Skip to Main Content



^ Back to Top

Governor to Let Coal Ash Plan Become Law Minus Signature

Governor Pat McCrory said this week that he would allow a coal ash clean-up plan to become law without his signature, even as he plans to seek court guidance on a provision that his administration sees as an unconstitutional encroachment on the governor's power. Governor McCrory said that he and Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest will seek an advisory opinion from the state Supreme Court to try to clarify a separation of powers concern raised by the creation of a new commission to oversee the regulation and closure of coal ash pits. A majority of the appointments to the commission are controlled by the Legislature. Governor McCrory indicated that his administration might sue if the Supreme Court declines to issue an advisory opinion.

The governor's decision to allow the larger bill, SB 729 Coal Ash Management Plan of 2014, to become law means that a plan that should provide protections to water supplies will go forward. It also means the approval of a key provision affecting some municipal wastewater systems. The provision clarified how groundwater compliance boundaries are applied in the wake of a court ruling that overturned previous state interpretations of the law. Without the change, some municipal systems may have had to make expensive changes to their systems. Read earlier League coverage on the change here. Read media coverage regarding the governor's decision here and here.


^ Back to Top

Wilson's Broadband Fight Featured in Wall Street Journal

The City of Wilson's push to have the Federal Communications Commission preempt a 2011 state law restricting government-owned broadband systems is continuing to gain national attention. Last week, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by two Fordham University law professors, Nestor Davidson and Olivier Sylvain, entitled, "An Old Tobacco Town Battles Over Smokin' Fast Broadband." The piece makes the case for the City of Wilson by noting, "Municipal broadband is not about federalism. It is about bringing competition to local markets that desperately need it. Congress recognized this when it asserted in the Telecommunications Act that states could not erect barriers to competition in local markets for broadband service."

The entire piece can be read here. Wilson and Chattanooga, Tenn., each submitted petitions to the FCC seeking to preempt state laws that restrict their systems. The North Carolina law restricted Wilson's ability to expand its Greenlight system. The petitions came in response to comments by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicating that he believed preempting state laws like North Carolina's would help consumers and bolster competition. The League, which opposed the 2011 law, submitted comments to the FCC supporting Wilson's petition, as did municipal governments in Fayetteville, Mooresville, Highlands and Holly Springs. Previous League coverage regarding the petition to the FCC can be read here. Contact: Kim Hibbard


^ Back to Top

Four NC Projects Awarded Federal Transportation Grants

Four North Carolina projects are among those awarded grants under the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Act. U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx announced the grant awards on Friday, appearing in Asheville as the city received a substantial grant for a project there. The North Carolina projects awarded grants were: Asheville East of the Riverway Multimodal Network, $14,600,000; the Northeastern N.C. Rail Improvement Project, $5,800,000; Duke Belt Line Trial Master Plan, $222,700; and The Piedmont Study, $200,000. The full list of TIGER grants can be found here. In total, 72 grants totaling roughly $600 million were awarded.
^ Back to Top

State Ethics Commission Pulls Forms From Internet

The North Carolina Ethics Commission shut down an Internet portal designed to allow public review of officials' ethics disclosure forms following complaints about the easy availability of personal information. The Commission began making the forms available for online review on July 1. A state law passed in 2006 established the current Statements of Economic Interest and expanded the number of elected and appointed officials who must file them. The forms are subject to open records disclosure requirements, but there is no mandate that they be posted online.

During the legislative session, the League opposed a proposal that would have subjected elected municipal officials in the state's largest cities to the state ethics disclosure requirements. The provision was ultimately dropped from a regulatory reform package. The member designees of the state's regionalized transportation planning groups -- the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Rural Planning Organizations -- are required to file the forms, and new penalties for those members who fail to file them were established in legislation approved this year. Read media coverage regarding the Ethics Commission action here.


^ Back to Top

Welcome Our Returning Intern

The League's Governmental Affairs team is excited to welcome back Shawnda Martin as an intern for the fall. Shawnda is becoming a fixture around the Legislative Building, having interned with the League over the summer as well and previously serving as an intern with Senator Earline Parmon. Over the summer, Shawnda became a valuable member of the Governmental Affairs Team, researching issues before lawmakers and monitoring committee meetings. She is in her third year at North Carolina Central University's School of Law. Please join us in welcoming Shawnda back for more work with the League!  

                        


^ Back to Top

Participate in the NCLM Policy Development Process!

The League will hold its third round of Legislative Action Committee meetings the week of Sept. 22-26 as we continue working toward the 2014 Advocacy Goals Conference and establishing policy goals for the next legislative biennium. We would like to thank everyone who has submitted proposed advocacy goals, and invite you to attend the conference, which will be held December 11 in Raleigh. This will be the final step in our policy development process, a process designed to pursue policies at the Legislature and before regulatory agencies that meet the demands and needs of member municipalities. We hope to see you there! Contact: Cara Bridges


^ Back to Top

Charlotte Postpones Ride-Sharing Rules

It appears that the City of Charlotte will hold off on implementing new rules designed to regulate ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. A City Council committee had been scheduled to discuss regulating the dispatch services earlier this week, but cancelled the meeting. Proposals under consideration included background checks for drivers, safety inspections of vehicles, and de-regulation of current cab fares. The General Assembly, though, has ordered a study examining potential statewide regulation of these ride-sharing services. Cities and states around the country have struggled with how to regulate the services, which raise legitimate public safety concerns while traditional taxi companies face stricter rules designed to protect consumers. Read more regarding the City of Charlotte's struggle with the issue here.
^ Back to Top

Raleigh Considers Incentives Policy

The City of Raleigh is the latest North Carolina municipality to consider establishing a formal policy regarding business recruiting incentives. Members of the Raleigh City Council this week debated setting up a criteria for handing out incentives. The cities of Charlotte and Durham are among those that currently have guidelines when it comes to using inducements to bring new jobs and investments to their communities. Such guidelines typically focus on the number of jobs created and the value of a company's investment. Read more about Raleigh's consideration of a formal policy here.
^ Back to Top

Retirement and Memorial Resolutions Being Accepted

If you know of a municipal official or employee whom you would like to see honored with a retirement or memorial resolution at the League's upcoming annual conference, please submit this form by Thursday, Sept. 25. Resolutions will be submitted to the League membership for adoption at the Annual Business Meeting on Monday, Oct. 13. Forms and questions can be submitted to Jennifer Webb.


^ Back to Top

Park Negotiations Continue in Raleigh

Negotiations between the state and the City of Raleigh over the sale of the former site of the Dorothea Dix psychiatric hospital are apparently snagged over how much land will be included in the deal. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the sides have agreed on a $52 million deal for the 300-plus acre piece of property. Raleigh wants to turn the land into a desitination park. State leaders, though, want the city to lease 27.5 acres back to the state for as long as the state wishes. Read more about the long-running negotiations here.
^ Back to Top

Park Negotiations Continue in Raleigh

Negotiations between the state and the City of Raleigh over the sale of the former site of the Dorothea Dix psychiatric hospital are apparently snagged over how much land will be included in the deal. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the sides have agreed on a $52 million deal for the 300-plus acre piece of property. Raleigh wants to turn the land into a desitination park. State leaders, though, want the city to lease 27.5 acres back to the state for as long as the state wishes. Read more about the long-running negotiations here.