June 16, 2017

Light at the End of the Tunnel…Maybe


Last week, there was an expectation that the Appropriations Chairs and the Leadership of both chambers of the General Assembly would have the budget wrapped up and ready to vote on by tomorrow. Unfortunately, there were some snags in the negotiations between the House and Senate, and the expectation now is that we are going to vote on the budget either Monday or Tuesday----maybe.


Things turned, however, after Speaker Moore jokingly stated that the budget might be taken up “Monday or Tuesday, or next week, or the week after.” A few hours later, a motion was made by Rep. David Lewis of Dunn to allow the budget to be read in on Friday or Saturday in a skeleton session. The motion was passed unanimously.


So what does this mean?  According to the legislative rules, the budget must be read in, and posted online for 48 hours before being debated on the floor. What we are now given to understand is that the negotiators are very close on the final numbers, and there could be a deal as early as Friday or Saturday. If that is the case, then there only needs to be a few members (presumably the negotiators working on the budget, or members of the Wake County delegation) of the House and Senate to open with a prayer, pledge of allegiance, approval of the previous day’s journal, reading in the budget, and adjournment.


So now the question becomes: will a deal be reached before Saturday? The answer is no one really knows. What we do know is that if a deal is reached, the budget will be posted online 48 hours before any floor debate on the conference report. You can check the General Assembly website periodically to see if the budget is online. Unfortunately, we cannot link to any one document since we don’t know what yet what will happen.


Legislation Spotlight


House Bill 27 Clarify Expiration of Vehicle Registration

I am the lead sponsor on this bill. This is the bill that makes a technical change in existing statutes pertaining to license plates for government officials. The bill changes the language to read “February 15 of the following year,” as opposed to “February 15 each year.” 


The bill was requested by the Department of Transportation last January, and will be heard on the Senate floor on Monday.


House Bill 98 Criminal Offense to Vandalize Fire and EMS Equipment

The lead sponsor is Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary. This is the bill that makes vandalizing, destroying, or tampering with firefighting and EMS equipment a Class 1 misdemeanor.


The bill passed the Senate Rules committee unanimously, and will likely be run on the Senate floor on Monday.


Senate Bill 16 Business and Regulatory Reform Act of 2017

This bill, introduced for the purpose of providing additional regulatory relief, was sponsored by Senator Andy Wells of Hickory.


There are twenty-one sections of this bill that covers a wide range of matters from judicial review to notices of rulemaking by an agency. You can read the full summary of the bill by clicking here.


The bill passed 94-19 will twenty-three Democrats joining all Republicans voting in favor.


Scholarship Opportunity


Earlier this week, an email came across my desk that I thought might be of interest to those high school students that are about are definitely going to college, or even just thinking about it. 


Earlier this year, Mary Baldwin University announced a new scholarship opportunity to residents in a number of states in the Appalachian region, including North Carolina. The scholarship provides a $1,000, multi-year award to students entering MBU’s historic Mary Baldwin College for Women and our new coeducational University College.


MBU offers a range of degree programs, from bachelors to doctoral, and serve a diverse student population on our main campus in Staunton, Virginia; at our nearby health sciences campus in Fishersville; online; and through regional centers throughout Virginia. All programs at MBU are coed, except for the Mary Baldwin College for Women.


I encourage you to visit their website, marybaldwin.edu, to learn more about their diverse programs — from the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership, the nation’s only all-female corps of cadets, to the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, a national model of inter-professional collaboration in high-demand allied health fields.




Our second Jackson County Town Hall will take place on Friday, June 23, 2017.  The meeting will take place at Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library, and begin at 4:00 p.m., and run until 6:00 p.m. 


The Albert Carlton-Cashiers Library is located at 249 Frank Allen Road in Cashiers. For more information and directions, you can visit the library website at http://www.fontanalib.org/cashiers, or call the library at 828-743-0215.


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