Sunday, November 18, 2007

Annexation Study Committee is Officially Announced

Speaker of the House Rep. Joe Hackney officially announced the formation of the Annexation Study Committee on Friday.
Details of the Committee’s agenda and the members of the Committee were included in the announcement. You can view the Legislative document online at:

Below is the list of appointed members:

Seven of the Commission Legislators sponsored at least one annexation reform Bill. (names in bold) Many of them put their name on several of the twenty-four Bills written to reform forced annexation in various ways, which were introduced last session.

This is an encouraging departure from the numerous past studies of annexation that appointed few reform Legislators to the past committees.

These Legislators are carrying forward the thankless and mostly fruitless hard work of past Legislators who have tried to reform the annexation laws against heavy odds since the laws were enacted 28 years ago.

Two non-legislators were appointed to the committee; one being Mr. Doug Aitken of the Moore County StTOP group, representing his gated community of Pinewild, and who is also President of this same group’s fledgling Statewide Coalition effort, FAC. The Fair Annexation Coalition has lobbied hard since their inception in early 2007 to steer the legislative efforts toward another study. Looks like they’ve succeeded handily.

The second non-legislator on the committee is Professor Judith Wegner, the Burton Craige Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina, School of Law, the school’s former dean, and a former president of the Association of American Law Schools. She teaches State Local Government Law at UNC, Chapel Hill. Ms.Wegner also put her name on a “friend of the court brief” filed on behalf of the City of New London in the infamous Supreme Court case; Kelo vs. New London, CT.
(Big gun for the cities perhaps?)

It will be interesting to see what does come out of this additional study of NC Annexation Law.
SNCA continues to have concerns, to say the least, about whether another study would achieve anything different than what has resulted from the numerous past studies undertaken.
If history is repeated in this current study, the results could be some minor tweaking of the laws for the affected property owners that wouldn’t amount to much change.

In these studies, the cities have ended up with expansions of their annexation power as a result of concessions they lobby for in the committee meetings.

Your tax dollars at work folks.
(see the Resources Page of for the minutes of past studies)

Given the makeup of this new Study Committee, it should be interesting to follow and has the potential produce some surprises.

We will know come May 2008,…..but everyone needs to realize that to those who support true comprehensive reform that restores TO ALL of the people in NC, their right of consent to additional taxes and another layer of government, this study committee that we find ourselves with is going to require active ongoing input and participation.

The facts are this; once this Committee makes its final decision and recommends any changes, the General Assembly will be less open to considering any further needed changes for quite some time. If our game plan was to work on lobbying for incremental changes every legislative session, then another study commission is a major obstacle to that approach.

In order to persuade this committee to reform the law in 2008 in a way that would be acceptable to every affected citizen across NC it is CRITICAL that the many supporters of reform play a part by writing to legislators, attend the meetings at every opportunity, and be ready to present your case against forced annexation to the committee when you are given that chance.

This Committee needs to see the numbers of people who oppose forced annexation and hear their voice about what needs to change!

The broad based support of the goals of StopNCAnnexation over the last several years, from your coming to Raleigh for the annual ‘SNCA Rally in Raleigh’, to your timely responses to SNCA’s email update requests for letters and calls to legislators has made the real difference. Your grassroots activism has achieved the original goal of encouraging and motivating many more legislators to take a principled stand against the special interest lobbyists of the NC League of Municipalities. Every year for the last several years the number of introduced Bills has multiplied exponentially. Your years of committed activism has brought us this far. No one would like to see the momentum that has been built over time squandered by a study that achieves nothing comprehensive and substantial. It’s time to “raise the roof”!

We cannot let this study end up derailing the momentum for real democratic reform.
NO MORE “tweaks”!
NO MORE “givebacks” to the cities! They have lobbied for too much power already.
Restore to the people their pre-1959 right to have a say in the decision to be annexed.

I encourage you to stay informed about the Committee meetings and follow their progress closely. If you can in any way manage to attend any of these meetings, it would be a very important and useful thing to do if you care about changing forced annexation. There will be committee meetings held in various places across the State to give more people the ability to attend.

