The N.C. General Assembly is scheduled to convene its 2016 “short session” on Monday for business that could last weeks or months. It makes now the right time to reach out to your local delegates so they're apprised of issues your town is facing. Short sessions are held in even-numbered years to follow up on matters – notably the state budget– from “long sessions” held in odd-numbered years. Short sessions come with restrictions on the kinds of legislation the General Assembly may consider. Generally allowed are bills dealing with spending, local acts, election law, redistricting, constitutional amendments, study committee recommendations and leftovers from the previous long session, among other categories. Click here for a wide-ranging list of 2015 bills still in play. But new ones are in store, too, with some of interest to the municipal sector. LINC’ed IN in recent weeks has reported on legislative proposals from study committees to address police body cameras, the economic tier system, municipal service districts, transportation, stormwater controls and drinking water standards among other possibilities. The deadline for lawmakers to file local bills is May 19, but they must have their proposals in at the bill drafting office by May 3. Click here for the full bill deadline list.
During the legislative session, you can still expect to receive all the latest news impacting North Carolina's cities and towns from the League every Friday. That email will be under the LeagueLINC Bulletin heading during session rather than the LINC'ed IN email you have been receiving for the past several months, but it will remain the only weekly wrap-up of the issues most important to all of North Carolina's municipalities. All of our updates will continue to be linked on the League's website as well.
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.
Left to right: NCLM Grassroots Initiative & Civic Engagement Associate Will Brooks, Association of Social Democratic Municipalities Secretary General Onur Eryuce, NCLM Director of Research and Policy Analysis Chris Nida, NCLM Legislative and Regulatory Counsel Sarah Collins. Photo credit: Ben Brown
Municipal and finance representatives from Turkey and Romania visited with League staff on Friday to learn about the organization’s promotion of good government and services to municipalities across the state. Turkey’s Onur Eryuce, secretary general of the Association of Social Democratic Municipalities, said his group formed roughly five years ago to build a dialogue between member municipalities in Turkey and European Union stakeholders, much like the League’s founding goal of developing a “cooperative approach to all municipal problems of statewide import.” Eryce said his group represents 122 municipalities that range in population from 30,000 to 4 million – in all about 15 million people. Eryuce, prior to visiting the League’s Raleigh offices, met with counterparts in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Miss., on a tour that will soon see him in San Francisco. He appraised the League and similar organizations as important for advancing common interests and sharing innovative ideas. “This is something wonderful,” he said. Eryce’s visit was complemented later in the day by a League conversation with Dan Manolescu of Bucharest, Romania, who like Eryce was on an engagement tour made possible by the Eisenhower Fellowships, which focuses on global collaboration.
Photo courtesy City of Wilson
Wilson is one of the best small U.S. cities in which to start a business. That’s according to research site WalletHub, which released a report this week that weighed factors like small business growth and office space affordability. Analysts looked at the “business-friendliness” of 1,268 small cities, defined as 25,000-100,000 in population. Wilson ranked 12th, with a strong rating in the “business costs” category that took into account office space, median income, corporate taxes and cost of living. Wilson came in just ahead of Irondequoit, N.Y., and behind Enid, Okla. Ranked best was Holland, Mich., home of the world’s largest pickle factory. The list lands just ahead of National Small Business Week, May 1-7, recognizing the contributions of entrepreneurs and small business owners in the U.S. Click here for the complete findings and here to learn more about what’s happening in Wilson in 2016. Meanwhile, Wilmington has landed on the American Lung Association’s new, national top-25 for cleanest air. In the breakdown, the Port City ranked first among “cleanest metropolitan areas in the country for 24-hour particle pollution.” Several other North Carolina cities, including Goldsboro, Asheville and Fayetteville, were on the association’s list of cleanest for short-term particle pollution. In other news, Raleigh and Charlotte scored spots on a new, national top-50 of “Best Cities for Millennials in America.”