Filing for the 2016 election opened on Tuesday, and while a number of candidates filed for re-election that day, several legislators recently announced that they would not seek another term in office. The most significant of these was Sen. Tom Apodaca, a key member of the Senate leadership who announced that his current term in office would be his last. In a release announcing his departure entitled "Senate Bull Moose Heading Out to Pasture," Apodaca said, "All good things must come to an end. It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve the people of Western North Carolina in the state Senate." The League will miss working with Sen. Apodaca, and we thank him for his service and wish him all the best in the future.
In addition to Sen. Apodaca, a trio of Representatives recently announced that they would not be seeking re-election. Republicans Roger West and Chris Whitmire, and Democrat Tricia Cotham, all indicated that they would not run for another term in office. The League thanks all three of these Representatives for their hard work while in office and we wish them all of the best going forward.
Among the many candidates who did file for re-election this week was Gov. Pat McCrory, who kicked off his campaign with an event in Kernersville. Also filing for office was former Rep. Dale Folwell, who announced his bid to be the next State Treasurer. A full list of all the candidates who have filed for election thus far can be found here.
The campaign to support passage of a $2 billion state infrastructure bond issue is under way, with supporters unveiling this campaign website this week. The bipartisan campaign has tapped former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr as one of its co-chairs, and plans a substantial effort building both grassroots support for the bonds, as well as utilizing social media to reach out to voters.
In October, League President Lestine Hutchens joined Governor McCrory at a bill ceremony held at Stone Mountain State Park near Elkin, and League staff and municipal officials also attended other signing ceremonies. The bond package would achieve a key League priority of additional infrastructure investments that will benefit municipalities. It contains $310 million for local water and sewer projects.
The bond package will be put before state voters in a March referendum. You can read an op-ed from Justice Orr about the need for the bond plan, which recently appeared in The Charlotte Observer, here.
Five orientation sessions for new mayors kicked off this week with 23 newly elected mayors attending the initial session in Raleigh on Thursday. Additional sessions of Leading Your Municipal Governing Board: An Orientation for New Mayors are being held in Greenville today, and Asheville, Cornelius and Kernersville next week. The League and the University of North Carolina School of Government are holding the sessions, which include discussions on the role of mayors, the state Open Meetings and Public Records laws, and working with the media.
Although registration for the Orientation for New Mayors is closed, there is still time to register for the Essentials of Municipal Government sessions, also jointly held by the League and School of Government, which begin in January. Based on the lively discussions and response from yesterday's initial mayors' session, we expect the upcoming Essentials of Municipal Government also to provide a great forum for more informative and useful dialogue. You can find information about those sessions, including how to register, here.
The N.C. Building Code Council (BCC) will receive public comment on a concept that would limit the size of mega resort homes, if they were to be considered residential and not commercial structures. In a public hearing on Tuesday, December 15, at 9:00 am at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh, the BCC plans to hear input regarding the merits of new code provisions limiting the number of bedrooms for structures regulated as residential rather than commercial buildings. The state's commercial building code requires additional public safety features, such as exit signs and fire sprinklers, that the residential building code does not contain. The BCC does not have a specific proposal on which to comment. Rather, with this public hearing, the Council intends to assess the level of support for such a change to the state building code. For more background on this concept, and for talking points to use in making public comment, please contact Erin Wynia.
We on the League's Public & Government Affairs team are pleased to share that our colleague, League Regulatory & Legislative Counsel Sarah Collins, recently gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl. Eller Elizabeth Collins was born on Nov. 19, and both mother and daughter are doing extremely well. Our congratulations go out to Sarah and her husband, Matt. Sarah will be on maternity leave until early next year, but in the meantime you can still email Sarah here.