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In the News

05.01.2014 Future of the N.C. Film Office, incentives are tied together

05.01.2014 Governor McCrory Appoints New State Controller

05.01.2014 Jeb Bush endorses Thom Tillis for Senate

05.01.2014 Moffitt challenger's donors revealed

05.01.2014 New $1.5 million marketing effort to create brand for N.C.

05.01.2014 Primary day will mark the end of the campaign trail for some

05.01.2014 Report details film expenses, incentive payouts

05.01.2014 The Upcoming Legislative Session

04.30.2014 City concerned about business tax changes

04.30.2014 Concord presents legislative goals to delegates

04.30.2014 New reports show effect of sweetened subsidy for film industry in NC

04.30.2014 Officials consider ways to build up beach renourishment funds

04.30.2014 Rand Paul to plunge into North Carolina Senate race

04.30.2014 Will the New Road Formula Stick?

04.29.2014 50 Democrats will elect successor to Dan Clodfelter in N.C. Senate

04.29.2014 Governor steps into GOP Senate primary

04.28.2014 Biggers, Hartsell square off for N.C. Senate seat

04.28.2014 Brannon, Harris sharpen attacks on Tillis

04.28.2014 Commerce secretary promises rural focus

04.28.2014 Greensboro pushes for better rates on LED streetlights

04.28.2014 Moffitt opponent raises nearly $150k

04.28.2014 The Best Cities For Jobs 2014

04.28.2014 Why the Democrats' Turnout Problem Is Worst in North Carolina

04.27.2014 Local lawmaker helps set rules on drones

04.27.2014 Planning Director answers a higher calling

04.27.2014 Proposed sales tax could be used for Brunswick beaches

04.26.2014 NC legislative primaries debate style, substance

04.26.2014 NC Republican candidates for US Senate: Differences are subtle, but real

04.25.2014 City hails historic preservation tax credit, calls for extension

04.25.2014 Officials talk extension of historic preservation tax credits

04.24.2014 Preserving historic downtown could become more costly

04.21.2014 New law ends long history of 'forced annexation' in TN

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Proposal Eliminates Tree Ordinance Authority

Draft legislation released Wednesday would prevent counties and municipalities from regulating "the removal, replacement, and preservation of trees on private property within its jurisdiction." This proposal, endorsed by the Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission, would eliminate statewide cities' authority to enact tree ordinances, including those involving the protection of trees during construction, the protection of historic and "heritage" trees from removal, and replacement of trees in disturbed, regulated buffer areas. The League was not made aware of the proposal and did not see the proposed language before it was presented to the committee. Without discussion, the committee voted to recommend the proposal to the 2014 General Assembly. The topic of "over-reaching" local tree ordinances came up in previous legislative committee meetings this year, including testimony by the N.C. Home Builders Association at the February Environmental Review Commission meeting.
 
Cities and towns utilize tree ordinances to maintain community character and appearance, which keeps property values high and encourages businesses and residents to locate in those cities. Prior to the start of the Short Session May 14, we encourage League members to contact their legislative delegation and let them know of the importance of tree ordinances to your city or town. To advance in the process, the proposal would have to be introduced as a bill in the Short Session, then pass both the House and Senate and receive consideration by the Governor before becoming law. Read media reports on this proposal in "State could ban city and county tree laws" (Durham Herald-Sun) and "Legislature may chop down local tree-protection rules" (Greensboro News & Record).

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Submit Your 2015-16 Policy Proposals Now

The League is currently accepting proposals for legislative and regulatory goals that should be pursued during the 2015-16 biennium, via this online form. Your input about legislative priorities for the upcoming biennium will help guide League staff in lobbying and advocacy efforts on behalf of North Carolina's cities and towns. Goals should be submitted no later than August 31, 2014. The goals process will end with the selection of the final goals by the League membership at the Advocacy Goals Conference on December 11, 2014. Click here for more information.
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FCC Chair Says State Laws on Municipal Broadband Will Be Preempted

