After in-depth study, a legislative subcommittee this week recommended against mandating body cameras statewide and proposed instead to leave that discretion to each law enforcement agency.
The subcommittee’s recommended legislation would also clarify important issues with the disclosure and retention of body-worn camera recordings, determining that they are not a public record nor should they be treated as records of criminal investigations. Instead, the legislation would direct the head law enforcement officer of an agency to determine if statutory criteria regarding disclosure had been met. Additionally, the legislation would allow the head law enforcement officer to determine if a recording should be deemed a personnel record. The suggested legislation also addresses length of record retention.
The bill language also directs the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission to develop best practices for the use of body-worn cameras and report back to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety by December 1, 2016. Read more here. Contact: Sarah Collins
Register now to attend Town Hall Day 2016. Scheduled for June 8, Town Hall Day is the premier opportunity for League members to visit legislators and make known their views on issues important to municipalities. It represents the best chance to show strength in numbers and draw attention to the many serious legislative issues facing cities and towns.
Town Hall Day will include:
Nothing can replace the positive impact of in-person conversation on legislators’ votes. More than 400 municipal officials had their say at last year’s Town Hall Day, which generated plenty of media coverage as well. Make sure you don’t miss this year’s opportunity. Click here to register.
The fate of the state’s electronics recycling program will get further study. The Environmental Review Commission (ERC) discussed a N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) report on Wednesday regarding the state's recycling requirements for discarded computer equipment and televisions, ultimately deciding to study the topic further and report recommendations to the 2017 legislature.
The study was the result of a 2015 proposal that would have eliminated the recycling fees paid by certain electronics producers, but would have kept in place the ban on electronics going to a landfill, foisting the cost of recycling onto municipal and county taxpayers. DEQ’s study report recommended instead that the entire electronic recycling program be repealed, finding that local governments are directly bearing high electronics recycling costs because producer support is inadequate to meet the high costs. This elimination of the manufacturer fee coupled with a removal of the landfill ban would mitigate the concern of costs being transferred to local governments.
Legislation from 2015 also gave ERC the discretion to study utility piping preference. That's after proposed legislation that would have restricted municipalities in their choices for water, sewer and stormwater piping materials did not move. However, no study was conducted in the interim. Instead, the issue was on the committee’s agenda Wednesday as a discussion item. Many legislators said it was not an issue in need of legislation and opined that the legislature should not tell local engineers and system managers how to do their jobs because these professionals know what materials work best for their utility systems. The League thanks Reps. Mike Hager, Pat McElraft, and Larry Yarborough for their comments.
The ERC also took action to recommend legislation, including the following topics of interest to municipal utilities:
This recommended legislation may be considered in the short session. Contact: Sarah Collins
The Storm Water Association of North Carolina (SWANC), a League affiliate organization, invited legislators serving on the Environmental Review Commission and legislative staff to a stormwater educational tour this week. The event was an opportunity to learn about SWANC and stormwater management policies in North Carolina.
Reps. Bob Steinburg and Larry Yarborough along with legislative staff join SWANC on a tour of stormwater devices at N.C. State University.
SWANC exists to foster professional stormwater management in North Carolina through influencing state policy and building networks between stormwater professionals and state policy experts. Membership is open to any municipality as well as private organizations. Email SWANC for more information.
SWANC extends its sincere thanks to the legislators and staff who participated and to Dr. Bill Hunt of NCSU for leading such a great event!
City of Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath addressed the Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee on Thursday regarding urban search and rescue teams in North Carolina and said there may be a role for state funding. There are currently seven teams in the state, with Raleigh and Charlotte hosting 80-member "type I" teams and the remainder of the teams being smaller "type II" units of up to 40 members. The teams act beyond their host unit geographies, with Urban Search & Rescue Teams in recent years providing aid in the case of hurricanes and tornadoes, structural collapses and floods, among other events. Chief McGrath, speaking on behalf of the state's teams, proposed that given the teams' regional nature, there may be a role for state funding to help share the cost of the teams with the host agencies. Chief McGrath's entire presentation to the committee can be viewed here.