Same date; new time. The League's Government Affairs staff will lead a legislative session preview webinar on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 11 a.m.-noon (one hour later than previously scheduled). Sign up here for this free webinar -- your inside angle on what may be in store at the 2017 General Assembly, which will begin in earnest on Wednesday. Hear about anticipated legislation that may affect cities and towns, and learn what you can do to push the top priorities of municipalities across the state. During the webinar, you will be able to submit questions to League staff using the webinar's chat feature. For registration questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Karen Waddell, Government Affairs Coordinator, at (919) 715-0950 or email@example.com with any other questions.
It's ahead -- Town Hall Day 2017. Join the League in Raleigh on March 29 for the best way to discuss with state policymakers how cities and towns of all sizes are contributing to North Carolina's economy and serving the citizenry. Register today to make sure your community is represented. The first 150 attendees to sign up will receive FREE registration.
Town Hall Day -- the League's signature advocacy event --balances informative advocacy training and sessions with networking opportunities to maximize your time in Raleigh. The morning is reserved for one-on-one meetings at the Legislative Building, while the afternoon allows for flexibility -- additional meetings with legislators, observing of legislative sessions, forums with executive cabinet officials, and an evening reception. Don't miss this chance to share your town's success stories and establish meaningful relationships with your elected officials.
Click here for a video recap of 2016's Town Hall Day, which hundreds of municipal officials attended.
Click here to register now.
Sen. Berger and Rep. Moore
General Assembly leaders this week announced a number of legislative committee assignments that senior and rank-and-file lawmakers are to serve in the session days ahead. On Wednesday, Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden released the latest round of names for the chamber's various budget-shaping committees, including the Appropriations/Base Budget Committee that Sens. Harry Brown of Jacksonville, Brent Jackson of Autryville and Kathy Harrington of Gastonia will continue to lead. Click here for the full list. Senator Berger also announced appointees to the chamber's committees on State and Local Government, Education, Finance, Health Care, and Transportation. (Prior, he detailed the committees on Rules, Judiciary, Commerce, and Agriculture.) House Speaker Tim Moore of Kings Mountain announced committee chairs for his chamber this week. Its main budget committee will again include Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary as senior chairman, with co-chairs Reps. Dean Arp of Monroe, Linda Johnson of Kannapolis, Donny Lambeth of Winston-Salem, and Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville. Complete committee information is always found on the General Assembly's website under the "Committees" tab.
Before next Friday, Jan. 27, please ask the appropriate staff member in your community to complete a short, four-question survey on your local wireless siting process. This survey will help staff at the League and the National League of Cities (NLC) respond more completely to a pending petition at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -- filed by infrastructure company Mobilitie -- regarding local government rules and procedures for siting wireless communications facilities. It will also help shape responses to a related FCC public notice that seeks comment on how to streamline the deployment of small wireless facilities, primarily through potential changes to local land use ordinances.
The public notice raises several major concerns for cities. First, the FCC wishes to use this proceeding to reexamine the facts of the decisions made in its 2009 and 2014 rulemakings on local wireless facilities siting, questioning whether the evidence presented by local governments during those proceedings is still valid. Specifically, the notice questions the amount of time needed by local governments to process wireless siting applications for small-cell facilities, particularly when submitted in large quantities. The notice also requests feedback on streamlining local regulations when similar applications are submitted as batches. And finally, the notice questions the amount and structure of fees charged by local governments for applications and access to rights-of-way.
The League has worked collaboratively with the wireless industry on educating local government officials regarding the new small-cell wireless technology, including jointly hosting a small-cell wireless forum in October (view the entire forum here). Quickly becoming the industry standard, small-cell facilities typically attach to existing public buildings, infrastructure in the public right of way like streetlights or electric distribution poles, or new monopoles. This latest technology allows wireless carriers to meet surges in demand in highly-trafficked areas, such as busy street intersections or sports stadiums. In the future, it may also address gaps in coverage in more rural areas where traditional cell tower signals cannot reach.
The League intends to participate in these comment opportunities at the FCC, joining many local government voices including NLC. To ensure cities have time to provide an informed response, NLC successfully filed a joint motion for an extension of the comment period. The revised comment deadline is now March 8, with a reply comment deadline of April 7. Thank you for completing the short survey, and please share additional thoughts or concerns with League Legislative Counsel Erin Wynia.
Municipal Equation, the League's biweekly podcast, is back with new episodes for 2017. Click here for the latest episode, on which we wonder: Are we catching up to pop-fiction's futuristic portrayal of DNA in crimesolving? How about a technology that can sketch up a suspect's possible likeness based solely on a sample of his or her DNA? The Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) is one of just a few local law enforcement agencies in the U.S. openly using such a tool. Applying it to a decade-old, unsolved local case of a serial rapist, the FPD is catching new tips after releasing facial renderings based on analysis of the perpetrator's DNA -- a potentially important development, as victims didn't get a clear look at him and could only give authorities limited descriptions.
FPD says it's using this innovation cautiously but wants to show the public that the department is willing to try cutting-edge techniques to bring about justice. And since rolling it out, the department is getting new leads and redeveloping public involvement in the case. Hear how it works on this episode. Municipal Equation is available for free streaming here. It's also on iTunes and Google Play along with many podcast streaming apps. Have an idea for an episode? Contact host/producer Ben Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online at herewegrownc.org
At this point, it's no secret that Here We Grow is the best clearinghouse of municipal economic development success stories in North Carolina. But have you tried Here We Grow's members-only toolkit? If you're a League-member municipality, you can obtain a Here We Grow login for FREE, add your town's story and utilize excellent, customizable resources. Use them to share the importance of your role in economic development with important stakeholders. These resources include a video that highlights business success stories from across the state and a presentation that provides an easy-to-use framework for talking about the essential role North Carolina's cities and towns -- and yours in particular -- play in generating businesses and jobs. Log in now and explore.
Haven't signed up yet? It's easy. Simply email email@example.com, and if you're a League-member municipality, we'll set you up. Get a quick win by adding your story to our statewide map of local economic development, which shows the collective value of municipal efforts. Has your city or town made or facilitated investments to attract new businesses, encourage retail expansion or create good-paying local jobs? Tell us that story. We'll make sure it's featured in our ongoing campaign. Need inspiration? Check out this story from the City of Goldsboro, whose intentional efforts have led to "A Downtown Revival."
Rep. Susi Hamilton
Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday named state Rep. Susi Hamilton of Wilmington to head up cabinet agency the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Representative Hamilton, a Democrat whose district covers portions of New Hanover and Brunswick counties, had just begun her fourth term in the General Assembly when Thursday's announcement came. "She shares my belief that our history, natural resources and strong arts traditions are critical to our economy and worth celebrating," Governor Cooper said. His cabinet appointments require Senate confirmation.
Representative Hamilton's past roles include years as executive director of Wilmington Downtown Inc. As a legislator, she was vocal member of the bipartisan crowd supporting the state's tax credits for the film industry and the revitalization of historic properties. Click here for media coverage. Governor Cooper named former Environmental Protection Agency chief of staff Reid Wilson as the state agency's deputy secretary.
The deadline is Monday, Jan. 23, for individuals affected by Hurricane Matthew to apply for federal assistance. It follows an extension granted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as North Carolinians continue to struggle in the major storm's aftermath. Click here for more details and here for media coverage.