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NCACC Legislative Brief
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Week of April 3 - Summary of Proposed Legislation Potentially Impacting Counties

TV Show to Feature NCACC Executive Director Kevin Leonard on Public School Facility Needs
This Saturday, April 8th at 7:30 PM, NCACC Executive Director Kevin Leonard will be featured on “Education Matters,” a television program created by the Public School Forum of North Carolina to inform the public on the state of public education in North Carolina. The interview will discuss the staggering need for public school construction funding and proposals that can help address funding shortfalls. This issue is NCACC’s top legislative goal. 
 
The show will air on WRAL-TV, following “On the Record with David Crabtree”. It will also air on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel statewide at 6:30 AM on Sunday and again on Monday at 3 PM (TWC/Spectrum Channel 1276). The full program will also be available online at https://www.ncforum.org/  and on the WRAL web site. 
House Acts on School Calendar Flexibility Bills (HB 375, HB 389)
HB 375, which would provide some flexibility to adjust school calendars at the local level, passed its first vote in the House. The bill allows local boards of education to align school calendars to community college schedules. Further progress on HB 375 was delayed until next week due to an objection to the second House vote.

HB 389, which would establish a twenty county pilot project to assess the success of providing school calendar flexibility, passed both votes in the House on Thursday.
  • NCACC supports HB 375which would achieve an Association public education goal, and supports HB 389.
Various Bills Affecting Impact Fee Laws Move in Legislature (HB 436, HB 406, HB 624/S641)
Two bills eliminating local government authority to assess all types of impact fees on development passed the House State and Local Government I committee. The most extreme of these bills, HB 436, prohibits local governments throughout the state from imposing regulatory fees on new construction. It would limit the authority of counties and cities to raise revenue to pay for the cost of increased water, sewer, and other infrastructure needs to meet the demands of growing communities. HB 406 is a local version of HB 436 that applies to Orange County only. NCACC staff spoke in committee in opposition to H436. Both bills now go to the House Finance committee.
 
House and Senate Companion Bills, HB 624/S641 Uniform System Development Fees for Water, were introduced this week to create a uniform process by which fees are charged for water and sewer system development. Significantly, it alters a statute of limitations recently established by a court decision regarding how much local governments must spend reimbursing developers for impact fees charged from ten to three years. NCACC continues to work with bill sponsors and other stakeholders on the specifics to this legislation.
House Passes Bill to Change Petition Process for LME/MCO Board Structure (HB 403)
The House passed HB 403 to modify certain requirements pertaining to local management entities/managed care organizations (LME/MCOs), which manage the provision of publicly-funded behavioral health services throughout the state.  The bill includes a provision, which NCACC opposes, which would create a new authority allowing ¾ of counties to petition the HHS Secretary for a different board structure.  Current law requires unanimous consent of all counties for such a petition.
House Passes Bill That Affects Subdivision Roads (HB 457)
The House Transportation committee and the full House passed HB 457 Performance Guarantees/Subdivision Streets this week. The legislation establishes some limited county authority to require developers to guarantee maintenance costs of subdivision roads and expedites DOT acceptance of these roads into the state system. The bill partially achieves an NCACC goal by adding roads to the state system more quickly, but the Association has concerns with the portions of the bill that create an administratively-complex maintenance bond authority that in some cases allows release of the financial guarantee before roads are accepted. NCACC supports HB 141/SB 92, which create a different system for guaranteeing subdivision road maintenance.
NCACC Opposes Legal Notices Bill Filed in House (HB 572)
Members of the House introduced a legal notices bill, HB 572, which is supported by the NC Press Association.  The bill would continue to require publication of legal notices in newspapers, and sets a limit on the price of subsequent publications in newspapers.  It also requires newspapers to publish notices online in addition to the printed paper.  HB 572 fails to accomplish NCACC’s goal on this issue and differs from legislation supported by the Association – SB 343/HB 432 – to modernize the notification process by giving counties the option to publish notices online in lieu of newspapers if the county chooses. 
  • NCACC opposes HB 572
Legislation Introduced to Establish New Mechanism for Financing School Construction (HB 600/SB 511)
House and Senate bills recently introduced would establish an entirely new mechanism for financing new school construction. SB 511 School Construction Flexibility appeared last week and HB 600 this week. The legislation authorizes school systems in Tier 1 counties to use state educational funds to enter into lease agreements with a private developer to construct schools. The legislation explicitly relieves the state from any responsibility for lease payments, even if state funds to the school system are decreased. The bills are silent on whether any debt is assumed by the developer or the county. Additionally, it requires that developers follow statutory bidding procedures when choosing a contractor. 
  • NCACC is analyzing these proposed changes and appreciates any specific feedback and/or data from counties on the potential impact of this legislation.
House Bill Introduced to Help Fund Public School Facility Needs (HB 638)
House legislators and former county commissioners introduced legislation to provide additional lottery funds for school construction. This bill, HB 638, helps achieve NCACC’s top legislative goal. HB 638, like SB 234 filed earlier this session, would establish a separate fund for school construction called the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund and appropriate $75 million from the lottery in fiscal year 2017-18 to the fund. This new fund would add to existing annual lottery proceeds that pay for school capital needs statewide. The bill targets the additional resources to tier one and tier two counties with critical public school capital needs and also raises the permitted advertising expenses for the lottery from one percent to two percent of annual revenues.
  • NCACC supports HB 638 and thanks Reps. Corbin, Garrison, Hunter and Potts for introducing the bill.
Regulatory Reform Bill Passes House with Problematic Provisions for Counties (SB 131)
The House amended and passed this session’s regulatory reform bill, SB 131, which contains provisions opposed by NCACC last year. Specifically, section 2.15(a), would establish a 5-year statute of limitations on land use violations known or reported to the local government, while section 2.15(b) would establish a 7-year statute of limitations for violations that are unknown by local officials but are visible from the street and pose no health and safety threats. NCACC opposes these provisions because they encroach on local land use authority.
  • NCACC urges the Senate to strike Section 2.15 from SB 131.
Bill Introduced in Senate Would Affect Social Service Departments (SB 594)
A child welfare bill was introduced in the Senate that includes complex provisions which would change the relationship between the state and counties in administering social services. NCACC is engaged in ongoing dialogue with the bill sponsors and appreciates the opportunity to collaborate on issues affecting counties. 

