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 July 24 

This week's development

Back to the drawing board on budget --

The House and Senate this week agreed to a revenue plan to balance the state budget, but upon Gov. Beverly Perdue's announcement yesterday that she would not support any plan that included an “income tax increase on working families” budget negotiators went home for the weekend, further delaying a resolution of the current budget dispute.  The state government can continue to operate through July 31, 2009's continuation deadline at which time either a new budget must be in place, or another continuing resolution must pass.

The House and Senate revenue plan presently does not call for elimination of the local privilege license tax. Earlier in the session, a Senate tax reform proposal would have eliminated the local privilege license tax. We do not as yet have written details of the plan, which now is subject to significant change. We will let municipal officials know more details about budget negotiations as they proceed.

Alternate municipal election schedule after census

The House and Senate have both passed SB 38 – Municipal District Elections 2011/Census , which establishes an optional municipal election schedule cities and towns can use if they need additional time for redrawing board districts after the 2010 Census results are available. The bill is similar to legislation adopted after the 2000 Census.

Law Enforcement Officer Separation Allowance clarified

The House concurred with the Senate's version of HB 816 – Clarify Local Separation Allowance .  The bill clarifies the law as to how the special separation allowance will be administered for local officers.

Changes related to use of federal stimulus funds

The Senate has passed SB 960 – Ensure Accountability Re: Stimulus Funds to make various changes related to the use of federal stimulus funds. The bill establishes an expedited procedure for adopting or amending agency rules implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. It prohibits a party from recovering attorneys' fees in any civil action regarding any claim relating to the implementation of ARRA or the award of contracts or grants thereunder by the state and local governments. It authorizes contracts or grants entered into for the use of ARRA funds to include remedies sufficient to protect the state in the event the funds are not used in a manner consistent with ARRA or state requirements, including withholding state revenues to local governments. It requires the Department of Administration to establish revolving funds to provide secured loans for energy efficient and renewable energy improvements and to develop rules to allow state-regulated financial institutions to provide secured loans to local governments and others in accordance with terms established by the State Energy Office. It has been assigned to the House Energy Committee.

Affordable housing bill approved by House Committee

SB 810 – Affordable Housing/No Discrimination was approved by the House Judiciary III Committee.  In its current form, the bill amends the State Fair Housing Act to make it unlawful for a local government to discriminate against low income housing developments when making land use or permitting decisions.  The bill has been placed on the calendar for Monday's House Session.

Waiver of right to a second drug test

The House has approved on second reading SB 643 – Amend Drug Exam Regulation . This legislation allows job applicants who are required to submit to a controlled substance exam to waive their right to a second test if the first test is positive. Employers would save money if the prospective employee waived their right to a second test.
Fireworks safety bill launched

The Senate Finance Committee adopted a committee substitute for SB 563 – Pyrotechnics Safety Permitting Act , and the bill now goes to the floor Monday. The proposed legislation prohibits cities or counties from authorizing fireworks at a concert or public exhibition unless the display operator provides proof of insurance of at least $500,000 or the minimum required by the NC State Building Code, whichever is greater. The display operator must obtain a permit from the state fire marshal, and personally direct all aspects of the use and discharge of the fireworks. All individuals assisting the display operator must meet training requirements and act under the operator's direct supervision. There is an exemption from meeting the training requirements for an individual who has the appropriate professional qualifications and is an active member of a local fire or rescue department that has experience in pyrotechnics or explosives. The bill requires the state fire marshal to establish guidelines, testing, and training requirements.

 

Federal Stimulus Spotlight

Federal ARRA compliance webinar

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the federal agency tasked with providing guidance to ARRA recipients regarding purchasing, contracting, transparency, and accountability requirements, has produced a series of eight webinars.  The webinars will provide information on implementing the guidance set forth in OMB Memorandum M-09-21, released on June 22, 2009.  The webinars are available after July 27.

Homelessness prevention funding guidance

The N.C. Office of Economic Recovery & Investment announced application requirements for the new ARRA program, Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP).  The purpose of HPRP is to provide homelessness prevention assistance to households who would otherwise become homeless and to provide assistance to rapidly re - house persons who are currently homeless.   Applications are due by 5:00pm on Friday, August 7.  Details are available at www.ncceh.org .

