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Bulletin: June 3, 2010 

Are YOU Registered?

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.

Municipal Broadband Bill Reluctantly Negotiated

The League has been fighting and defeating bills that would destroy municipal broadband for three years.  This session, another destructive bill (SB 1209 -  Study Competing Systems/Interim Debt) was introduced that originally would have forced all cities and towns to use General Obligation bonds only – based on other states’ experiences, the private industry then pours money into a local campaign to defeat the initiative.

After a careful assessment of all other potential outcomes, we agreed to a request from Senate leaders to negotiate another option. Consequently, a bill is now on the Senate floor for final reading Monday night.  The bill would create a task force to study the issue and report in the 2011 Regular Session.  It includes a short-term moratorium with several exemptions. 

Current bill: S 1209 – Study Competing Systems / Interim Debt [scroll down to “Chamber Action” to see amendments dated 6/3/2010].

League's position on municipal broadband.

ACTION: If you have an interest in following this issue more closely, please go to where a large coalition of businesses, associations and individual citizens are communicating the need for municipal broadband.

House Passes Its Version of Budget

The House passed its version of the State budget this week and did not make any changes to municipal revenues. 

The bill has several differences from the Senate budget of interest to cities and towns.   The bill creates the Governor’s proposed NC Mobility Fund to support transportation projects, but does not provide a Powell Bill supplement as the Governor had proposed.  The House budget includes funding for the Main Street Solutions grant program and for inmate work crews that assist local governments.

The budget now goes to a House-Senate conference to resolve differences.  One issue that will complicate the conference process is the uncertainty over whether the federal government will provide $472 million in Medicaid funds that are currently assumed as revenues.  If these funds are not available, further cuts will be needed.

See Budget: SB 897, 6th edition engrossed as it passed the House of Representatives 6/4/2010

See AP Story: House gives final OK to nearly $19B budget

ABC Reform Bill in Committee Tuesday

The ABC Reform Bill (HB 1717 - Modernization of the State ABC System) will be heard in the House ABC Committee on Tuesday. 

The League continues to work with the bill sponsors and other stakeholders on continued changes to the bill, specifically related to the ABC Commission's authority regarding merger or closure of ABC stores.  A number of changes are expected to be in the bill when it goes to committee Tuesday, June 8.

ACTION: If your town has an ABC system, call members of the House ABC Committee to let them know you oppose the closure or merger of a solvent ABC system.

League’s current position on ABC Reform 

League’s Advocacy Agenda

Secondary PSAP Funding Not Included in E-911 Bill

HB 1691 – Use of 911 Funds is designed to expand the use of E-911 funds by emergency telephone dispatch centers but does not extend funding to secondary PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points).  Under current law, only existing primary PSAPs are eligible to receive funding from the 911 Board.  The bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Public Utilities Committee next Tuesday.

ACTION: If you would like to see the bill provide funds for your secondary PSAP, please contact the members of the Public Utilities Committee and sponsors of the bill (HB 1691, then scroll down for sponsors) and ask them to help your call dispatch center.

Local Governments Can Develop E-Recycle Programs

The Proposed Committee Substitute for SB 887 – Amend Electronics Recycling Law (also HB 1761 – Amend Electronics Recycling Requirements) establishes electronics recycling programs for computer equipment and televisions.

The bill establishes a funds distribution system for local governments from the Electronics Management Account, a non-reverting account that collects registration fees paid by computer equipment and television manufacturers.  A municipality would be able to receive funding from NC DENR if the county Solid Waste Plan details a municipality’s intention to provide an e-recycling program (or if the city develops its own Solid Waste Plan).

This bill does not change the recycling program for televisions enacted in 2008.  It does, however, move the disposal ban date on computer equipment and televisions from January 1, 2011 to July 1, 2011 to allow local governments to develop e-recycle programs. 

Additional Bills of Interest [in alphabetical order by title, not all inclusive]:

  • Broadband Task Force (HB 1949)
  • Clayton / Electronic Notices (HB 710)
  • Government Employees Port Benefits (SB 1386)
  • Government Entity Sales Tax Refund Modification (SB 1430)
  • Improve River Basin Modeling (SB 1170)
  • Local Government Other Post Employment Benefits (SB 1212)
  • Modernize Sales Tax on Accommodations (SB 1185 / HB 1828)
  • Modify Water Funding Priorities (HB 1743)
  • Open Government Act (HB 1134)
  • Public Campaign Financing (HB 120)
  • Safe Artificial Slope Construction Act (HB 1870)
  • State Retirement Age and Service Change (SB 1450)
  • Wake Email Address Lists / Electronic Access (HB 1921)
  • Water Infrastructure Needs / Close Info Gaps (SB 1291)
  • Water Supply System Capacity Planning (SB 1292)

Upcoming Events

Legislative Bill Tracking Available to NCLM Members

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. 

Updates! Get Your Updates!

The 2010 short session of the General Assembly is moving at a swift pace.  To stay informed, plan to participate on the “LINC in Thursday” (LIT) legislative update conference calls.  Calls are held every Thursday at 3 p.m., last for twenty minute updates, and are quick to the point.  Email to participate.

S. Ellis Hankins                  Kelli H. Kukura
Executive Director               Director of Governmental Affairs