Other Bills of Interest to Counties

  • House Committee Passes Electronics Recycling Bill (HB 320)
    • The House Committee on Environment passed HB 320, which directs the Environmental Review Commission to study electronics recycling, including cost and financing issues. The Commission would be required to report its findings and any recommended legislative action to General Assembly. 
  • House Bill Introduced to Modify 911 Board (HB 565)
    • HB 565 would modify the composition of 911 Board by adding to the board three PSAP managers.
  • Legislation Introduced in Both Chambers to Revise Involuntary Commitment Procedures (HB 564/SB 630)
    • Legislation was introduced in the House and Senate to revise the process by which individuals are committed involuntarily to specialized treatment facilities.  The legislation would also change the responsibilities for state, regional and local entities in these cases. 
  • House Bill Introduced to Establish Grant Program to Update Voting Equipment (HB 655)
    • HB 655 would establish a matching grant program to provide assistance to county boards of election to pay for the replacement of outdated voting equipment. The bill would appropriate $50 million to help update voting equipment.  
  • House Bill Establishes Special Fund for Capital and Infrastructure Needs (HB 583)
    • A bill was introduced in the House to establish a special fund, the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund, to help finance ongoing capital and infrastructure needs of the State.
  • Senate Bill introduced to Change State Economic Development Programs (SB 660)
    • Legislation was introduced in the Senate which would recalculate tier level data under consideration when awarding economic development incentives.
      • NCACC is analyzing the impact from these changes and appreciates any specific county-level feedback and data from our members.

REGISTER TODAY FOR COUNTY EVENTS!


2017 District Meetings (April)
Throughout the month of April, NCACC will host a series of District Meetings throughout the state, which offer county commissioners and management staff the opportunity to discuss with other county officials and NCACC staff any issues impacting their counties.  This event is for county commissioners and staff, and there is no charge.  Each meeting is held from 5:30-8:00 p.m. and includes dinner.

You may view the schedule of 2017 District Meetings and register to attend HERE.

County Assembly Day (May 10)
On May 10, the NCACC is sponsoring its annual County Assembly Day to provide North Carolina county officials an opportunity to meet with state elected officials and hear from state leaders on key issues.  This event is for county commissioners and staff, and there is no charge.

Register to attend County Assembly Day HERE.
 

North Carolina Counties' Five Priority Goals

  1. Seek legislation to establish a new state-county partnership to address statewide public school capital challenges--including but not limited to maintenance, renovation, construction and debt--through a dedicated, stable funding stream that is consistent from county to county and sufficient to meet the school facility needs of all 100 counties.
  2. Seek legislation to repeal the statutory authority under N.C. Gen. Stat. 115C-431(c) that allows a local school board to file suit against a county board of commissioners over county appropriations for education.
  3. Support efforts to preserve and expand the existing local revenue base of counties, and oppose efforts to divert to the state fees or taxes currently allocated to the counties to the state. Oppose efforts to erode existing county revenue streams and authorize local option revenue sources already given to any other jurisdiction.
  4. Support increased state funding for transportation construction and maintenance needs, and support legislation to ensure that the STI funding formula recognizes that one size does not fit all and that projects in both rural and urban areas are prioritized and funded.
  5. Support legislation and funding to raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction from 16 to 18 with the exception of felony crimes.

Go to www.ncacc.org/legislativegoals to review North Carolina counties’ complete 2017-18 legislative agenda.

Click here to view the latest episode of This Week at the General Assembly, the NCACC's made for government television show on legislation affecting county governments in the North Carolina General Assembly. 
Copyright © 2017 North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, All rights reserved.


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