We all do need to take advantage of the opportunities when the meeting is anywhere closer to where you live. Numbers in the audience matters.

In order to keep you informed, I will be attending all of the meetings unless something unavoidable makes it impossible. the SNCA email list and website blog will be updated with a report on what the committee discussed at each meeting.

If you know someone who might not be on the SNCA list who has an interest in the outcome of this study committee, please encourage them to go to the website to sign up for the updates or email me with the request to subscribe.

This would be a good time to write to these Legislators and Speaker Hackney to thank them for the time and effort that they will be putting into a thorough examination of the practice of forced annexation in North Carolina. Let them know that there are many citizens watching what they do with careful interest and are expecting them to listen to the folks on the top of the State’s organizational chart, _ the citizens and voters of NC.

Also a word of thanks to Rep. C. Thomas for his hard work as a freshman legislator in support of reform.

In order to gather a show of widespread grassroots support for reform of annexation that SNCA can take to the Annexation Study Commission, SNCA will be adding to the website a place where you can sign up as a ‘Supporter of Reform’. Please encourage others to add their name to this database as a show of grassroots support for more than just a few more tweaks to the law.

And please consider sending any size contribution toward the efforts of SNCA in order to help make it possible to travel to the various locations where the meetings might be held. Your help to keep the StopNCAnnexation website resources online and available to annexation victims and supporters of reform across North Carolina will be appreciated by SNCA and those whom it has helped.

The StopNCAnnexation website continues to be #1 on website searches for “annexation, NC”. The site is accessed by around 100 individuals a day who spend time looking for information.

You help to make this possible by financially supporting the expense of making these resources available.

Thank you,

Cathy Heath

Organizer, Chair, researcher, and webmaster

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is all hope lost for a study of NC Annexation Law this year?

No, _all is not lost.
The annexation study amendment was unanimously passed by the House on the last evening of the session, but the entire Omnibus Study Bill, SB1256, which the annexation study is amended to, is in limbo due to the Senate going home without voting to concur to the amended version. The Senate left the Study Bill hanging in limbo.

There appears to be a strong commitment from the House leadership to make a study of annexation a reality.
The House voted to adopt the annexation study amendment 102 to zero.

There are options that can make the study a reality.
1) The General Assembly can come back to Raleigh in a special session to ratify the Omnibus Study Bill
2) The Speaker of the House has authority to create a special study commission without a Bill.
We aren't quite there yet, though the prospects look good.

The official Senate position on reforming annexation is not good for getting the needed reforms.
The annexation study is presently caught up in a larger internal battle over other legislation and other studies that are included and excluded from the Omnibus Study Bill.

For the people calling for annexation reform, the Senate's position on this issue is something that we need to work to change. We all need to identify the Senators that support reform and those that don't and won't be convinced to change. If they won't change, then we need to do all that is possible to "change" their status as lawmakers for the people of NC.

On the last night of the Legislative session, Rep. Bruce Goforth made a statement on the floor of the House regarding the difficulty of working with the Senate to get legislation passed that truly reflects the wishes of the people rather than a small group that controls this elected body. When he made the statement, and expressed the need to "take back the Senate for the people" I wanted to stand up and shout "Amen".

The following excerpt of his statement was reported in the Asheville Citizen-Times. I've included the quote below along with a excerpt from an entry from John Hood's Daily Journal:

“It’s more of a dictatorship in the Senate,” said Goforth, of East Asheville. “You’ve got four or five people, maybe two, calling every shot over there.”

"As for the broader question that Goforth brings up, about the extent to which power in the North Carolina Senate tends to be far more concentrated than in the House, I agree. But I wonder how many House members would go along with the policies likely to be needed to democratize the place: term limits, session limits, changes in campaign finance laws, and a redistricting commission charged with the task of drawing political boundaries to maximize competition and minimize incumbency protection.After all, we can’t count on scandals and federal prosecution alone to ensure consultative leadership and rotation in office."
John Hood's Daily Journal

We all have to get involved in the primaries and November elections across the State and send the Senate a message from the voting booth about how important annexation reform is to the people.

