2017

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Prior to the beginning of session some of the municipalities which I represent came to me and explained their concern over the recent NC Supreme Court ruling in Quality Built Homes, Inc. et al. vs. Town of Carthage. This ruling invalidated impact fees collected by municipalities for the expansion of their water and sewer systems. More importantly it provided that the municipalities could be sued for fees they collected then spent on the promised infrastructure for the previous 10 years. This they felt left them with massive financial exposures that could have easily forced some into bankruptcy.

Once in Raleigh and recognizing that other Senators had similar concerns from their municipalities, I became a primary sponsor of S641 and began working with a group of legislators to formulate a workable solution to the problem. Later a number of sister bills were filed, then we collectively and ultimately agreed to use H346 as the vehicle for the solution.

H346 provides a transparent and reliable formula for municipalities and builders to use going forward for the collection and use of impact fees, and it limits the liability for municipalities that have collected such fees in the past.

 

Here are some of the other actions taken by the legislature this year that will positively impact the lives of our citizens:

· We exempted retired military veterans from paying state income taxes on their pensions.

· We expanded tools to recruit new businesses to the state, including ‘transformative projects’ that could employ thousands of North Carolinians.

· We provided additional performance-based bonuses to more public school teachers who help improve academic outcomes for their students.

· We passed sweeping changes to the state’s burdensome regulatory environment to cut through red tape that chokes off economic growth.

· We helped combat the opioid addiction crisis by passing the STOP Act to ensure highly-addictive prescription drugs are responsibly administered and not over-prescribed. Lawmakers also directed $10 million toward statewide opioid and substance abuse treatment.

· We began the process to “raise the age,” aligning North Carolina with the overwhelming majority of states that try 16- and 17-year olds suspected of misdemeanor offenses and less serious felonies as juveniles.

· The Senate completed a thorough and transparent confirmation hearing process of the governor’s cabinet secretaries, where senators evaluated their qualifications, possible conflicts of interest and willingness to follow the law.

· We strengthened laws against human trafficking and laws to increase awareness of the warning signs of trafficking.

· We joined 47 other states with modernized ABC laws, helping boost the state’s restaurant and tourism industry.

· North Carolina's social service system was overhauled to address substantial issues in our child welfare program to ensure the safety of kids.

 

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Raleigh Office: (919) 733-5745

District Office: (828) 785-4177

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