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League Bulletin

July 27, 2018

WHAT HAPPENED: The General Assembly convened an extra session in Raleigh after announcing plans to write short captions for constitutional amendment questions that will go before voters this fall.
WHAT IT MEANS: Legislative leaders backing the six proposed amendments said they were worried that a state commission tasked with writing the captions would politicize or slant the process, potentially hurting the amendments' chances of approval.
ON TAP: The proclamation for the extra session didn't limit what lawmakers might address, and a few bills on other topics have emerged. The extra session continues as of this writing. 
THE SKINNY: It's believed to be a quick round of business, but we'll know more next week on how this session will wrap up.

The General Assembly gaveled back to action on Tuesday. House and Senate leaders had collected enough signatures from lawmakers -- a three-fifths majority in the House and Senate, absent a proclamation from the governor -- to greenlight what is officially called the First Extra Session of 2018. At its core is concern from legislative leaders about how six constitutional amendment questions will appear to voters on the midterm ballot this fall. The topics: the right to hunt and fish​; more rights for victims in the legal process; changes to the state board that deals with elections and ethics enforcement; judicial vacancies; a new maximum income tax rate; and a photo ID requirement for voting​. While the legislature approved the ballot questions in the short session earlier this year, a state body called the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission is tasked with writing brief captions for those questions. House Speaker Tim Moore's office on Monday issued a statement expressing concern that opposition to the proposed amendments was "fueling political influence" on the commission, and that could affect how voters perceive the proposals. “The General Assembly already approved short titles of the constitutional amendments that accurately describe their impact and must prevent outside attempts to politicize what should be a quick and straightforward administrative process by the commission," Speaker Moore said. Two of the commission's three members are Democratic elected officials. 
The General Assembly swiftly approved legislation Tuesday to place only the phrase "Constitutional Amendment" on the ballot before each question to voters. It awaits a signature from Gov. Roy Cooper, who has a total of 10 days to decide whether he'll indeed sign it, let it become law without his signature or issue a veto. The legislature has the power to override vetoes. Additional bills have surfaced in this extra session, including a Senate bill now in the governor's hands dealing with party affiliation disclosure on the ballot in this year's judicial races. House and Senate members have also filed adjournment resolutions​

Get ready for CityVision 2018, the League's premier annual event! Join us for two days full of engaging keynote speakers and informative sessions that will give you the tools you need to face challenges in your hometowns head on. This year, CityVision will offer roundtable discussions following each general session to address shared challenges, connect with regional partners and engage in facilitated discussions to gain practical information that you can use immediately.
CityVision 2018 will be in Hickory and offer the best opportunity for municipal officials from around the state to dive deep into issues like broadband and technology, infrastructure, branding your municipality and, most of all, grants -- finding the money you need to prepare your municipality for tomorrow. 
The annual conference also is where members elect officers and make any constitutional or bylaw changes. We encourage you to join with fellow municipal officials from around the state and attend CityVision 2018! Don't miss this opportunity to better prepare for the challenges that lie ahead for all North Carolina cities and towns. Pre-registration ends Friday, Aug. 24, so register early​​ to avoid increased walk-in registration fees.

The deadline to submit proposals for 2018-19 Advocacy Goals is 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.

Gov. Roy Cooper's latest round of board appointments includes local government experience. Governor Cooper appointed Sanford Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Wyhof Salmon to the N.C. Oil and Gas Commission and Nags Head Council Member Renee Cahoon to the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission. The governor also appointed Newport Town Manager Angela Christian and Wilkesboro Utility Director Samuel Call to the N.C. Water Treatment Facility Operators Certification Board. The governor's office additionally this week announced a new web portal​ for applying to state boards and commissions. 

A brand new episode of Municipal Equation is ready for your ears. The setup: It's summer, and beach towns all along the coast each are surging with thousands and thousands of visitors from across the U.S. Take Atlantic Beach, N.C., for example. It has a year-round population of about 1,500, but in the summer months that number explodes exponentially. How in the world does such a small community -- with limited staffing and resources -- prepare for that? How can it provide adequate services, like police or even enough public water, amid outsize demand? What's the procedure when someone calls the authorities to report mysterious matter washing ashore? And did you know it's somebody's job there to make sure the beach is still there for tourists? Yes, literally. It's amazing how it all comes together, though the everyday public isn't always conscious of it. Let's think back to that classic summer vacation as we hear from a panel of experts in this special episode of Municipal Equation, recorded with a live audience in Atlantic Beach. With international listenership, Municipal Equation is the League's own podcast about cities and towns adapting in the face of change. Send feedback, thoughts or episode ideas to host/producer Ben Brown

Thirty-four local governments in North Carolina will benefit from $100.4 million in grants and loans for drinking water and wastewater projects. The State Water Infrastructure Authority announced the funds' approval Tuesday out of $176 million in requests received. “With North Carolina’s extensive water infrastructure needs, it is important to provide utilities with programs that make water infrastructure investments as affordable as possible,” Kim Colson, director of the state Department of Environmental Quality’s water infrastructure division, said in a press release with details​ about this round of funding and the next. It also notes an estimate of the total 20-year infrastructure needs for North Carolina: as much as $15 billion for drinking water systems and $11.1 billion for wastewater systems.