The House of Representatives passed a budget proposal over the weekend that would help our economy while also investing in education and health care.
Approval of the package leads us to the next phase of the budget-writing process, and I am among those members who are negotiating with the Senate over a final proposal to present to Gov. Perdue.
Despite the large amount of work we’re doing on the budget, we continue our work to improve and refine legislation that makes our state a better place to live. The following information highlights some bills of interest that have made it through the House this week.
I hope you will contact me if you have questions, or if I can be of service. Thank you as always for your support and your interest in our state.
Storing and preserving DNA and biological evidence related to a crime would be the responsibility of the law enforcement agency investigating the offense under a bill that has been ratified by the General Assembly (HB 1190). Under existing law, clerks of court are responsible for storing such evidence, but bill supporters argue that law enforcement is better equipped for the job. The bill now goes to Gov. Perdue for a signature.
State facilities that provide mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services would be required to disclose certain information about death reports, facility police reports, and incident reports under a bill that has passed both bodies of the legislature (SB 799). The intent of the legislation is to improve transparency. Conferees will be appointed from each chamber to negotiate a final version of the bill.
Legislation that would expand the ability of counties and municipalities to form joint emergency management agencies has been ratified by the General Assembly. Currently, a county can only form joint agencies with municipalities within its borders. This proposal (HB 380) would allow counties to also work with other counties, as well as municipalities within the partnering county. Gov. Perdue must now sign the bill for it to become law.
State lawmakers have ratified legislation to clarify that counties and cities have the authority to order evacuations in certain emergency situations (SB 256). The legislation also clarifies that the Emergency Management Immunity Statute applies to counties and cities in these situations. The bill has now gone to Gov. Perdue for her signature.
Last week, lawmakers ratified a bill that will establish a minimum motor fuels tax rate, which will be effective for two years (SB 200). From July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011, the gasoline tax will go no lower than 29.9 cents per gallon. Fiscal analysts at the General Assembly have projected that establishing this floor on the gas tax could generate approximately $67.5 million in new revenue for the coming fiscal year. The extra revenue would be utilized for highway and bridge projects across the state. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Perdue this Tuesday, June 16, 2009.
An act to reduce plastic and non-recycled paper bag used on North Carolina’s Outer Banks has passed both bodies of the legislature (SB 1018). Under the law, no retailer shall provide customers with plastic bags unless the bag is a reusable bag or used for some unpackaged items. The legislation would also restrict the substitution of paper bags for plastic bags. Paper bags could only be substituted for plastic if the bag is a recycled paper bag, or if the retailer offers certain specified incentives to a customer who uses their own reusable bags instead of the bags provided by the retailer. The bill now returns to the Senate for concurrence.
A portion of U.S. Highway 17 and U.S. Highway 70 will be designated as “The U.S. Marine Corps Highway: Home of the Carolina-Based Marines since 1941” under a bill that has been ratified by the General Assembly (HB 1021). The bill now goes to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law.
History and Geography curricula in public schools would be modified under a bill that has passed both bodies of the legislature (HB 1032). The legislation would amend middle school curriculum to require a one-year course on North Carolina history with United States history integrated into the instruction, instead of a course with a focus on national history with state history integrated into it. After the bill is ratified, it will go to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law.
The ban on texting while driving has been ratified by the General Assembly (HB 9). The intent of the legislation is to improve safety on North Carolina’s roads and highways. Once effective, violators of the law would face the penalty of a $100 fine plus court costs. The bill has now gone to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law.
On Thursday, members of the House officially honored the life and memory of William Oliver Swofford, American pop singer and native son of North Carolina, with a joint resolution (HB 1653). Oliver was a world-renowned musician who died on February 12, 2000, at the age of 54, in Shreveport, Louisiana.
In the past two weeks, three new members have been sworn into the North Carolina House of Representatives. Rep. Rosa Gill of Wake County replaced former Rep. Dan Blue, who left the House to fill the Senate seat vacated by the late Sen. Vernon Malone. Rep. Frank Iler of Brunswick County and Rep. Dan W. Ingle of Alamance County, replace former Rep. Bonner Stiller and former Rep. Cary Allred, respectively. Both Stiller and Allred resigned from the General Assembly.
Golden LEAF – Northampton County Forum
The first community forum of Golden LEAF’s Community Assistance Initiative process in Northampton County is schedule for Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. at the Northampton Cultural and Wellness Center in Jackson. The general public is invited to attend the forum. Additional details will follow soon.
I plan to attend the following meetings/events:
Please invite me to attend your county, city, community or civic, etc. meetings or events.
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.
Please remember that you can listen to each day’s session, committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly’s website. Once on the site, select “audio,” and then make your selection — House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room.