Mayor and Town Council


Ralph D. Karpinos, Town Attorney


Adoption of Legislative Agenda for 2007 Session of N.C. General Assembly


February 26, 2007




The attached resolution would express the Town Council’s position on a number of local and statewide legislative subjects for the 2007 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly. 




The General Assembly convened in January to begin what is traditionally referred to as a “Long Session,” in which the members of the House and Senate have an opportunity to consider a wide range of proposed bills, both state-wide and local bills. 


The deadlines for submission of local bills have been established as follows:


House: Local Bills are due to Bill Drafting by March 20 and must be filed by March 28


Senate: Local Bills are due to Bill Drafting by February 27 and must be filed by March 7


Rules of both houses now establish limits on the number of “blank bills” that may be introduced.   House Resolution 1, adopted January 24, provides that a bill containing no substantive provisions may not be introduced in the House.  Senate Resolution 1, adopted January 24, limits to two the number of bills which contain no substantive provisions that may be introduced by any Senator. 


Prior to this evening the Council:


a.       On October 23, 2006, discussed potential topics for legislative consideration in 2007;

b.      On January 31, 2007, held a public forum to receive public comment on potential topics for a  legislative agenda;

c.       On February 12, 2007, discussed potential local and statewide legislative issues of interest and developed a list of topics to discuss with the Senators and representatives whose legislative districts include some part of the Town of Chapel Hill; and,

d.      On February 19, 2007, met with Senators Bob Atwater and Eleanor Kinnaird and Representatives Joe Hackney, Larry Hall and Verla Insko to discuss the 2007 Session of the General Assembly and legislative matters of interest to the Town Council. 



Based on the Council’s prior discussions, its meeting with the Delegation and the specific topics which were discussed with the Delegation, the following list of issues has been prepared to tentatively reflect the Council’s interests in local and statewide legislative matters for the 2007 Session of the General Assembly.   We understand, based on comments from members of the Legislative Delegation, that the Council should consider indicating its priority ranking when it sends its list to the Delegation.


Local Issues


  1. Authority for local publicly financed campaigns for municipal elective office.
  2. Real estate transfer tax (if not considered as a statewide bill).
  3. Authority to provide incentives to encourage energy efficiency and conservation in new development.
  4. Authority to require private developers to contribute to public art or provide art as part of new development projects.
  5. Reconsideration of a local bill to authorize an additional tax on utility bills to provide funding to put overhead power distribution lines underground. 
  6. Authorization of a $1.00 per-ticket fee on tickets priced at $30 or higher for events at large venues, with the revenue being earmarked for public transportation and public safety funding.

Statewide Issues:


Revenue matters:


  1. Support for additional revenue options for local governments, including:
    1. Real estate transfer tax, perhaps earmarked for specific public uses such as transportation improvements or open space preservation.
    2. Gas tax.
    3. Vehicle registration fee.
    4. Half cent sales tax.


  1. Support for flexibility in using transportation funds historically earmarked for road improvements for other transportation-related needs, including signal systems, public transportation and bicycle and pedestrian oriented improvements.
  2. Support legislative review of the formula used to distribute state and federal moneys for transportation improvements across the state.


Environmental matters:


  1. Support for other legislative initiatives and incentives that will encourage and promote the use of energy efficient construction methods by public agencies and the private sector, including but not limited to:
    1. Authority to provide incentives (grants or rebates) to private property owners installing renewable energy producing systems in existing as well as new development.
    2. Authority to require private development to meet energy conservation standards as part of construction by adjustments to the state building code.
    3. State grants or other incentives to local public agencies whose construction projects meet energy conservation standards or which install renewable energy producing systems.
  2. Support for legislation that promotes development and use of renewable energy resources.
  3. Support enactment of legislation to promote waste reduction and reduce the waste stream going into local landfills, including the recycling of beverage containers, a beverage container deposit act and other initiatives that promote the growth of the recycling of materials as an industry.
  4. Oppose proposed legislation that would allow cutting of trees along highway right of way to enhance visibility of outdoor advertising signs.


Other Legislative issues:


  1. Support adjustments to increase the scope of the homestead tax exemption.
  2. Support for legislative efforts to study/reconsider State law on the imposition of capital punishment.
  3. Support the League of Municipalities’ position regarding protecting the State’s current annexation law.
  4. Oppose any proposed Constitutional amendment defining marriage as only the union of one man and one woman.
  5. Support the repeal of the North Carolina Defense of Marriage Act.
  6. Include sexual orientation as a category under North Carolina hate crimes law.
  7. Support the repeal of N.C.G.S. 95-98 and replace it with a law that would establish collective bargaining rights for public employees.


Other State funding issues:


  1. Support for additional funding for:
    1. Mental health treatment programs
    2. Technology to enhance emergency services communication and  communication between the justice system and public safety personnel
    3. Pre-kindergarten educational programs
    4. Gang awareness and interdiction programs
    5. Fire protection services provided to state facilities.
  2. Support State funding of the State Highway Patrol 800MHz trunked radio system known as VIPER (Voice Interoperability Project for Emergency Responders).
  3. Support an adjustment to the law enforcement supplemental retirement program to provide that each agency where a retiree worked shall contribute a pro rata portion of the retirement allowance.




That the Council make any adjustments to the attached resolution it deems appropriate to express the Council’s interests and priorities and then adopt it.




Following tonight’s meeting we will forward the Council’s adopted resolution to our delegation.  Where feasible we will include draft language on local bills and references to other bills that have been prepared in prior years that reflect the local bills of interest to the Town.