The National League of Cities' (NLC) City Summit is just ahead in Charlotte -- Nov. 15-18 -- and North Carolina officials can register for as low as $99 (one-day rate). City Summit brings together leaders from cities and towns of all sizes. This year's conference is expected to draw more than 3,500 local elected officials, municipal staff, and local government experts for a four-day event to learn, network, and discover solutions that will strengthen America's cities and towns. Rates for attendance:
Women are the majority of the United States, but only a slice of government leadership. On this episode of Municipal Equation, we talk with women -- including some League members -- working to turn the dial with research, myth-busting, confidence-building and a business case. (Tai chi, too.) We hear from the heads of the national League of Women in Government; Morrisville Council Member Liz Johnson, the president of N.C. Women in Municipal Government; futurist Rebecca Ryan; and other local government officials who see positive trends but a lot of work to do. Oh, but first, we have to check in with a mayor -- Clayton's Jody McLeod -- and his mother, who just made a splash on national TV. Municipal Equation is the League's biweekly podcast about cities and towns in changing times and can be subscribed to on iTunes, Google Play, and most audio streaming apps. All episodes are found at soundcloud.com/municipalequation. If your town has a great story to tell, reach out to host/producer Ben Brown.
The state's film grant program has new life per a bill Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law this week. "In particular, it lifts the sunset on the film grant program," the governor said of SB 582 Budget & Agency Technical Corrections, which also addresses a variety of other spending and departmental matters. "The film industry creates jobs in North Carolina and we need to do more to bring certainty for the companies that come to our state." Wilmington Regional Film Commission Director Johnny Griffin told the StarNews newspaper that the change brings North Carolina's film grant program functionally closer to Georgia's. The publication also quoted Rep. Holly Grange of Wilmington that the change reassures productions that were considering North Carolina but were hesitant due to the sunset. The N.C. Film Office is spreading word as well. "This funding, now labeled recurring in the budget, coupled with the recent elimination of the program's sunset date, demonstrates North Carolina’s long-term commitment to the film and entertainment industry."
In other legislative news this week, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed SB 656 Electoral Freedom Act of 2017. The bill sought, among other things, to change the definition of "political party" by reducing the number of signatures needed to form a new one and for unaffiliated candidates to get ballot access eligibility. It also eliminated judicial primaries for the 2018 general election, with which the governor took issue in his veto message. He explains further in a press release.
The Insider State Government News Service noted also this week that the House removed three veto overrides from its calendar and sent them to its Rules Commttee. The vetoes in question included a bill concerning legal notices in newspapers. The removals came per a previously announced plan to hold only no-vote skeletal sessions for the moment, though the publication reported on Friday the possibility of the legislature returning in the coming week for an override session. All veto-related actions are listed on the legislature's website.
The National League of Cities issues the following message to local government officials:
As the tax reform debate heats up in Washington, federal leaders continue to target the state and local tax (SALT) deduction as a way to pay for tax cuts. Compromises to limit or restrict SALT have been proposed to gain votes, but we cannot give in to partial hits to cities. Local leaders must continue to stand up and tell Congress that cities and families cannot afford to pay for tax reform.
From Oct. 16–20, members of Congress will return home for a week in their districts, giving you the perfect opportunity to meet with your member of Congress and district director to show your support for SALT and tax-exempt municipal bonds.
Click here for facts about SALT and its importance.
The next joint meeting between League members and Duke Energy to discuss issues surrounding the modernization of municipal street lighting will take place on Oct. 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Duke Energy Offices in Raleigh, 410 S. Wilmington St. Register now for this meeting, which will serve as a continuation of discussions that began after the League, in 2013, intervened in the Duke Energy Carolinas rate case before the North Carolina Utilities Commission. It’s an opportunity for Duke to check in with municipal customers to discuss outdoor lighting strategies, its upcoming rate cases, and other initiatives. In addition, League Legislative Counsel Erin Wynia will give a presentation on local regulation of small cell wireless systems. Click here for the full agenda. Contact: Sarah Collins.
There is still time to apply to serve on one of the League's policy committees, which is a great way to get involved in the advocacy efforts that benefit all cities and towns. The deadline to fill out an interest form is Nov. 18. You can return the form to Public & Government Affairs Coordinator Karen Waddell. The Legislative Action Committees and Regulatory Action Committee serve a crucial role in developing League priorities and in making the needs of cities and towns known to state and federal policymakers. Get involved today!