Latest News and Events
In the question and answer between Rep. Jackson and the bill sponsor, Rep. Biship, you can see that House Bill 2 does a lot more than address bathrooms in Charlotte. The new law does away with wrongful discharge lawsuits in North Carolina for reasons of sex, color, religion, race, age, disability, and natural origin.
Rep. Jackson provides a couple of real cases that will no longer have a case in state court.
February 8, 2016 eNewsletter
The Long Session May Be Over, But We Are Staying Busy.
Even though the North Carolina General Assembly will not be back in session until the end of April, that does not mean nothing is going on. In fact, the Speaker has appointed me to five non-standing committees that are meeting in between the long and short sessions. I am serving as a member on: House Select Committee on Step Therapy, Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee, Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Capital Improvement, Committee on Regulatory and Rate Issues in Insurance, Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, and as an advisory member of the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee. We have already begun meeting in most of these and I expect many more meetings to take place before coming back into session.
I am also busy attending events out in the District, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrations, Grand Openings, town board meetings, Chamber of Commerce events, etc. House District 39 is a wonderful place and there is always something going on and something to do.
State Health Plan
In the news last week were proposed changes to the State Health Plan for teachers, state employees, and retirees. Many people (me included) were caught off guard by the proposed changes that were discussed at a meeting on January 26th and were scheduled for a vote on February 5th. Legislators were contacted by many of their constituents with emails and calls. Differing information was out in the public sphere and so many of my colleagues joined me in a letter to the SHP Board of Trustees asking for a delay in Friday’s vote and for someone to meet with us as a group to explain the different proposals, reasoning, and potential alternatives. Here is the letter we sent:
On that same day, it was announced that the Board would only vote on some changes for the 2017 plan year, but would take no votes in regards to elimination of any types of plans or coverage. http://www.wral.com/state-health-plan-will-put-off-discussion-of-controversial-changes/15314935/. On Friday, I attended the Board’s meeting. State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced that a controversial long-term cost savings proposal of cutting the 80/20 plan is "off the table" going forward. Newer, lower premium proposals were also introduced. There were six speakers that spoke during the public comment period, including representatives for SEANC, NCAE, Universities, SEIU, and the retirees. I spoke last and, just as requested in the above letter, I asked for a delay on the controversial proposals and doing away with any no premium options and more cost shifting to plan members. On a close vote, the Board agreed and pushed off these decisions until May 1. You can read more about the meeting here. I am very hopeful that this pause will give leadership at the General Assembly time to further explain what is meant by the directive to the SHP to achieve significant cost savings as well as to consider other alternatives than further shifting costs to our employees and retirees. This problem was created by the General Assembly (not the State Health Plan Board) and ultimately the power to fix it lies with leadership.
The loud rejoicing rising over Garner last week, was the DOT decision not to recommend moving forward with the Red Route in the 540 project. Mayor Williams is shown here in this picture with a map of the chosen combination of Orange-Green-Mint-Green Route. You can read more about the decision in a story by WRAL.
In order to select a Preferred Alternative for the project, the following steps will be completed:
• Hold an interagency meeting to discuss the draft Preferred Alternative Report.
• Interagency 30-day comment period for the draft Preferred Alternative Report.
• Hold an interagency meeting to finalize the Preferred Alternative Report.
• Publish the final Preferred Alternative Report.
• Announce the Preferred Alternative.
- The NC Alcohol Beverage Control Commission is in the midst of an Underage Drinking Prevention Campaign. On the website parents can find lots of information for themselves and their kids. I especially encourage everyone to take the time to watch the videos. You have probably seen some of them on television. Very powerful and moving videos. http://www.talkitoutnc.org/
- We all know that House District 39 is a great place to live. Now so will everyone else. Garner and Knightdale both made the top ten on this list of the cheapest and greatest places to live in NC. Clayton, which is right next door to District 39, was also on the list. http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/north-ca…/most-affordable-nc
A few weeks ago, I attended the ribbon cutting for the new Garner police headquarters and the unveiling of their wonderful mural. You can read more about the ceremony and the history of the mural here.
Tina and I also got to attend the unveiling of this wonderful new exhibit at the Museum of History. Mrs. Willie Kay was the grandmother of Ms. Wanda Kay who has been serving as my Legislative Assistant the last 6 months while Ms. Angela got to take some much deserved time off. We really enjoyed the exhibit and I would certainly encourage everyone to stop by the museum and see the exhibit in the coming months.
Don’t Forget: New Building Bond on March Ballot
Voters statewide will decide during the primary in March whether North Carolina should borrow $2 billion for scores of government construction projects. Read more here. As you may remember, I voted in favor of the bond bill, which includes a new Engineering Building (seen above) and Plant Sciences Building at NCSU, a Vet/Food/Drug/Motor Fuels Lab in Wake County, and $12,595,127 for Wake Technical Community College for new construction, repairs, and renovations. To read more on the campaign in support of the bond click here: http://connect.nc.gov/ or against the bond, click here: http://againstthebond.com/. Back in December, I spoke on a panel in support of the bond. http://www.wcsr.com/Insights/News/2015/December/Womble-Carlyle-Hosts-NC-Lawmakers-Policy-Leaders-for-Government-Affairs-Presentation
No matter what your position is on the bond proposal, I hope you will turn out and vote March 15 and make your opinion known.
Upcoming Events in District 39
- Join the Town of Knightdale for another first. The Cupid Run will be held on Saturday, February 13th at Knightdale Station Park. The 5k walk/run will begin at 9:30am. The Participant fee is $15. Don't forget to wear your Valentine's Day best. Registrations will continue through race day after January 25th, but will not include a toboggan. https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/Knightdale/CupidRun
- Business After Hours in Zebulon| Dallas Pearce Realty. Date: February 18, 2016. Time: 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM EST.
- Art Exhibition: Thou Art Black Church. A special art exhibition in the front lobby of Garner Performing Arts Center (742 W. Garner Road) will feature the art of Willie Bigelow, Wendy Dickerson (a big shout out to my neighbor!), Shawn Etheridge, Eric McRay, Jermaine Powell and LeGrant Taylor. The art will be on display Jan. 15 through Feb. 29 and can be viewed Monday-Friday 1:30–5 p.m. and during events.
- Garner Showcase of Talent. 2/27/2016. Free shows Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Garner will prove once again that "we've got talent." Come see your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors in the spotlight. Make sure you're there for this Garner tradition--you just might see the stars of tomorrow before they make it big.
When in session, I encourage folks to feel free to stop by my office (1013 Legislative Building) or send me an email at email@example.com if you ever need anything. When out of session as we are until April 25, 2016, I encourage you to call the office to schedule an appointment if you want to meet. If you prefer email, please include at least the city or area in which you live. I would like to respond to all emails, but especially those from my district. I look forward to hearing from and working with you. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.
Also, if you find yourself looking for a job, don’t forget to check out the State Government Job Offerings now being advertised at:
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