state board tasked with writing the rules to govern the natural gas extraction industry, has announced a process that is inclusive of stakeholders such as the League. A November MEC meeting discussion had called into question the role of affected groups throughout the rulemaking and study process, with commissioners stating a preference for minimal involvement by groups named in the legislation legalizing the practice. Yesterday, however, MEC Chair Jim Womack told legislators that the board would involve stakeholders in study groups on the topics of local government authority and funding impacts as well as the environmental rule-writing process. Contact: Erin Wynia.

What's Up in DC

Municipal Bond Interest Deduction on the Table In Fiscal Cliff Talks - Reports out of Washington this week indicate that bipartisan support is growing for including restrictions on the deductibility of municipal bond interest as part of a package of revenue enhancements.   Eliminating the deduction would reduce the attractiveness of municipal bonds to investors and require cities and towns to pay higher interest rate in order to market their debt.  Interest rates could increase by as much as two percentage points.  Contact your Senators and Representatives to let them know how higher borrowing costs would affect your tax rate and ability to provide essential local services. Contact: Karl Knapp.

Extra Extra

Partial Inauguration Schedule for Governor-Elect Pat McCrory:

  • January 5: Noon. Official swearing-in, State Capitol
  • January 7: 5 p.m. Western N.C. Open House, Governor's western residence, Asheville
  • January 8: 11 a.m. Piedmont Open House, site TBD; 5 p.m. Eastern N.C. Open House, Tryon Palace, New Bern
  • January 9: 4 p.m., Charlotte Open House, Government Center
  • January 10: 9 p.m. Rock-the-Ball, sponsored by the Junior League of Raleigh at Lincoln Theater
  • January 11:
    6 p.m. Governor's Reception
    Raleigh Convention Center Grand Ballroom
    8 p.m. Gala Presentation
    Raleigh Convention Center Exhibition Hall
    9 p.m. Inaugural Ball
    Raleigh Convention Center
    All sponsored by the Junior League of Raleigh
  • January 12:
    11 a.m. Inauguration ceremony and address
    Capitol Square
    12:30 p.m. Parade; Downtown Raleigh
    1 p.m., Open House at Governor's mansion;
    7 p.m. Private VIP Reception;
    8:30 p.m. Cocktail Celebration
    Sponsored by The Foundation for North Carolina 
    Raleigh Convention Center

Coming Soon

NCLM Advocacy Goals Conference, January 24, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh -  Pre-Game Networking Social January 23, DoubleTree by Hilton 

General Assembly - Full Legislative Calendar

DWQ Nutrient Criteria Implementation Plan public meeting, December 17, 1:00 pm, New Hanover County Government Building, 230 Government Center Drive, Wilmington, NC

Mining & Energy Commission committees, December 18, 9:00 am, Archdale Building Ground Floor Hearing Room, Raleigh

Mining & Energy Commission, December 19, 9:00 am, Archdale Building Ground Floor Hearing Room, Raleigh

Joint Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee, December 19, 9:00 am, 643 Legislative Office Building, Raleigh

Wetland & Stream Mitigation--Legislative Review Commission, December 20, 9:30 am, 643 Legislative Office Building, Raleigh

Nutrient Scientific Advisory Board, January 4, 9:30 am, Triangle J Council of Governments Meeting Room, Durham

N.C. General Assembly reconvenes, January 9, 9:00 am, Legislative Building, Raleigh

Environmental Management Commission committees, January 9, 9:00 am (tentative), Archdale Building Ground Floor Hearing Room, Raleigh

Environmental Management Commission, January 10, 9:00 am (tentative), Archdale Building Ground Floor Hearing Room, Raleigh