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Bulletin: May 27, 2010 

League LINC 

  “LINC in Thursday” (LIT) Conference Calls

Towns across the state have asked for more communication on key legislative issues. “LINC in Thursday” (LIT) conference calls are being held weekly on Thursdays at 3 p.m. to provide members up to the minute updates on legislative action.  Email LeagueLINC@nclm.org to participate.

 

Budget Process is Moving Forward in the House

The House Appropriations Committee held a public hearing this week in Raleigh to hear from stakeholders on budget concerns.  Most of the input focused on education and health care/home health care issues.  House Appropriations committees are meeting this week and leadership is still aiming for final approval of the House version of the budget by June 4. 

Anti-Muni Broadband Bill in Play

SB 1209 No Nonvoted Local Debt for Competing System was pulled off the Senate Finance calendar this week, but is still very much alive.  The bill, which limits city debt issuances for broadband systems to voted general obligation bonds only, is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Finance Committee next Tuesday (June 1) at 1:00PM.

The League strongly opposes the legislation as an unwarranted intrusion into local government decision making authority, and so we ask that you please contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and tell them you oppose SB 1209. The League has been asked to work on an alternative approach to create a task force to address issues.

NC Mobility Fund Doesn’t Include Added Powell Bill Money

A pared down version of the proposed NC Mobility Fund currently appears in House budget draft language, but does not include the additional Powell Bill money proposed in Governor Perdue’s budget.  The original Mobility Fund concept called for 6.5% of the Fund to be distributed to municipalities – upwards of $20M annually.

Please contact House and Senate budget leaders and ask them to insert Powell Bill funding into the Mobility Fund:  Representatives Adams, M. Alexander, Crawford, Haire, Jeffus, Michaux, Tolson, and Yongue and Senators Albertson, Dannelly, Garrou and Swindell.

ABC Reform Discussions Are Occurring

Focused discussions among bill sponsors of SB 1112 Modernization of the State ABC System and its companion, HB 1717, are continuing.  We anticipate the House bill to be heard in the House Alcoholic Beverage Control committee within two weeks.

If the bill remains as introduced, most city and town issues have been addressed.  Interest in strengthening the ethics provisions of the bill have been discussed with us, and we continue to be open to resolving those concerns in an appropriate manner.  Further, while not currently a part of the bill, we remain committed to addressing the very serious safety and crime concerns we continue to hear related to the ABC permitting process and are discussing these concerns with various stakeholders.

Click here for the League’s current position on ABC Reform.

Click here for the League’s Advocacy Agenda.

Limited Expanded Use of Funds in E-911 Bill

A bill designed to expand the use of E-911 funds by emergency telephone dispatch centers (HB 1691) does not  include needed equipment outside of the walls of the answering center (items such as towers and antennas), and does not extend funding to secondary PSAPs.  County governments and telecommunication companies oppose these enhancements, which would primarily benefit municipally based telephone answering centers.

Please contact the sponsors of the legislation, and ask them to help your answering centers.  Click here and scroll down for sponsors.

Water Update

The package of bills recommended by the Water & Wastewater Infrastructure Study Committee, which the League had representation on, were heard this week in the House Committee on Water Resources. The bills heard include HB 1743 Local Government Review Water Systems and H 1744 Water Funding Priorities.

Another bill supported by the League, HB 1746 Water Infrastructure Database/Task Force, was pulled from the agenda at the last minute due to concerns by other water infrastructure funding organizations. Please call or email Representative Jim Crawford and let him know the importance of getting the bill heard in committee. Tell him how important it is to take the first step toward building the first comprehensive statewide water/wastewater infrastructure database.

Click here for member talking points on the NC Statewide Water Database (then scroll down).

Internet Sweepstakes Cafes Ban Bill is Coming

League members, through the established process of review and approval, have taken a position supporting a ban on internet sweepstakes cafes.  We anticipate legislation in the coming days to accomplish that.

Two bills were filed this week that take a different approach to the treatment of internet sweepstakes cafes:  SB 1407 Lottery Commission Regulate Video Gaming was introduced by Sen. Boseman.  The bill would place video gaming under the State Lottery Commission and would preempt all local ordinances and regulations related to the machines.  HB 2030 Video Gaming Entertainment Act was introduced by Rep. Kelly Alexander and would set regulations in place for video gaming, allowing the Department of Revenue to charge certain fees per machine and distribute a portion of the funds to the local government.

Click here for the League’s current position on Internet Sweepstakes Cafes.

Additional Bills of Interest:

  • Clayton / Electronic Notices (HB 710)
  • Wake Email Address Lists / Electronic Access (HB 1921)
  • Eminent Domain (HB1659)
  • Public Campaign Financing (HB 120)
  • City/Town Development Moratoria Prohibition (SB 117)
  • Open Government Act (HB 1134)
  • No Monetary Exaction for Development (SB 447)
  • Street Construction/Developer Responsibility (SB 761)
  • Uniform Apportionment of Tort Responsibility (HB 813)

Collective Bargaining: Senator Hagan Restates Commitment; Senator Burr Steadfast

Senator Kay Hagan has restated her commitment to vote against the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2009 (S 3194, federally mandated collective bargaining), including any cloture vote. Senator Hagan’s position opposing this unfunded and potentially unconstitutional legislation is consistent with the League membership’s legislative policy.

Please express your appreciation to Senator Hagan directly by calling (202) 224-6342 or faxing a thank you letter to (202) 228-2563.

Senator Richard Burr has consistently stated his opposition to this legislation. Please also express your appreciation to Senator Burr by calling (202) 224-3154 or faxing a thank you letter to (202) 228-1374.

Status: As of the morning of May 26, based on developments in Washington, it appears that the Senate leadership’s effort to attach the mandatory collective bargaining provisions to a supplemental spending bill might fail. If so, we must remain vigilant and ready to oppose efforts to attach it to other legislation.

Upcoming Events

 

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 Governmental Affairs only. 

Strength in Numbers: Make Plans to be in Raleigh for Town Hall Day, Wednesday June 16!

The 2010 Short Session is “off and running.”  We need you in Raleigh for Town Hall Day, June 16, to attend committee meetings, Senate and House sessions and to meet with legislators throughout the day.  Legislative briefings begin at the Quorum Center at 9:30 AM followed by updates on hot topics with legislators at the General Assembly. The day will be topped off with a Legislative Reception at 5 PM. 

Register today.

 

 S. Ellis Hankins               Kelli H. Kukura

Executive Director            Director of Governmental Affairs