Rep. Wray’s Raleigh Report


Our appropriations process continues to move along steadily and we hope we are nearing the time when we will vote on a final version of the House budget.

Our chief intent as we draw up this plan is finding ways to preserve jobs and to limit the impact of budget cuts in education.

Thank you as always for your interest in state government. If you have any questions about this information or anything else that I can help with, please contact me. I am always glad to be of service.

Military

A resolution honoring North Carolina veterans on Memorial Day passed the House on Wednesday (HJR 1940). The General Assembly expressed profound gratitude to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces for their selfless service and honored the memory of those killed in the line of duty. Veterans from across the state were present for the reading of the resolution.

The Division of Motor Vehicles could note a person’s military service on driver’s licenses or special identification cards under a bill that was introduced in the House this week (HB 1965).

Economy

The sunset on various economic incentives would be extended under a bill that was introduced in the House this week (HB 1973). These economic incentives include a credit for constructing renewable fuel facilities, a credit for small business employee health benefits, and a credit for biodiesel producers, among others. If enacted, the legislation would also provide an enhanced incentive for jobs in high unemployment counties.

The competitiveness of North Carolina’s film credit for production companies would be increased under a bill that was introduced in the House this week (HB 1957).

The North Carolina Seafood Marketing Grant Program would be established in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services under a bill that was taken into consideration by the House Committee on Marine Resources and Aquaculture this week (HB 1709). The program would provide funding to local marketing programs that promote the increased purchase and consumption of North Carolina seafood.

Violence

A bill that would increase the penalty for the killing of an animal from a Class A1 Misdemeanor to a Class H Felony was unanimously approved in the House this week (SB 254). The legislation would also increase the penalty for the malicious abuse or torture of an animal from a Class I Felony to a Class H Felony. Susie’s Law, as the legislation is commonly known, is named after a dog found burned and left to die in a Greensboro park last summer.

The North Carolina Supreme Court would be directed to establish minimum standards of domestic violence education and training for district court judges under a bill that was taken into consideration by the House Committee on Ways and Means/Broadband Connectivity this week (HB 1762). If enacted, the legislation would also encourage the University of North Carolina School of Government to provide domestic violence education and training for judges and magistrates. The legislation is based on the recommendations of the Joint Legislative Committee on Domestic Violence.

Miscellaneous

A bill that would appropriate funds for the Kids Voting of North Carolina Program was introduced in the House this week (HB 1924). Kids Voting North Carolina is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes voter participation by educating America’s youth about the importance of being informed citizens and the responsibilities of voting to sustain democracy.

The Division of Aging and Adult Services could study whether to require criminal record checks for current and prospective owners, operators, and volunteers of adult day care programs and adult day health services programs. The legislation (HB 1703) is based on the recommendations of the North Carolina Study Commission on Aging and was considered this week by the House Committee on Aging this week.

School districts would have more flexibility to improve failing schools under legislation approved in the House this week. The bill (SB 704) gives school systems additional authority to reorganize failing schools, including the ability to operate them like charter schools. Charter schools are public schools that are exempt from some of the rules that apply to traditional schools. The legislation is expected to help strengthen the state’s application for federal education money.

Notes

Vitacost.com Inc., a leading online retailer and direct marketer of health and wellness products, will expand in Davidson County. The company plans to invest $6.7 million and create 228 jobs over the next three years. The project was made possible in part by a $450,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

WhiteRidge Plastics LLC, a national supplier of custom-molded plastic parts for the automotive, industrial, agricultural, tool and custom-part markets, will expand its operations in Rockingham County. The company plans to create 55 jobs and invest more than $1.2 million during the next three years in Reidsville. The project was made possible in part by a $45,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

The American Red Cross will create 440 jobs at a Charlotte call center. The American Red Cross, based in Washington, D.C., is the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. Charlotte was selected as the location for the call center thanks partly to job training assistance provided by the state.

The second phase of North Carolina’s Energy Star Appliance Replacement and Rebate Program starts June 1. In the second phase, more appliances are eligible for rebates to consumers seeking to cut energy costs by replacing older, less-efficient models. The rebates are available until $1 million set aside for the program is exhausted. The link to the N.C. Energy Star Appliance Replacement and Rebate Program can be found at www.energync.net. Consumers without Internet access may call 1-877-379-7323.

Meetings/Events

I plan to attend the following meetings/events:

  • Governor’s Crime Commission, Raleigh-June 3
  • 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.