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NCACC Legislative Bulletin
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Legislators return from break

After a week of summer recess, the legislature returned to Raleigh to resume work on the state budget and other legislation. Both chambers appointed exceedingly large conference committees to negotiate their budget differences, which include discrepancies in individual dollar amounts and the numerous comprehensive policy changes in the Senate budget. Some committees began hearing legislation, and Senate leadership announced the possibility of shutting down committees at the end of next week.

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Senate merges two PSAP bills 


Photo of Burke County 911 Call Center

The Senate this week merged two bills concerning PSAPs, putting the content from H730 (County Provide 911 Dispatch Services) into H512 (Amend/Clarify Back-up PSAP Requirement). The added language prohibits a county from billing a city for 911 dispatch services that are funded in whole or in part by the city's constituents though the county's ad valorem taxes.  As amended, H512 provides that if the governing body of a city adopts a resolution requesting that the county provide 911 dispatch services, the county will have twelve months from the date of the resolution to begin providing the services at no charge to the city. These provisions were introduced on behalf of the League of Municipalities, which argued that city residents should not be doubly taxed for the same services.

Several counties have objected to this language and the resulting costs, particularly with regard to its impact on consolidated PSAPs where cost-sharing agreements exist between the city and the county.  NCACC advocacy staff worked with the League to amend the language to address some of these concerns. H512 now clearly states that the ban against billing a city for county-provided 911 dispatch services shall not apply where the county and the city have a contract or agreement to share in the costs of a centralized or consolidated 911 dispatch center. Your advocates also discussed more extensive amendments to the bill with the League and legislators, but these were not included.

The original bill, H512 authorizes the 911 Board to extend the deadline for PSAPs to implement a back-up plan. The General Assembly passed a law in 2014 requiring primary PSAPs to have a plan and means for call taking in the event 911 calls cannot be received and processed in the primary PSAP.  July 1, 2016 was set as the deadline to implement the plan. Under H512, if the PSAP has made substantial progress toward implementing its back-up plan by the July 1, 2016 deadline, the 911 Board may grant the PSAP an extension until July 1, 2017 to complete the plan’s implementation.

The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday and was returned to the House for concurrence. It has not yet appeared on the House calendar. Counties with concerns about the bill should contact their House members before the next scheduled session on Monday.

"Uber Bill" gets favorable report in Senate Transportation 


The Senate Transportation Committee gave a favorable report to a bill imposing regulations on transportation network services.  Senators Floyd McKissick and Bill Rabon introduced S541 (Regulate Transportation Network Services) at the request of the industry, which has established a national administrative model that it is urging states to adopt.  The bill defines a transportation network company (TNC) as “any person that provides prearranged transportation services using an online-enabled application or platform to connect passengers with drivers.” Currently, three TNCs are known to operate in North Carolina—Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.


 
The bill requires each TNC to have a valid permit issued by the NC Division of Motor Vehicles in order to operate in the state.  The permit application fee is $5,000, and permits must be renewed annually at a cost of $5,000.  TNCs are also required to maintain liability insurance coverage similar to that required of other for-hire passenger vehicle companies.  In addition, a prospective driver for a TNC must undergo a local and national criminal background check and driving record review before being permitted to drive for the company.  
 
S541 has been re-referred to Senate Finance.

House Finance approves tribal property tax bill 


On Thursday, the House Finance Committee approved a bill eliminating county tax authority on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian tribal land. H912 (Taxation of Tribal Land and Tobacco Products) would prohibit counties from levying property tax on non-tribal members who own property on tribal land. Currently counties can levy property tax on business personal property and certain property improvements on tribal land if the personal property is owned by a non-tribal member. Counties provide services to non-tribal members, including school construction and operations, sanitation and environmental health, as well as jails and emergency response; however, there would be no reduction in service requirements accompanying the revenue loss in this bill. NCACC voiced concerns with the bill in committee, generating a number of questions and debate on the impact from this revenue loss. The bill passed Finance with some opposition and will be on the House floor next week before consideration by the Senate.

Regulatory reform legislation hearing planned


The House will hear the Senate's regulatory reform bill in its Environment Committee next week in advance of an expected non-concurrence vote by the full chamber. H765 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2015) is a bill NCACC has followed since the Senate used it as a vehicle for its annual regulatory reform provisions (see previous bulletin for more information). Of concern to counties, the bill repeals the electronic manufacturing recycling statutes, limits local control over piping materials used in water infrastructure projects, and amends the process for approving septic systems. The bill passed the Senate 31-17 two weeks ago.

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This Week at the General Assembly

Visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/ncacc1908 or our website to view This Week at the General Assembly. The show is produced regularly while the General Assembly is in session.   
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