 

Annexation vote for your reference in discussion with your legislators and citizens.

 

ROLL CALL Vote on HB 524
(Aye vote is vote in favor of bill with referendum provision)

1104       HB 524

ANNEXATION - OMNIBUS CHANGES.
Sponsor: GOFORTH
Third Reading

Outcome: PASSED
Time: Jul 23 2009 2:08PM

         Total Votes: 114   Ayes: 83   Noes: 31   Not: 1   Exc. Absent: 5   Exc. Vote: 0

Ayes:    

Representative(s): Adams; Avila; Barnhart; Blackwell; Blackwood; Blust; Boles; Braxton; Brown; Brubaker; Bryant; Burr; Burris-Floyd; Cleveland; Coates; Cole; Crawford; Current; Daughtry; Dickson; Dockham; Dollar; England; Faison; Floyd,E.; Frye; Gill; Gillespie; Goforth; Grady; Guice; Gulley; Harrell; Harrison; Hill; Hilton; Holliman; Holloway; Howard; Hughes; Hurley; Iler; Ingle; Jeffus; Johnson; Jones; Justice; Justus; Killian; Langdon; Lewis; Lucas; Luebke; McComas; McCormick; McElraft; McGee; Michaux; Mills; Moore; Neumann; Pierce; Rapp; Rhyne; Sager; Samuelson; Setzer; Stam; Starnes; Steen; Stevens; Sutton; Tillis; Tolson; Underhill; Warren, R.; Weiss; West; Whilden; Wiley; Womble; Wray; Yongue

Noes:    

Representative(s): Alexander, K.; Alexander, M.; Allen; Bell; Bordsen; Brisson; Carney; Cotham; Earle; Farmer-Butterfield; Fisher; Goodwin; Haire; Hall; Jackson; Love; Mackey; Martin; McLawhorn; Mobley; Owens; Parmon; Ross; Spear; Stewart; Tarleton; Tucker; Wainwright; Warren, E.; Wilkins; Williams

Not Voting:    

Representative(s): Randleman

Exc. Absence:    

Representative(s): Folwell; Gibson; Glazier; Hackney (SPEAKER); Insko

  

House passes annexation bill with referendum provision allowing up to a year to gather signatures

The House Thursday (July 23) gave its final approval to HB 524 – Annexation – Omnibus Changes with a referendum requirement that makes the bill unworkable. We are very disappointed that the House has passed the bill in its present form. The final vote was 83-31 in favor of the bill. Please continue to follow up with your legislators about their votes.

The House's action is especially disappointing in light of how you listened to concerns expressed by citizens in a few communities, how many reforms you proposed and how many substantive changes that you accepted. Municipal officials have shown leadership on this issue and agreed to reform measures during every step of the legislative process.

Now our efforts turn to the Senate – see below.

Update:   As amended on the House floor Wednesday, the bill's referendum provision now allows annexation opponents up to one year, beginning from the adoption of the resolution of consideration, to gather signatures of 15% of the total of registered voters from the area to be annexed and the municipality.

Earlier in the week, the House Appropriations Committee narrowly defeated an attempt to take out the referendum provision. There were also several attempts to decrease the number of signatures necessary to call for the referendum. The committee added a provision to encourage joint municipal and county utility services planning, which the League supports. That amendment would require the county and municipalities to make a good-faith effort to negotiate mutually acceptable terms about future water and sewer service and related matters.

During the second reading on the House floor Wednesday, Rep. Nelson Dollar introduced an amendment, which was adopted, to extend the time period allowed for gathering signatures for the petition to trigger a referendum. When the bill was up for third reading Thursday (final adoption), there were attempts to limit the referendum only to those residents in areas proposed for annexation. These amendments failed.

We very much appreciate a number of legislators who supported cities and towns and their citizens -- Rep. Lucy Allen introduced an amendment in the Appropriations Committee to remove the referendum requirement and Rep. Kelly Alexander spoke eloquently in support of cities and towns on the House floor. We also very much appreciate the efforts of Reps. Glazier, Barnhart, Samuelson, Bordsen,  Bryant, Wainwright, Owens and Wilkins.

What You Need to Do: Contact your senators. Have your residents, civic, business and chamber leaders contact your senators. The message: Do not support HB 524 as long as it includes a referendum.

 

Bill Summaries