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League Bulletin

August 3, 2018

WHAT HAPPENED: A pair of vetoes from Gov. Roy Cooper hung over Jones Street as the extra session of the General Assembly continued.
WHAT IT MEANS: One of the bills in question took control of how the six constitutional amendment proposals will appear before voters on the ballot this fall; the other dealt with party affiliation disclosure on the ballot's judicial races. Governor Cooper deemed both bills politically slanted and poised to mislead voters in Republicans' favor, claims that legislative leaders​ roundly disputed.
ON TAP: A Saturday convening of the legislature is set to override the governor's vetoes and put the bills into law.
THE SKINNY: Governor Cooper's vetoes were never likely to stick, as the ballot bills in question were among core reasons why the legislature -- with a Republican supermajority -- called its extra session to begin with. Read on for the details. 

There's no reason to delay. CityVision 2018 pre-registration is open, but for a limited time. CityVision, in Hickory on Sept. 19-21, is the League's premier event full of engaging keynote speakers and informative sessions that will give you the tools you need to face the 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.
This is 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. Pre-registration ends Friday, Aug. 24, so register early​​​ to avoid increased walk-in registration fees. 

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Saturday on whether to override two vetoes stamped by Gov. Roy Cooper. The bills in question, passed quickly in an ongoing extra session of the General Assembly, affect the ballot that will go before voters in November. One bill, HB 3​, sets how captions to six constitutional amendment proposals (as reported in last week's Bulletin) are worded. Per the bill, only the phrase "Constitutional Amendment" will appear on the ballot before each question to voters, superceding a process that was otherwise playing out with a state commission tasked with writing short captions for the amendments. (Two of that commission's three members are elected Democrats, which had led to discussion in the Republican caucuses that the commission would inject political strategy in the captions' wording.) The other bill, SB 3, makes sure a judicial candidate is represented on the ballot with the party affiliation that candidate had 90 days prior to filing. Media outlets note that the​ bill appears to be in response to an individual candidate who had semi-recently changed his affiliation to Republican, leading lawmakers to question his sincerity. If the legislature overrides the veto and puts the bill into law, that candidate won't have an R next to his name on the ballot. The same 90-day rule applies to many other offices.
Governor Cooper explained his vetoes in a statement​ this past Friday, essentially saying HB 3 clouds voters from any clarifying language about the constitutional amendments and their effects if passed. He said SB 3 among other things is wrong to change the rules for candidates who have already filed and that it rigs a race underway. Legislative leaders including House Speaker Tim Moore shot back soonafter, arguing the "Constitutional Amendment" captioning simpilifies things for voters and that applying the 90-day rule to judicial candidates is a conforming change. “We will override these vetoes to deliver clear and consistent voter information on ballots this November," Speaker Moore said. Saturday's session is scheduled for 11 a.m. in both chambers. In other news, Senate Rules Chairman Bill Rabon on Thursday filed a sine die adjournment resolution.

State Treasurer Dale Folwell is reporting overall gains of 7.3 percent for fiscal year 2017-18 in the state pension fund, though with a 1.3 percent increase in earnings to date. That's according to a press release​ his office issued Thursday. “For the first six months of 2018, the plan has paid out over $3 billion in benefits, $300 million in Wall Street fees while earnings were essentially flat,” Treasurer Folwell said. “Additionally, the twenty-year average of 6.1 percent misses the assumed rate of return by almost an entire percentage point.” The release breaks it down with details and highlights. 

Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday issued an executive order for the state to apply for $25 million in federal funds to fight the opioid epidemic here. “We must do even more to fight the opioid crisis in North Carolina and these grants would help us make critical progress to prevent and treat opioid addiction and save lives," the governor said. Under the order, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services will seek $22 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's grant program for prevention, treatment and recovery help for 5,000 or more North Carolinians. The state agency would also apply for $3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for enhanced tracking and reporting of overdose data so the state can better strategize. A press release about the executive order provides more detail.

More and more towns are joining Here We Grow, our statewide economic development storytelling campaign that shows municipalities' collective value to North Carolina. The latest additions, among others to come, to this 100 percent free resource include Greenville and Wake Forest -- each detailing how investments and collaborations from city hall are sparking better business growth and quality of life. In Greenville​, the story highlights a transformative road project with public and private partners and enthusiasm about the new connectivity their efforts will afford the growing city. "If Greenville means business, we must work with our partners on economic development," said Mayor P.J. Connelly. In Wak​e Forest, it's a solid narrative about strategic investments sparking a "renaissance" downtown. “The Town has ... done a great job planning and investing in the public infrastructure throughout the downtown area," a private developer says of Wake Forest.
Add your story to Here We Grow to bring more attention to your town's investments and partnerships and bring more attention to all other local investments. Every time a town joins the Here We Grow movement, a pin goes onto a virtual map showing the location. One glance at the map gives a strong impression of municipalities' collective value across the state -- but there's so much more to do. If your town hasn't joined Here We Grow, it's missing an amazing opportunity. Send an email to​ today to join.

The state Division of Coastal Management (DCM) is taking proposals from local governments in the 20 coastal counties for Planning and Management Grants for fiscal year 2019, according to a news release​. In total, $100,000 of matching funds is available, with a maximum of $20,000 per project. The deadline is Sept. 14. Projects focused on natural hazards and storm recovery will be prioritized. Read the press release for more information, including how to apply.