You can view the amendment to Senate Bill 1256 on the StopNCAnnexation website using this link:

This issue has life and is moving forward because of the efforts of everyone who has written and called the Legislators!
Thank you for standing firm on the fight to reform the annexation law.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Going to Incredible Lengths

Update on Annexation Study, H86

The proponents of annexation reform have been assured repeatedly that "There WILL be study of annexation in this year's legislation".

So where are we with this now that the 2007 Legislative Session is over?

In spite of the assurances, I ended up spending the evening of August 2 observing the final hours of House business on the floor, so I could see and hear for myself whether the "omnibus study bill"- SB1256, was going to include a study of annexation.

What I witnessed was a bit of last minute drama regarding the inclusion of an annexation study.

The Omnibus Study Bill had been hashed out in a joint conference that afternoon. The result of that House/Senate conference was the removal of the annexation study by the Senate. The Senate stood strongly opposed to any study of annexation. Rules Committee Chair Rep. Owens gave me an explanation of why the Senate opposed an annexation study, which I will share later.

But back to the final hours of the House debate.

Sometime shortly after the joint conference, some of the House members who have been working to reform the annexation statutes found out that the annexation study had been removed by the Senate. An objection was raised regarding the removal. There must have been some significant objection, although how many or which Representatives raised the objection, is unknown to me. The objection was sent to the Senate to try and reconcile the differences by amendment before the Bill would be voted on.

When the Omnibus Study Bill was introduced to the floor of the House, Rep. Owens gave a somewhat lengthy explanation about what had happened and stated that the House was awaiting an amendment from the Senate that would add the annexation study back to the Bill.

From what I heard, the amendment was received and the House voted on the Study Bill with the amendments.
Afterward, I spoke to several Representatives about the annexation study and was told that the Senate agreed to an annexation study that did not include participation by Senate members. The Study Bill would be a "House only" study of annexation reform.

In my conversation with Rep. Owens, he explained that the Senate was opposed because they remembered how the study of annexation done in 2001 or 2002 brought SO MANY people to the General Assembly, taking up SO MUCH of their time, that it was nearly impossible for them to "get anything done". Hmmm......

Since, from all appearances, the fact that the amendment adding the annexation study was received and included in the House vote to approve the Omnibus Study Bill, I asked a couple of Legislators where I could get a copy of the amendment. I was directed to the office on the first floor where the Bills and drafts are printed. When I went to the office, I was told that a copy of the amendment would not be available for a couple of days. I'm still waiting for it, and I doubt that the amendment itself will ever be available to the public.

I am greeted this morning by an article from the Associated Press stating that the Omnibus Study Bill as amended and approved by the House, which included the annexation study, didn't get a confirming vote from the Senate before the 2007 legislative session ended.
Here is a link to the story posted on the Eyewitness News 9 WNCT.COM website:

NC Legislature goes home without "studies" bill

I've been trying to reach key legislators to ask them what is going on with the annexation study and Rep.Goforth is the only one who called back. I also spoke to his Assistant, Ann Jordan. She was very helpful to my understanding the status of the annexation study.

Regardless of whether the Senate "finalized" the Study Bill topics that the House version included, IF the annexation study was going to be done, the final version of the Study Bill would reflect that. IT DOESN'T.

I've looked for the study in SB1256, someone at JLF has looked for it, Rep. Goforth's LA has looked for it and a reporter from the Asheville Citizen-Times has looked for it.
Take a look and see if you can find any reference to annexation in it at all.

Looks like more undercover legislative 'slight-of-hand' to me, which has been the way the efforts to reform annexation have handled ever since last fall.

There are two possibilities left for an annexation reform study to become a reality this year; the ratified bill has some blank sections that could possibly be used to add another study after the fact, OR Speaker Hackney could authorize a study using General Statute 120-19.6. But that would depend on Speaker Hackney being convinced that the annexation study should be undertaken.

More phone calls and letters anyone?
Even though the 2007 Session is officially over, the doors and offices of the legislators remain staffed and open. You can send them your thoughts about the annexation issue and how the citizens call for reform is being shuffled around the dance floor.

