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League Bulletin

June 29, 2018

WHAT HAPPENED: The General Assembly overrode vetoes, prepared constitutional amendment questions for the November ballot and handled other business in what was widely expected to be 2018's final week of legislating. 

WHAT IT MEANS: While lawmakers closed out the 2018 short session today, their adjournment resolution calls for a reconvening in late November. 

ON TAP: Not much else, seeing as lawmakers closed the books on regular business as of today.

THE SKINNY: The short session that began in May saw hundreds of bills filed and many put into law, including a $23.9 billion budget. Lawmakers left open-ended any business they could take up during the November reconvening, which would follow the General Election. That led critics to charge that the majority party was seeking one more bite at the apple, should they lose their supermajority, which would give Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes more staying power. 

The General Assembly finished its 2018 short session today (Friday) after a little more than a month of bill filing and lawmaking. The final week's biggest actions incuded debate and approvals of November ballot questions asking voters' permission to amend the North Carolina Constitution a few different ways. One proposes to place a voter ID requirement in the Constitution. Another would protect the right to hunt and fish. A third is focused on crime victims' rights in the legal process. A fourth would establish a Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement and give the legislature power over duties and appointments. A fifth would cap the state income tax rate at 7 percent (despite an earlier push for a 5.5 percent cap). North Carolina voters will approve or disapprove of each constitutional amendment proposal individually.
The legislature this week also demonstrated its veto-proof majority by putting into law a number of bills on which Gov. Roy Cooper had put the kibosh. They included H374 Regulatory Reform Act of 2018, HB 717 Judicial Elections Changes, SB 325 Uniform & Expanded Early Voting Act and SB 711 NC Farm Act of 2018. Other bills considered, but not on track for approval at the time of this writing, included HB 471 Felonious Gaming Machines​, which would clarify law on the felonious possession of such devices.
Short sessions come every even-numbered year as an opportunity for lawmakers to adjust the biennial budget they crafted the previous year and to move new legislation. This year's short session has been one of the shortest in many years, but it's not cut and cauterized. The adjournment resolution directs the chambers to reconvene Nov. 27 at noon, three weeks after the General Election. The resolution does not limit what kind of business the General Assembly may address at that time.

The League is accepting proposals for 2018-19 Advocacy Goals through Aug. 1. Discuss ideas with your municipal elected officials and staff, and click here to submit your ideas for advocacy goals. Every two years, you -- the cities and towns of North Carolina -- develop legislative and regulatory goals for the upcoming legislative biennium. These goals serve as the guide to the League's advocacy efforts here in Raleigh. More than that, they are a collective statement of the priorities of North Carolina municipalities, big and small, urban, suburban and rural. The process of setting the Municipal Advocacy Goals is an opportunity for each municipality to have a voice in telling state legislators and other state policymakers what is important to them.

The advocacy goals also propel us towards two of the Vision 2030 Operating Principles: (1) municipal governments exercise greater control of their revenues, structures and functions, and (2) municipal governments engage in productive partnerships with other levels of government and the private sector. 
Legislative and regulatory goals should include a clear ask, and should have an impact on municipal governments statewide. According to League bylaws, you must indicate on your goal proposal whether it was voted on and approved by your local council or board. Proposals will be considered by NCLM policy committees, the NCLM Board of Directors, and the entire membership during the Advocacy Goals Conference. The League may also request that you visit one of our policy committees​ to further explain your suggested goal, as a part of the goals selection process.
This is your policy process, so please give this thoughtful consideration and participate. Don’t miss this opportunity to submit your proposals by Aug. 1.

The League has released its latest Revenue Report examining state-collected local revenues received by local governments for the third quarter of fiscal year 2017-18. These reports provide a snapshot of quarterly trends in state-collected local revenues and supplement the League’s annual Revenue Projections memo, released in March. If you have any questions regarding the Revenue Reports or revenue projections, please contact League Research Strategist Caitlin Saunders.

On the latest episode of Municipal Equation, the League's podcast about cities and towns in the face of change, we take another look at autonomous vehicles and how they might impact our lives. Last year, we did a primer on autonomous vehicles and policy implications, but it seems like a lot can change in short time with this technology. What's the latest? How does the public feel about it? What are some example scenarios of how we as people might interact with autonomous vehicles in our day-to-day? Brooks Rainwater of the National League of Cities has the research and joins us to flesh it out. Access past episodes at Subscribe to Municipal Equation and send episode ideas or feedback to host/producer Ben Brown​.