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League Bulletin

October 30, 2015

Gov. Pat McCrory this week signed into law a bill focused on enforcement of immigration laws that prohibits municipalities from accepting local identification cards for identification purposes. On another key issue for cities, HB 318 Protect North Carolina Workers Act largely keeps intact the concessions won last year regarding E-Verify requirements for cities when making purchases.

The legislation -- some of it aimed at preventing so-called sanctuary city policies -- has been controversial as a handful of North Carolina local governments had adopted procedures or ordinances aimed primarily at encouraging cooperation with law enforcement by prohibiting immigration status checks for victims and witnesses to crimes. Greensboro had been accepting a locally-produced identification card and Charlotte City Council members also had discussed supporting their creation. The new North Carolina law prohibits any city or county from having any policy, ordinance or procedure that has the effect of restricting the enforcement of federal immigration law.

With the signing of HB 318, 11 bills remained on Thursday night for Governor McCrory to act on. Those 11 would have few effects on municipalities. The governor had until midnight tonight to act, either signing the bills into law, vetoing them or allowing them to become law without his signature. Read earlier League coverage about HB 318 here. Read media coverage here and here.

In the wake of the longest legislative session in a decade, a Raleigh legislator has formed a committee of well-known North Carolinians to push for limits on the length of legislative sessions. Rep. Gary Pendleton says the long, undetermined schedule of the North Carolina legislature makes House and Senate seats unattractive to younger people who must make a living. Next year, he plans to introduce a bill calling for a constitutional amendment to limit sessions to 90 days in odd-numbered years and 45 days in even-numbered years. The committee that he has formed to promote the idea includes former state Attorney General Rufus Edmisten, former state Board of Education chair and NC Chamber head Phil Kirk, and former state Chief Justice Burley Mitchell. See media coverage about the effort here.

The General Assembly is likely to see significant turnover again in 2017 as more legislators announce they will not seek re-election. Rep. James Langdon of Johnston County, a six-term legislator who has been chair of the House Agriculture Committee, is the latest state lawmaker to decide not to seek another term. He joins Reps. Nathan Baskerville of Henderson, Leo Daughtry of Smithfield, Paul Tine of Kitty Hawk and Paul "Skip" Stam of Apex as legislators who have announced recently that they will not run for re-election.

Langdon's departure sets up an election battle between the chair of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners, Tony Braswell, and the chair of the Johnston County Board of Education, Larry Strickland, both of whom have announced that they will run for the GOP nomination for the seat. Meanwhile, Wake County school board member Susan Evans has announced that she will seek the Senate seat held by Sen. Tamara Barringer. Ron Elmer, a Cary accountant and financial planner, also has announced that he will make another run for state treasurer.

Rep. Bryan Holloway of Stokes County has resigned his House seat to become a lobbyist representing the N.C. School Boards Association.  Representative Holloway has been a primary education budget-writer for the House and is a former social studies teacher. The League thanks Representative Holloway for his service and congratulates him on his new position. 

The City of Wilson has been awarded a $10 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant. The grant, announced by U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, will be used for a project intended to make pedestrian traffic safer and to encourage business investment. The scope of the project includes intersection improvements, medians, sidewalks, walking paths and drainage. The City of Wilson will contribute $3 million toward the project. 

In making the announcement, Congressman Butterfield praised the Wilson city staff for working to put together an application that demonstrated the need for the project. The $10 million is part of $500 million in competitive TIGER grants being awarded nationwide. Read media coverage about the grant award here.

The state Department of Commerce has designated Laurinburg and Reidsville as N.C. Certified Retirement Communities. The program, designed to demonstrate a quality of life desirable to retirees, was established in 2008. To gain the certification, a municipality must go through a process that shows its readiness for retirees and that it has amenities attractive to them.
Former state Sen. Steve Goss of Boone has died after battling cancer. Goss served two terms in the Senate from 2007 to 2010. He was a Baptist minister whose career also included time as a high school teacher and football coach. The League sends it condolences to his family.