It seems that our current crop of legislators still contain far too many who would go to incredible lengths to bow to the wishes of the tax funded lobbyists of the Municipal League.

It will be far more important to get seriously involved in the November elections on behalf of the annexation reform effort than anything else we can do. We need to get more people elected and unelected on whether they think the the current NC annexation laws "are good for NC"!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Fate of the "Study" Bill; H86

There has been absolutely NO official movement on House Bill 86, which the Rules Committee brought to the table unannounced on May 30th. At this meeting a committee subsitute was considered and plans for the June 13th Public Hearing were discussed.

Here we are eight weeks later.

The Public Hearing was five weeks ago.

What is the status of the Bill?? WHO KNOWS !!?

Everything about the status of annexation reform in the legislature continues to be wrapped in a mystery and shrouded in a cloak of secrecy.

Here's a history of that in a nutshell:

  1. There were 17 statewide Bills and 7 local Bill introduced this session that attempted to revise or reform the current annexation laws in some way.
  2. None of the Statewide Bills and only one of the local Bills were ever brought to the table for discussion in any Committee before the "cut off" date.
  3. On May 30th, after the cut off date, one local Bill was brought up for discussion in the Rules Committee, (otherwise known as "the graveyard" for Bills).
  4. The decision to put the Bill on the table for discussion was not on the calendar (which I was checking) that notifies the public. WE would NOT have been aware of the discussion, if not for someone who happened to be there notifying the annexation reform advocates.
  5. A committee subsitute for H86 was distributed to the Rules Committee, but this revision has never been posted to the General Assembly website. No mention of the Rules Committee discussion of the Bill is noted on the Bill history.
  6. The Public Hearing was not officially advertised in any way until over a week after the meeting. Less than a week before the scheduled date.
    The official "notice" was limited to an internal memo sent to select Representatives directly involved. The only public notice on the hearing came from the media after they saw it announced on the StopNCAnnexation website.
  7. The Public Hearing came, was well attended by citizens asking for reform, has been "spun" by the city lobbyists, and went.
  8. Different legislators are saying different things to me about the fate of the Bill "off the record". Things like this:
    "Yes, it passed out of Rules" "No, it did not" "H86 WILL be heard on the floor of the House and approved" "No, H86 won't be considered as a stand alone Bill. It will be rolled into the Omnibus Study Bill and go from there after the end of the session."

SO WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? And how does a citizen get a straight answer about it?
The following was recently reported by the AP covering the Legislature:

Friday: The House and Senate won't work on Friday after all.
Senate leader Marc Basnight and House Speaker Joe Hackney had told colleagues to prepare for committee meetings and floor session on a day of the week that don't normally meet. They have warned members that they want to close the committees down for the year by next weekend. But after a full day of work Thursday, Basnight and Hackney said there was no need to meet Friday."

Time is running out and we see no progress on the annexation reform issue. I'm beginning to wonder if the issue is being saved as fodder for the upcoming election. If so, it's time for the citizens to send a loud bi-partisan message to those who claim to want to serve the people.

Doug Aitken, of FAC in Moore Co., has emailed Speaker Hackney to request a meeting with him and is still waiting for that meeting. He was actually finally told that the Speaker would not take appointments from anyone else regarding the annexation issue until after the Budget is resolved.

In the meantime, annexation related Bills that expand the reaches and limitations on the cities ability to satellite annex are moving right along through the GA.
Soon there will be few cities left that have to adhere to limiting "satellites" of the city to 10% of the total incorporated area. Urban "islands" will be popping up all over the rural landscape.
More and more cities are beginning to request expansion of their reach from three miles to four.
Where will the legislature draw the line? When Asheville tries to annex some beachfront property?

Frankly, the idea of "studying" the annexation laws seems absurd when one looks at the history of studies that have been done already. It HAS been studied and found wanting.

Yet, the recommendations that the people want and have asked for repeatedly have been repeatedly ignored. Instead, these studies have tweaked the law in small ways only with approval from the tax funded and influential municipal lobbyists.
It's past time to take action and do the right thing for the people of NC.

