Rep. Wray’s legislative report


Legislators this week focused most of their time on finalizing the budget while also passing bills on several important issues such as protecting private property rights, special education, saving for college and campaign finance reform.

The Senate approved legislation to ban video poker and prohibit teenagers from using a cell phone while driving.

Please remember that you can listen to each day’s session, committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly’s website at

Campaign Finance Reforms

The House agreed to place more restrictions on campaign donations made in cash and to require the disclosure of the names of some people who contribute smaller amounts. The measure (HB 1846) would cut by half the maximum cash contribution that a candidate can accept, from $100 to $50. Campaign treasurers also would have to disclose the identity of people who make contributions by money order of more than $50, down from the current rules of at least $100. Otherwise, identities are required when a contributor has given a cumulative $100 in any two-year election cycle. The measure, approved by an initial vote of 109-5 on Wednesday, will be up for final passage on Monday and then will be considered by the Senate. The bill is one of 10 recommended by the House Select Committee on Ethics and Governmental Reform, which met before the legislative session began last month.

2005 Meth Bill Reducing Crime

Legislation passed last year by the General Assembly to reduce the number of meth labs in North Carolina is already having a positive effect across our state. The new law requires anyone who buys cold tablets containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, such as Sudafed, to show a photo ID at a store counter and sign a log. State authorities last month found the fewest number of meth labs since December 2003. Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation busted 11 meth labs in May, a 69 percent drop from the 35 labs discovered in May 2005, said Attorney General Roy Cooper. State officials said agents have busted 112 labs from the date the law took effect on Jan. 15 through May 31. They found 172 labs for the same period last year.

Groups Visiting the Legislature This Week

Nearly 1,200 mental health advocates converged on the General Assembly on Tuesday. The group, Coalition 2001, was here to urge lawmakers to fully fund programs that aid mental health, developmentally disabilities, and substance abuse patients. Legislators are expected to provide a substantial amount of new funding in this year’s budget to help implement mental health reforms and improve community based programs.

The issue of annexation brought groups on both sides of the issue to the Legislative Building on Wednesday. A group called “Stop NC Annexation” says the involuntary annexation laws that towns and cities can use to acquire new land is “eminent domain lite” because residents are swallowed up into municipalities against their will. The group has supported bills that would allow annexation referenda on the ballot if enough people sign a petition in a local area where land is being sought by a town or city. But these and other bills have made little progress during the two-year session. The North Carolina League of Municipalities also held their annual “Town Hall Day” at the General Assembly. Its members are opposed to any law that would weaken current annexation procedures or restrict annexation authority.

The following visitors came by my office this week:

Deano Orr and Jeff Zimmer-International Paper-Forestry Day

Mayors Walter Newman, Norlina, and Lynn Johnson, Murfreesboro

John and Joan Boyle, Sheeley Fearn, Wadie Ryan-Library Day

UNC system President Erskine Bowles led a contingent of university notables who sat in the gallery of the House and Senate on Wednesday afternoon. Many of the 16 chancellors and members of the UNC Board of Governors also visited the Legislative Building.

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The House will be back in session on Monday night at 7 pm.

As I’ve said many times before, I hope you will continue to let me know how you feel about the issues that are being debated by the North Carolina Legislature and the challenges you and your family are facing each day.

By working together, we can make Northampton, Vance and Warren counties and all regions of North Carolina a better place to live, work and raise a family.