Other bills with movement this week include SB 553 Regulatory Reform Act of 2019, which this Bulletin has followed in recent months in part for a no-longer-included provision that would have repealed the statewide ban on computers and TVs entering landfills. With that proposal removed, the bill this week passed the Senate and went over to the House for consideration. Meanwhile, SB 381 Reconstitute/Clarify Boards and Commissions received final approval this week from the General Assembly and went to the governor's desk for signing. In addition to making corrections to a variety of boards and commissions to address unconstitutionally appointed membership, it adds to the list of purposes for which Clean Water Management Trust Fund money can be used, including some related to stormwater. SB 315 North Carolina Farm Act of 2019 moved through two committees this week. The bill covers all kinds of agricultural matters, including hog farms, the hemp business and other topics legislators have debated. It additionally contains a provision to allow signs that advertise bona fide farms to be placed within 660 feet of the nearest edge of interstate or state primary highways, subject to certain conditions. The bill would also create a process by which landowners whose land is burdened by a utility easement (including easements for water and wastewater systems) can petition for termination of the easement. The bill is on the full Senate's floor-vote calendar for Monday. You can follow the progress of these and other bills of interest to cities and towns in our online bill tracker.
The dispensing of opioids has declined since the 2017 launch of the Opioid Action Plan, a state response to the crisis of opioid addiction and related deaths. That's according a press release that Gov. Roy Cooper's office issued this week that unveiled the “Opioid Action Plan 2.0” for continued work. "Since the plan was launched in 2017, opioid dispensing has decreased by 24%," according to the release. "Prescriptions for drugs used to treat opioid use disorders increased by 15% in that time frame, and opioid use disorder treatment specifically for uninsured and Medicaid beneficiaries is up by 20%. There were nearly 10% fewer emergency department visits for opioid overdoses in 2018 than in 2017." The state has received more than $54 million in federal funds that have helped to treat more than 12,000 people dealing with substance-use disorders, according to the update. "The numbers show the progress, but it’s the stories that paint a picture,” said Governor Cooper. “Too many families and their loved ones are still suffering, and we must do more." Read more statistics and learn about the updated plan online. Information for municipalities looking for ways to combat local opioid abuses, including a video series featuring police chiefs, is found at nclm.org/opioidsolutions.
We're out with the latest edition of Southern City, the League's quarterly magazine, this time connecting you with the backgrounds and values of Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler and, in a separate piece, Rep. Holly Grange of Wilmington. For Mayor Neisler, it's the story of his roots -- he's got at least two Kings Mountain mayors in his ancestry, including his great-great grandfather, the town's first mayor -- and the myriad ways he's stayed connected with the spirit and vision of his community. For Representative Grange, it's a sit-down Q&A that brings out details of her legislative service and military background, notably as a graduate of West Point not long after the school began admitting women. Other focuses in this edition include a project in Hudson connecting arts and business, cyber security for municipalities, an initiative to bring younger staffers into local government in North Carolina, and much more. Head to nclm.org/southerncity for the latest issue and all past.