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League Bulletin

August 24, 2018

WHAT HAPPENED: Following a lawsuit from Gov. Roy Cooper, a panel of judges blocked two of the six constitutional amendment proposals from the November ballot, arguing the ballot language would mislead voters about their impact if approved.
WHAT IT MEANS: The General Assembly is back in Raleigh to address the ballot language, acting on an option the court gave legislative leaders to "correct" the language. The two proposed amendments in question would move some of the governor's valued appointment authority to the General Assembly. 
ON TAP: Lawmakers will be in back in session Friday and Monday to sort it out, according to media reports. Those reports also point out that the proclamation calling lawmakers back into session does not limit what business they may address. Leaders later said the session will focus exclusively on the amendments.
THE SKINNY: It's just about time to print out the ballots for early voting, and legislative officials including Senate leader Phil Berger say this session's focus on language adjustments in compliance with the court order is in meant to get that process going and minimize any voter confusion.

The deadline is now! Pre-register today for CityVision 2018, coming up Sept. 19-21 in Hickory. CityVision 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. State Attorney General Josh Stein is also on the agenda to discuss the scourge of opioid abuse and how communities can fight back. The annual conference also is where members elect officers and make any constitutional or bylaw changes. Pre-registration ends Friday, Aug. 24, so REGISTER NOW​ to avoid increased walk-in registration fees.

The League is seeking local leaders to serve on its newly-created Broadband Task Force. Members of this group will serve as strategic advisors and ambassadors for changing state broadband policies to clearly allow local governments to build broadband infrastructure. If you are interested in becoming a task force member, please email League Legislative Counsel Erin Wynia​.

All 100 counties charted visitor spending increases in 2017, according to new numbers from the N.C. Department of Commerce that showed an overall record level. The agency put out a press release this week that reported $23.99 billion spent by domestic visitors statewide last year, rising 4.2 percent over the 2016 total. State tax receipts hit $1.2 billion and local tax revenues $738.6 billion in 2017. The activity directly supported 225,700 jobs and beyond $6 billion in payroll income within North Carolina.
“The continued growth in visitor spending is great for communities across our entire state," said Visit NC Executive Director Wit Tuttell. "North Carolina’s continued position as the sixth most-visited state in the nation with more than 46 million visitors in 2017 reinforces its status as a premier tourism destination.” The challenges of maintaining a robust tourism town in North Carolina received close focus recently in a live episode of the League's podcast, Municipal Equation​.

An interim House committee examining current challenges faced by public sector water and sewer systems resumed its work Wednesday. The committee, which met twice earlier this year, continued its charge by learning more about the tools that local governments in North Carolina​ currently have to cooperate more closely in running their systems. At the meeting, UNC School of Government faculty members Norma Houston and Jeff Hughes briefed the committee on models utilized across the state for regional cooperation, including forming regional entities, such as water and sewer authorities, or entering into interlocal agreements. As to next steps, while committee co-chair Rep. Chuck McGrady stated that he had no firm vision of the direction the committee’s recommendations might take, he hoped they would focus on ways to assist systems that faced financial difficulties, as well as ways to assure clean water. Representative McGrady mentioned that a stakeholder group—on which the League has participated—would bring recommendations back to the committee for its consideration at its next meeting, likely to take place in late September. Contact: Erin Wynia​

The State of North Carolina provided funds to the Golden LEAF Foundation to make grants to units of local government and 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organizations that serve the people of North Carolina working to recover from Hurricane Matthew, the western wildfires, Tropical Storm Julia or Tropical Storm Hermine. Click here for the application forms and requirements. After all forms are completed, email them to
Also, the N.C. Department of Commerce on Thursday put out a reminder about the availability of up to $11.3 million in forgivable loans for small businesses in communities marred by 2016's most infamous storm in North Carolina. "Helping small businesses hurt by Hurricane Matthew rebuild and grow is an important step in restoring the economic vitality of the communities hit hardest by the storm,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland in a press release. “While many North Carolina businesses have gotten help to recover, others may not know help is available and we encourage them to apply for these forgivable loans today.” Click here to learn more.