Skip to Main Content
 

Bulletin: June 10, 2010 

League LINC logo 
It’s Almost Time

Only a few days until Town Hall Day!  Plan to be in Raleigh for Town Hall Day, Wednesday, June 16 for an exciting day of legislative events and updates. 

A new agenda this year gives opportunities to attend committee meetings, Senate and House sessions (where we will all fill the galleries!) and to meet with legislators throughout the day.  Registration opens at 8:30 AM with legislative briefings at the Quorum Center at 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM.  Legislators will be speaking with us at afternoon hot topic sessions at the Legislative Auditorium beginning at 1:00 PM and following the full Senate and House legislative sessions.

ACTION: We’ve talked about it all year and this is our opportunity to show our strength. Your attendance at Town Hall Day is critical.

ABC (HB 1717) Moves to State Government Committee

The ABC Reform bill (HB 1717 - Modernization of the State ABC System) has passed the House Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee and is to be heard Tuesday in House State Government Committee.  The League supports the bill at this point.  We will address the need for earlier local government input into ABC permit decisions and various other ABC safety issues as the bill moves to the Senate.

ACTION: Please contact your House members and let them know you support the current bill and ask for their support.  Take this opportunity to share ABC permitting safety concerns as well.

League’s current position on ABC Reform 

League Summary of ABC Bill

Court Decision Negatively Impacts Economic Development for Towns

A recent court decision held that the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) applies to all economic development projects in North Carolina.  The ruling subjects every economic development project receiving any state or local incentives to SEPA.

Each project could face a delay of at least 6 months and as much as two years before a company could begin construction.  It is a significant deterrent to economic development.

This week, the League Executive Committee unanimously agreed to direct League staff to work as part of a large coalition and develop a legislative solution to the chilling effect created by this court decision.  We simply need to ensure existing law is clarified.  The legislature did not intend to subject private economic development projects to SEPA.

ACTION: Please contact your House and Senate delegations and let them know the chilling effect this will have on recruitment of new companies.

Eminent Domain Bill Appears Headed Out of House

Representative Paul Stam’s Eminent Domain bill (HB 1659 – Eminent Domain), which would change the North Carolina constitution to prohibit condemnation of private property for an economic development reason, appears to be moving quickly out of the House.  The League believes the bill is unnecessary since eminent domain in North Carolina can only be used when the property is needed for a public purpose, such as a road, fire station, etc.  A constitutional amendment would lead to unintended complications in court decisions.

E911 Bill Advances While We Still Work on PSAPs Needs

The House Public Utilities Committee approved HB 1691 – Use of 911 Funds, and it will likely be heard by the House Finance Committee next week.  An amendment to expand the use of funds to include emergency communication radios was defeated, but additional attempts are expected in future committees. 

ACTION: A good faith commitment to include funding for secondary public safety answering points (PSAP - 911 call centers) has been made by the primary bill sponsor and other interested parties, and we encourage you to contact members of the House Finance Committee to help make that a reality.

League Works for Hotel Tax Modernization and Fairness

HB 1828 - Modernize Sales Tax on Accommodations would enhance tax revenues flowing from the occupancy of hotel rooms by applying tax rates to the total price paid by the consumer, even if the room was purchased from an internet based seller. 

Currently, the amount of tax remitted to state and local governments on the rental of accommodations by internet sellers is far less than the amount paid by the consumer due to legal loopholes, shorting local governments approximately $1.8 M in sales tax, and $3.6 M in occupancy tax annually.  While the Senate version of the budget included provisions ensuring that the full amount of tax be paid, we are also supporting efforts in the House to correct this situation by promoting HB 1828.

Water Bills are Moving

The package of bills recommended by the Water & Wastewater Infrastructure Study Committee continue to move through the General Assembly. 

HB 1744 - Modify Water Funding Priorities passed the House and is now scheduled in a Senate committee on Tuesday, June 15th.  HB 1746 - Water Infrastructure Database/Taskforce was amended with NCLM language, passed out of the House Water Resources committee, and now is in the House Environment committee.

Two bills to pay attention to include HB 1765 - Amend IBT Enforcement and Notice, which would shift costs for notice and public hearings for IBTs (IBT – Interbasin Transfer)  from the state to the local water system, and SB 1170 - Improve River Basin Modeling, which would direct DENR to develop models for river basins with certain definitions that could pose problems to local water systems attempting to acquire permits and withdraw water.

ACTION: Based on the recommendation of our Technical Advisory Committee and the League Core Principles, NCLM opposes HB 1765 - Amend IBT Enforcement and Notice, unless language can be added to make the requirements for notice and public hearing less expensive and onerous. Please call your legislators and let them know you do not support the notice provisions in HB 1765 as currently written.

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)
  • Local Government Other Post Employment Benefits (SB 1212)
  • 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

TOWN HALL DAY!!  JUNE 16, 2010---SEE YOU IN RALEIGH!

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, and are quick and to the point.  And, we are happy to answer your questions.  Email LeagueLINC@nclm.org to participate.

 

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