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League Bulletin

December 14, 2018

WHAT HAPPENED: Lawmakers sent more big-ticket legislation to the governor's desk, including measures on the makeup of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement​ and a 20-page "technical corrections" bill that contains some items of interest to cities and towns (as explained later in this Bulletin). Meanwhile, a Senate bill​ seeking a sunset on six state boards (including those of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund) seemed to lose steam.
 
WHAT IT MEANS: It finally looks like we're coming to the end of this extended 2018 "short session." Most known priorities among legislative leaders have been addressed.
 
ON TAP: Veto-watch. The governor has 10 days to think about each bill (the voter ID bill, for example) and whether he'll sign it, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. Vetoed bills return to the General Assembly, so lawmakers have planned for skeletal sessions as the clock runs. The legislature's supermajority is still in place, so it's possible that any vetoed bills will be overriden and put into law. 
 
THE SKINNY: Other than outstanding veto questions, the 2017-18 General Assembly is virtually concluded.

​The legislative chambers this week agreed on a series of provisions wrapped into a conference report for SB 469 Technical Corrections. The approved legislation included a restriction on municipalities’ ability to recoup from industry the cost of reviewing small cell applications (reported on in last week's Bulletin​), extending restraints on small cell application fees to also apply to those fees charged for zoning application review and technical consultant costs. The bill also came with a new provision to make it clear that an existing limitation on not requiring new or increased stormwater controls for preexisting development or redevelopment “applies to all local governments regardless of the source of their regulatory authority.” It additionally requires that local governments include that limitation in their stormwater ordinances. The bill was presented to the governor on Thursday. 

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore have gained the backing of their majority caucuses to continue to lead their respective chambers in the General Assembly. Incoming House Republicans unanimously backed Speaker Moore, a Kings Mountain resident, this week. “It is a great honor to continue serving the citizens of North Carolina alongside my colleagues in the House of Representatives," he said in a news release. As noted in media reports​, Senate Republicans have already backed Senator Berger of Eden to continue his role. Chamber leaders will be officially chosen when the new General Assembly convenes in January.

 
Following a request from Gov. Roy Cooper, FEMA has extended its deadline to Dec. 19 for North Carolina residents and businesses impacted by Hurricane Florence. “We want to make sure that our hurricane survivors get the help they need to get their lives back on track," the governor said in a news release with details​. “I urge anyone impacted by Hurricane Florence to register with FEMA right away.” Registering with FEMA is the first toward toward applying for assistance, the governor's office says. Its news release highlights numerous ways to begin that process. The League has also been highlighting FEMA processes in continual updates in its weekly League Letter. ​

Gov. Roy Cooper and chamber leaders in the General Assembly -- Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore -- released a rare joint statement​ on Thursday that affirms a commitment to North Carolina's economy and jobs growth. It followed news, which reportedly took the state's top officials by surprise​, that Apple had chosen Texas instead of North Carolina for a significant company expansion. "North Carolina is a great place for business and we have amazing success bringing quality jobs to our state, from corporate headquarters for Charlotte and Raleigh to advanced manufacturing jobs for places like Halifax and Scotland counties. We’re on pace to add thousands of good-paying jobs this year with more expected next year. There’s no better place to find a top-tier IT workforce and legislative leaders have worked closely with the administration to attract large employers and technology companies like Apple. We’ll keep doing everything we can to bring more good jobs to North Carolina.”

The City of Gastonia has added to its ongoing story of economic development work at Here We Grow, the online hub of local stories showing how our municipalities are driving job growth and prosperity across the state. In the latest installment, we learn the positive effects of an infrastructural boost at Gastonia Technology Park to ensure companies there have what they need to thrive. “We needed increased power capacity to serve the growing number of businesses at the Tech Park,” the city explains at Here We Grow, adding that its expansion of electrical support there will also serve new industrial customers at a separate site. Here We Grow, an initiative led by the North Carolina League of Municipalities in partnership with WRALTechwire, is loaded with stories submitted by League-member municipalities about the work they're doing to support job growth and opportunity. Submit your city's story today! Here We Grow is open to all member municipalities with simple login credentials that can be obtained by emailing about@herewegrownc.org.​ It's the best way to amplify your story and show what cities and towns mean to the state as a whole.

The 911 Board has adopted goals for the upcoming legislative session​ and is hosting a stakeholder meeting to discuss them. The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 19 at the Guilford Metro 9-1-1, 1903 Midway St., Greensboro. Anyone with questions or feedback about the board’s legislative proposals is encouraged to attend or reach out to board staff​.​

After a little downtime, we're back -- and let's pick up with a fun one. On this episode of Municipal Equation, we continue our quest for ways and activities to better connect with or learn the city you're in -- whether it's your hometown or a place you've never been before. Here, we're documenting and learning the secrets of the city as guided by notable photographers from around the world. We hit London, Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur and the North Carolina city of Wilson. Municipal Equation is the League's nationally recognized podcast about cities and towns adapting in the face of change. Find past episodes at nclm.org/municipalequation​

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