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Bulletin: May 13, 2010 

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General Assembly Returns for 2010 Short Session

The North Carolina General Assembly returned to Raleigh for the 2010 Short Session on Wednesday, May 12.  All indications are that this will truly be a ‘short session’ with the focus on the state budget.

Follow Key League Bills on League LINC

You can follow bills of interest to the League this session by clicking here.  If you are a municipal official, you can also leave comments about the positive or negative impacts a particular bill may have after selecting the bill number and choosing “Post Your Comments.”  That information will be seen by the Director of Government Affairs only. 

State Budget Currently $788 Million Short

The Governor’s proposed $19 billion budget proposal was released early this year, starting a fast-moving process to resolve the current $788 million shortfall, which will likely grow in the coming weeks. The Senate is working on its proposed budget bill, which is expected to be on the Senate floor by May 20 (next week). The House will then consider it. Please talk with your legislators over the weekend to remind them of the continued cuts cities and towns have made and your citizens’ heavy reliance on the state-collected local revenues. 

Annexation is Not an Issue for the Short Session

While our cities and towns are still committed to the 20 proposed changes offered in 2009, the annexation issue remains controversial and there is likely not enough time to address it in the short session.  HB 524, the annexation changes bill that passed the House, is now in the Senate.  The League members do not support the bill because of the referendum added, due to its negative effects on well-managed growth.  Please let your legislators know we want to resolve the issue, but not in a rushed short session.

ABC Reform Discussions Continue

The Joint Study Committee on ABC Reform recommended a bill last week to the General Assembly that addresses the current salary and ethics issues. The League remains very involved with this issue and is working with key stakeholders and legislators.

Please click here to see the League’s current position on ABC Reform.

Municipal Broadband is an Infrastructure Necessity

The League continues to work with key legislators to address the needs of cities and towns to provide their citizens and businesses with high-speed broadband to meet growing technology needs. 

The League opposes the recommendation led by Senator David Hoyle to limit municipal broadband to funding through General Obligation bonds only, due to the major campaigns private providers have launched to defeat the required GO bond referenda in other towns across the country.

Click here for more on Municipal Broadband.

Mobility Fund Provides More Money for Transportation

Governor Perdue’s proposed budget contains a plan to create the North Carolina Mobility Fund. The Fund is designed to address necessary projects of statewide concern that have not been funded due to a lack of resources.

It provides $300 million in “new” money annually, flowing from a mix of DOT/DMV tax and fee increases, and a redirection of certain state funds. It will also deliver new Powell Bill funds statewide (6.5% of the Mobility Fund balance – approximately $20 million), distributed based on municipal street system lane miles.

Questions remain as to how qualifying projects will be selected. The League has endorsed the concept but has requested that ‘mobility’ be further defined and that the prioritization process must take into consideration the needs of all cities and towns. 

DOT MOBILITY FACT SHEET

Water Infrastructure Needs are Being Addressed Incrementally

The League has been leading an effort on a subcommittee of the Study Commission on Water and Wastewater Infrastructure on language to be introduced that will aid in addressing the gap between criteria for funding water projects and the local system needs.  The language includes establishment of a water/wastewater database for the state. 

 

A Few Other Key Issues Expected for the Session and/or Still Eligible (not all-inclusive):

Internet Sweepstakes Cafes

The League of Municipalities supports a ban on Internet Sweepstakes Cafes.  A bill is expected this session to address the proliferation of these across the state. 

Eminent Domain

Representative Paul Stam has introduced HB1659 this week, which amends the constitution to prohibit condemnation of private property for economic development, and to provide compensation and jury trial for all condemnation cases. 

E-911

Various changes have been made by the House Select Committee on the Use of 911 Funds and HB 1691 has been introduced this week.  The League supports many aspects of the bill and will continue to address additional needs. 

E-Recycle

The League has worked with stakeholders to allow municipalities to receive funds for electronics recycling programs from computer and television manufacturers.  Legislation will be introduced this session. 

Also….

·         Public Campaign Financing (HB 120)

·         City/Town Development Moratoria Prohibition (SB 117)

·         Open Government Act (HB 1134)

·         No Taxes/Fees Allowed for Development (SB 447)

·         Street Construction/Developer Responsibility (SB 761)

·         Uniform Apportionment of Tort Responsibility (HB 813) 

Upcoming Events

“LINC in Thursday” (LIT) conference calls begin

Towns across the state have asked for more communication on key legislative issues. “LINC in Thursday” (LIT) conference calls will be held weekly on Thursdays at 3 p.m.  Email LeagueLINC@nclm.org to participate.

Bill drafting and filing deadlines available for 2010 NC General Assembly short session

Deadlines for various types of bills for the 2010 short session to be requested from North Carolina legislative staff and filed in the Principal Clerk’s offices are now available online.  Bill Drafting Deadlines

League LINC BULLETIN goes electronic

Going forward the Bulletin will be distributed by email and available on the NCLM website.  If your municipality does NOT have access to the NCLM website, please contact Jennifer Webb at 919.715.1726. Thank you.

Mark your calendars now for Town Hall Day, Wednesday June 16!

 

S. Ellis Hankins       Executive Director

Kelli H. Kukura         Director of Governmental Affairs