Rep. Wray’s Raleigh Report


Work continued this week on our state budget as I and other negotiators met to work out our differences.

We are moving closer to a final plan and I remain confident we will have our work completed soon.

Our efforts in other areas continue to remain strong as well. The following information highlights some of the legislation we have worked on this week.

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.

Agriculture

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources would be directed to continue to work with the NC Farm Bureau Federation, other agricultural organizations, and farmers in the state to develop a plan to identify and report agricultural water infrastructure needs under a bill that passed the House this week (HB 1748). If enacted the legislation would also direct the previously mentioned Departments to encourage voluntary practices that conserve and protect water resources and to design a cost-share program to assist farmers and agricultural landowners who implement best management practices to conserve and protect water resources related to agricultural use.

Legislation that would establish a task force to develop a plan for the establishment and maintenance of a statewide water and wastewater infrastructure resource and funding database passed the House on Thursday (HB 1746).

Local governments that provide public water service or community water systems would be required to address foreseeable future water needs when eighty percent of the water system’s available water supply has been allocated or when seasonal demand exceeds ninety percent under a bill that passed the House on Thursday (HB 1747). The legislation is based on the recommendations of the Legislative Study Commission on Water and Wastewater Infrastructure.

Animals

The North Carolina Zoological Park Funding and Organization Study Committee would be extended under a bill that passed the House this week (HB 1720). If enacted, the legislation would also authorize the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue special registration plates for the North Carolina Zoological Society.

Legislation that increases the penalty for killing an animal from a Class A1 Misdemeanor to a Class H Felony has been ratified by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law (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.

Miscellaneous

The State Board of Education would be directed to appoint a task force to create a Comprehensive Arts Education Development plan for the public schools of North Carolina under a bill that passed the House this week (SB 66). The Task Force would be instructed to specifically consider policies to implement arts education in the public schools.

The Department of Transportation would be directed to accept and use municipal funding for pedestrian safety improvements on state roads within municipal limits under a bill that passed the House this week (SB 595).

The Division of Health Service Regulation within the Department of Health and Human Services would be directed to coordinate a review of the education and training requirements for nurse aides under a bill that passed the House this week (SB 1191). The bill is based on the recommendations of the North Carolina Study Commission on Aging.

The Statutes governing the use of 911 funds would be amended under a bill that passed the House this week (HB 1691). If enacted, the legislation would give counties more flexibility to spend the money and a state panel would change how the money is distributed to more closely follow the population the 911 Center covers and their past expenses. Under the legislation, proceeds could now be used for statewide projects, and local centers would be required to meet operating standards to qualify for their share of funds.

Wood-chipping machinery would be exempt from sales tax under a bill that passed the House this week (HB 1842). The tax exemption would be applied to sales of wood chipping machinery that has been assigned a seventeen-digit vehicle identification number specified by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association. “Wood chipping machinery” is machinery used to convert raw forest products into wood chips.

Notes

Magna Composites LLC plans to expand three plants in the western part of North Carolina and create 327 new jobs over the next four years. The expansion — in which Magna plans to invest $10 million in facilities in Salisbury, Lenoir and Newton — was made possible in part by a state Job Development Investment Grant.

On Thursday, the House approved a House Joint Resolution to provide for the confirmation of the appointment of former Rep. Lucy T. Allen to the Utilities Commission (HJR 1907).

Meetings/Events

I plan to attend the following meetings/events:

  • Vance Relay for Life, Henderson-June 18-19
  • Rural Health Group, Inc., Lay Health Advisor Class Graduation, Warrenton-June 19
  • Juneteenth Freedom Festival, Garysburg-June 19
  • NC Economic Developers Association Reception, Raleigh-June 22
  • NC Electric Cooperatives Reception, Raleigh-June 22
  • Halifax and Roanoke Electric Membership Corporation, Raleigh-June 23
  • Agribusiness Council Reception, Raleigh-June 23
  • NC Restaurant & Lodging Association Rally, Raleigh-June 23
  • Art Museum, New Gallery Building Reception/Tour, Raleigh-June 23
  • Golden LEAF Foundation, Halifax Check Presentation, Roanoke Rapids-June 25
  • Roanoke Valley Relay for Life, Manning Walking Tract-June 25
  • Venus Spruill’s Retirement, Jackson-June 25
  • 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.