Resilience Task Force Releases Final Report
For the past year, a task force appointed by NCACC President Ronnie Smith worked on his presidential initiative
, "Resilience," to address food insecurity across North Carolina counties. The final report
was released Tuesday, June 8, 2021 and outlines strategies for counties to consider to expand access to food for our most vulnerable residents. Click HERE
to read the NCACC press release.
Following the release, President Ronnie Smith was interviewed by WNCT about his Resilience initiative. Click HERE
to access the WNCT television segment. He was also interviewed by WUNC-NPR reporter Celeste Gracia, which is available HERE
Risk Management Board of Trustees Meeting
The Risk Management Pools Board of Trustees met for the first time in-person Thursday, June 10. Click the video link below for Board Chair and Edgecombe County Commissioner Viola Harris' recap of the meeting.
This week legislative leaders in the House and Senate announced an agreement to spend $25.7 billion for the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget. The amount represents a 3.45% increase in spending over the current fiscal year but is less than the $27.3 billion spending proposal by Governor Cooper. While details will emerge once the Senate releases its proposed budget, likely next week, leaders noted that the budget will not include Medicaid expansion or a bond for school capital construction. However, legislators noted they'll include around $4.2 billion for new capital spending through a pay-as-you go approach through the State Capital Infrastructure Fund. This is the method the General Assembly agreed to use to fund school capital projects in the 2019 budget. That budget was ultimately vetoed by Governor Cooper and the state has been without a new spending plan since. It is not yet clear if the Governor will again veto a bill without two of his major budget priorities of Medicaid expansion and an infrastructure bond.
The pace of work at the General Assembly continued to quicken this week after an initial lull for a few weeks post-crossover. Bills impacting counties this week include new personnel reporting requirements and clarifications to statutes concerning remote meetings during emergencies. Those bills and others are outlined below.
Bills of Note
House Bill 64: Government Transparency Act of 2021
— adds to the information in a county employee personnel file that is a matter of public record, to include general description of the reason for demotion, dismissal, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position for each county employee. If a general description of the reasons for these actions is otherwise prohibited by law, the bill requires a notation be made stating, "description of action prohibited by general law". The bill further directs government employers to adopt personnel policies to allow employees to challenge the wording of the general descriptions listed by the employer. The description becomes public upon the later of the expiration of the time period to file an appeal under the employer's appeals process or a final decision being entered in that appeals process. The bill passed Senate Judiciary and Rules committees and heads to the Senate for a floor vote. If the bill passes the Senate, it will go to the House for a concurrence vote.
House Bill 218: Streamline Permits/Redevelopment of Property
— requires counties that implement water supply watershed protection programs to allow an applicant to exceed the allowable density under the jurisdiction's applicable water supply watershed rules under certain circumstances. The legislation also prohibits a county from considering a building footprint expansion of up to 20% a site plan modification if certain criteria are met. The bill passed the House this week and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
House Bill 334: JOBS Grants and Tax Relief
— the bill exempts vaccines and cemetery property from the local property tax base. The bill passed the Senate and now heads to the House for a concurrence vote.
House Bill 344: System Development Fees Update
— makes clarifying changes to the statutes regarding county imposition of system development fees. The bill passed the Senate Rules Committee this week and now heads to the floor for a vote.
House Bill 812: Clarify Remote Meetings During Emergencies
— amends current law to clarify that a public body may take action during a remote meeting if it allows for submissions of written comments on the subject of the public hearing between the required meeting notice and 24 hours prior to the noticed time for the hearing. The bill also allows a public body that has issued notice for an in-person meeting to amend the notice to make the meeting a remote meeting up to six hours before the noticed time for the in-person meeting. The bill passed the Senate this week and now heads to the Governor for signature. This legislation addresses a goal of NCACC and NCACC supports this legislation.
Senate Bill 255: AOC Legislative Changes
— makes changes to the laws governing the administration of justice as requested by the NC Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Of particular note to counties, Section 9 of the bill allows court proceedings to be conducted by audio and video transmission, with certain exceptions. This provision would make permanent, the ability to conduct court proceedings virtually, currently allowed during declared states of emergency. The bill passed both the House and Senate and been presented to the Governor this week for signature. NCACC has been asked to participate in a working group convened by AOC on this topic, and requests any feedback on virtual court proceedings be provided to email@example.com.
Senate Bill 326: Election Integrity Act
— requires completed absentee ballots to be returned to the county board of elections by 5 PM on election day, regardless of postmark on the ballot. Also requires county boards of elections and the State Board of Election to publish the date of the availability of absentee ballots and the date requests for ballots must be submitted to the board. Finally, the legislation requires county boards to submit reports on absentee ballots. The bill has passed Senate Rules and is now headed to the floor for a vote.
Senate Bill 722: Revise Local Government Redistricting/Census
— makes various election scheduling changes due to the delayed receipt of census data. The bill delays 2021 municipal elections for certain affected municipalities to 2022. For counties required to redistrict, the bill requires the board of county commissioners to revise electoral districts and adopt a resolution containing the new districts on or before November 17, 2021, regardless of the requirement in G.S. 153A-22(e). The legislation has passed the House and now heads to the Senate for concurrence vote.
Senate Bill 725: Prohibit Private Money in Elections Admin
— prohibits the State Board of Elections, as well as county boards, from accepting donations to administer elections or to employ workers on temporary basis for elections. The bill has passed Senate Rules and now heads to the floor for a vote.
Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 219
this week, creating a program to incentivize vaccination in North Carolina.
COVID-19 vaccines are now available to individuals 12 and older across the state, and 50% of adults are fully vaccinated. 40% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated.
The Office of Recovery Programs in the US Department of the Treasury released updated Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund FAQs
this week. New FAQs in this release include additional guidance on calculating revenue loss, eligible use clarifications, and confirming that Funds may cover costs to hire consultants to manage and administer FRF.
New FAQs and links to additional resources have been added to the Local Fiscal Recovery Fund FAQs
on the NCACC website as well.
NCACC is tracking county activities and investments on its American Rescue Plan
page to share information about how counties are planning and preparing to invest Fiscal Recovery Funds. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
with any information on how your county is using ARP funds.