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League Bulletin

September 6, 2019

​WHAT HAPPENED: A clock started ticking for the General Assembly to redraw state legislative district maps after a Superior Court panel found the latest ones unconstitutional​ for being too partisan. Senate leader Phil Berger has indicated the state won't appeal. "Nearly a decade of relentless litigation has strained the legitimacy of this state's institutions, and the relationship between its leaders, to the breaking point. It's time to move on," he said in coverage from the Raleigh News & Observer
WHAT IT MEANS: The court on Tuesday gave the legislature two weeks to come up with something new, so it might be a full-court press as, meanwhile, lawmakers keep focus on those "mini" budget bills to program funding amid the ongoing budget impasse between the governor and General Assembly leaders. It all follows a small pause in attention as communities prepped for an incoming hurricane. 
ON TAP:  Redistricting committee meetings are already set for Monday, though an agenda wasn't available as of this writing. The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday and may deal with funding bills. 
THE SKINNY: The General Assembly has until Sept. 18 to submit new maps, possibly taking focus off other priorities as observers' conversations continue to shift on when the 2019 session will close. 

While much of North Carolina prepared for a blow from Hurricane Dorian, its island communities were on mandatory orders to evacuate -- though those orders will be lifted when safe to do so, according to the governor's office. Dorian's effects came in around Wednesday and made landfall at the Outer Banks on Friday as a Category 1, delivering that area a hard fare of flooding and other damage, according to news reports. On Friday, WRAL reported that floodwaters had surged into homes on the Outer Banks, forcing ride-it-out residents to seek higher elevations like attics​. Otherwise, tolls varied community to community -- some experiencing tornado encounters as well -- and​ many reporting better-than-feared outcomes. "It was a welcome contrast to last year’s experience with Hurricane Florence, which took down countless trees and left residents without power for days," the Wilmington StarNews reported. While power outages were in the hundreds of thousands around the state's storm-affected areas, those numbers were dropping as Dorian moved on, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. The storm was expected to clear from the state Friday afternoon.
A spokesman from Gov. Roy Cooper's office said Executive Order 104​ -- the one ordering island evacuations -- will be rescinded "once the entire state is out of harm's way from Hurricane Dorian," though local governments can go ahead and lift evacuation orders whenever they feel it's safe. The governor's office is asking local governments to keep in touch and listen for state announcements about the storm. 

The League is here to help your municipality’s claims related to Hurricane Dorian. Questions can be directed to or 919-715-4000. Our online claims portal is at

​Gov. Roy Cooper has signed SB 574 Study Establish Gaming Commission/Sports Betting​ into law -- though after the removal of a proposal to study whether a state gaming commission should regulate internet sweepstakes operations. This session law directs the State Lottery Commission to conduct numerous studies, including of gaming activities that are currently prohibited, the feasibility of sports betting, on-site betting at horse steeplechases, and the creation of a gaming commission. The bill went through a series of amendments before failing concurrence in the Senate and having conferees appointed for a compromise version. 
For background, in April, HB 929 Gaming Commission was filed with language that would have established a nine-member N.C. Gaming Commission to oversee all operations of gaming within the state. The bill would have directed that commission to study various things including sports betting and video lottery terminals within the state. It also would have examined potential revenues and expenditures if the activity was authorized within the state and determine if gambling losses should be eligible for deductions of state income tax filings.
The governor also signed a bill to implement Marsy's Law, with SB 682 Implement Crime Victims' Rights Amendment​. In addition to expanding the rights of crime victims, this law, passed as a constitutional amendment, will require law enforcement to provide information to victims on their rights on a form created by the Conference of District Attorneys. More info on the governor's bill signings is on the General Assembly's website. He has cleared his desk of pending bills for now. 

Municipal Equation -- the League's nationally acclaimed podcast about cities and towns adapting in the face of change -- is back, with a strange question: What could, say, aliens and flying saucers mean to a community and its government? Asking seriously. Whether you believe we've actually been visited by interplanetary travelers or whether simple, Earthly explanations satisfy the sightings and stories, no community has a stronger association with extraterrestrials and UFOs than Roswell, New Mexico. On this new episode​, we look at what that means from a community and economic-development angle. Yes, really. We're joined by a ufologist and one of the world's foremost experts on what's called "the Roswell Incident" and by a spokesperson of Roswell's local government. Ultimately it's about embracing your community's story and taking it to intergalactic levels.