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League Bulletin

November 22, 2019

​WHAT HAPPENED: First thing -- we've released an addendum to our End-of-Session Bulletin, or EOSB. You can click the hyperlinked title there or scroll to the headline below. You might recall the 66-page EOSB we released in September with in-depth yet digestible analyses of bills (whether passed into law or not) from the 2019 session of relevance to cities and towns and their collective advocacy goals. We continue that format for the 13-page addendum, catching up on what's happened at the General Assembly since. 
WHAT IT MEANS: The General Assembly has adjourned for the year, and an obvious conversation is the length of the session, whether we're counting the recent, extra convening and the upcoming January reconvening (ahead of the 2020 short session) or not. It means there's a lot to keep up with, but that's our job here. Other things in the newsfeed this week -- cyber resilience, redistricting, and what the governor did with the last remaining bills on his desk.
ON TAP: The holidays, which will come and go, and legislators will put their minds back to Raleigh, where they're scheduled to return Jan. 14. They may work on conference reports, veto overrides, and more. 
THE SKINNY: We hope the EOSB addendum​ provides a convenient wrap-up to session activity as we head into a holiday week and really fall into that end-of-year mentality. If you’re traveling next week, we hope you do so safely and find a nice break from the grind. 

​"The rest of the story," as Paul Harvey might’ve called it, is out with an addendum to our End-of-Session Bulletin​, or EOSB, capturing what happened for cities and towns at the General Assembly since the release of our initial EOSB in September​. The 13-page addendum follows the same format of bill summaries, with bill numbers and titles linked. It includes bills that received action since the earlier publication. Each bill number and title comes with a designation explaining its status. Areas covered are tax and finance, local bills, general government, planning and land use, and environment and utilities. 

Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law two bills we've been following -- one meant to help the N.C. Department of Transportation improve on finances and the other focused on disaster recovery. SB 356 DOT Cash and Accountability is separate from the "mini" budget bill signed in October. As reported by the Associated Press, the bill Governor Cooper signed Monday marks money for natural disasters, forgives a debt and programs funds in road construction bonds. HB 200 2019 Storm Recovery/Var. Budget Corrections​ was the second and final bill signed this week, meant to help in the recovery from Dorian and other storms, though it followed a little uncertainty. It included language that was unpopular with the governor's office, requiring all funds received by state government (including cash gifts and donations) to go into the state treasury, which Governor Cooper saw as a power-grab. By signing the bills, the governor has cleared his desk of pending legislation from 2019.

Washington, the Beaufort County city from which League President William Pitt hails, has been named Small Town of the Year by the N.C. Rural Center. "The award recognizes one town in North Carolina each year that has embraced the values of citizen engagement, diversity and strong partnerships to help the community move forward through economic development," the Washington Daily News newspaper explained on Thursday. Pitt, a Washington City Council Member serving as League president for 2019, called the recognition important for validating what the city set out to do and for continued shaping of the community's future. "It's an honor," Pitt said. In a press release from the Rural Center, Misty Herget, its senior director of programs, said Washington in recent years "has become a great tourist destination and a welcoming community for those who call it home. In the face of natural disasters, Washington has become more resilient and strategic in its planning for the future.”

Sen. Rick Gunn​, a five-term lawmaker representing Alamance County and part of Guilford, announced this week he would not seek re-election, citing plans to join his sons in a business venture. Senator Gunn is currently Senate Majority Whip and chairs the chamber's committees on Appropriations on Agriculture, Natural, and Economic Resources and on Commerce and Insurance. "I'm so grateful for my constituents and my colleagues and I'm proud of all we accomplished together in 10 years," Senator Gunn said in coverage from the Greensboro News & Record.

​Federal experts have come out with a manual for navigating the cyber world more soundly as a public agency. This "Guide to Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience​" comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, alongside the U.S. Department of State. "This guide offers a step-by-step approach to developing, implementing, and refining policies and programs to protect systems and assets that, if compromised, would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, and public health or safety," a CISA release says. Cyber security is a vintage issue by now but has risen to new levels of importance as the Internet teems with threats and as some governments have fallen victim to, or have had to contend with, ransomware and other forms of attack.