According to a report from Ars Technica, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler told cable industry representatives this week that the FCC would act to override state laws that place limits on municipalities' ability to provide broadband services. The transcript of Wheeler's speech provided by the FCC quotes Wheeler as saying, "...I believe the FCC has the power -- and I intend to exercise that power -- to preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband." North Carolina is one of 20 states with a law in place limiting municipal broadband services. The law in North Carolina, passed in 2011, limits cities who currently have broadband systems in place from growing those systems, and created barriers for future municipalities looking to enter the broadband market. More information on that law is available on page 4 of the League's 2011 End of Session Bulletin.
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DEP Files Petition to Revise Outdoor Lighting Schedules

On Monday, Duke Energy Progress (DEP) filed a petition with the NC Utilities Commission (NCUC) to revise outdoor lighting schedules, including the rate schedule applicable to street lights. DEP stated that the purpose of the schedule revisions was to "enhance" the company's deployment of Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. However, among other things, the petition sought Commission approval to close the customer-owned LED and variable rate options that have been available and beneficial to DEP municipal customers since 2010. Although the changes were consistent with comments Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) submitted to the NCUC as part of the DEC rate case and comments made at their spring Outdoor Lighting Forums, the changes limit municipalities' options regarding LED technologies, and the League will continue to press the company for an LED streetlight rate that would make it financially feasible for cities and towns to use the more energy-efficient technology. The League's continued involvement in this issue is supported by the 100-plus members of the Municipal Energy Group. Similar future efforts will be supported by the Regulatory Technical Assistance Fund (REG-TAF), a voluntary joint action program the League recently organized in response to member feedback. For more information on REG-TAF and how to participate, click here.


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Former Charlotte Councilman Cooksey Now With NCDOT

Former City of Charlotte Councilman Warren Cooksey announced this week via Twitter that he was beginning a new position as the Director of Outreach & Community Affairs for Division 10 of the N.C. Department of Transportation. In addition to his service to the City of Charlotte, Cooksey is also a former member of the League's Board of Directors and a former chair of the League's General Government Legislative Action Committee. Cooksey joins former mayors Nick Tennyson (Durham) and Keith Weatherly (Apex) at NCDOT. We congratulate Warren on his new role and look forward to working with him and the rest of the staff at NCDOT.
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Don't Forget: Primary Election This Tuesday, May 6

Congressional, General Assembly, and state judicial races will be on the ballot this Tuesday in North Carolina's primary election. If you haven't voted already, you can still vote early through tomorrow. A full list of all the candidates running for office Tuesday can be found here. We wish the best of luck to all the candidates running and thank them for their willingness to serve.
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U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Proposes Transportation Bill

This week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx -- the former mayor of the City of Charlotte -- announced that he plans to send to Congress the GROW AMERICA Act, a four-year, $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill. In addition to addressing the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund -- which is scheduled to run out of money sometime this summer -- one of the other stated goals of the GROW AMERICA Act was "providing certainty to state and local governments that must engage in long-term planning." In a release, Secretary Foxx said, "Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable -- and unaffordable. This proposal offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve." The proposal also gives states the option of collecting tolls on interstate highways. National League of Cities President Chris Coleman, the mayor of Saint Paul, Minn., said, "The president's GROW Act kick-starts the process for reauthorizing a transportation plan that will create jobs and promote long-term economic development for communities and the nation. It is an important first step for investing in our transportation network and creating a national long-term transportation plan."
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NC 911 Board Requests Municipal Feedback

The North Carolina 911 Board is encouraging local government representatives to join them for their upcoming regional board meetings. If your municipality has any feedback, concerns, or questions for the 911 Board, the public comment periods during these meetings will be great opportunities to have them heard. The times and locations for the two remaining regional meetings are below.

Western Region
Friday, June 27 - 10:00 a.m.
1 Historic Courthouse Square, Suite 1
Hendersonville, NC

Eastern Region
Wednesday, September 10 - 10:00 a.m.
Sea Trails Resort
Sunset Beach, NC

Please contact Richard Taylor in advance if you plan on addressing the 911 Board.