In order to get the legislature to listen to the people it is going to take a loud roar from the voters. City Council politicians and legislators have been removed from office by the voters over the annexation issue and more evidently need to be removed.

Your VOTE is the only currency that the people should use to deal with elected officials who refuse to listen. No more "Pay to Play" when the power of the people is still at the voting booths.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

StopNCAnnexation Public Hearing Update

FYI.... UNC-TV will be airing a segment about the Public Hearing on annexation!
The story will air Sunday, June 17th @ 1:00 pm.
The show is called Legislative Review.
I think that UNC-TV airs on cable tv across North Carolina.
Check your local listings


The Public Hearing was very interesting.
The turnout of citizens was close to 175.
The citizens attending outnumbered the city lobbyists more than 2 to 1.

It was more likely 3:1.

The people who spoke at the hearing did a VERY good job. Many stories detailing abuses of the law, and the citizens affected, highlighted the problems. Very little repetition, just real stories that should make the representatives realize that they need to do something about it.
Everyone was quite professional and respectful. No one brought signs or did anything else disruptive or rowdy. We followed the rules.

Contrary to what was reported in the News & Observer article the following day, the people DID NOT hiss and boo and every Mayor and suit speaking for the cities.
One speaker did get that treatment, and his name is Ellis Hankins, Director of the NCLM.
NO ONE tried to "shout him down". Shame on the N & O.

The League of Municipalities rallied some Mayors and other city officials to show up and get on the list of speakers. They had a briefing at the NCLM office right before the hearing and walked down to the hearing.

Contrary to the rules prohibiting signs in the Legislative Building,the NCLM passed out white baseball hats to the city boosters that said "We love our Cities and Towns" across the front. They sat there wearing them until the Chair told them that they had to take them off.

Signs are not allowed in the building and they knew that.
They made themselves look ridiculous from the start.

Everyone was told to try not to repeat the same stuff over and over, but that is exactly what every City speaker did. They all said the same thing as if they were reading from a script.

Some of them were League officials and paid lobbyists. I don't know why the legislators would allow paid lobbyists to speak at a public hearing.

The citizens were respectful of all the speakers no matter how outrageous the were the things the city boosters said. All except for Ellis Hankins, the Director of the League.
He was one of the final few speakers and shortly after he started speaking, the audience started with low hissing and then some subdued boo-ing. Mr. Hankins wrapped up his comments quickly after that.

Rep Luebke made it clear in the opening remarks that he thought the annexation laws were wonderful. He stated that if the issue were studied, he didn't want the committee to even consider changing forced annexation. Not an encouraging start to the discussion.

In a post hearing TV interview, Rep. Luebke appeared to have a change of heart to some extent. He told the News 14 reporter that he wanted to see someone from the public that is opposed to the annexation laws included in the study committee.

We still don't know if they will even approve the study yet, and if they do, who will have input. We are still a long way from getting any real reform of the law. The study Bill still has to go to the house floor and win approval.
Keep the letters and phone calls to legislators flowing to Raleigh!

Check the StopNCAnnexation website for links to the news reports and keep checking back for updates on the progress of the study.

Thank you for the continued support of the SNCA effort for reform and thanks for all the action taken by everyone!
This issue is clearly going to have to be an issue in the '07 November election.
Only YOU can make that happen.

Cathy Heath
Ron Thoreson

"It's all about YOU!"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Public Hearing on Forced Annexation!

The General Assembly House Rules Committee is holding aPublic Hearing on Annexation on Wednesday, June 13th!


You don't have to speak, but we need to overflow the auditorium!House Bill 86 has been rewritten as a Study Commission Bill.

The legislators are looking for evidence that this Study needs to be done!
This Study and any good results depend on whether we show up in large numbers!

Those wishing to present comments must either send an email request to:
Joyce Harris (Rep. Luebke) <>

OR mail your request to:

Rep. Paul Luebke
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 529
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

You will have 2 minutes to present your points and you must provide the Rules Committee with a written copy of your comments.

You may also submit your brief written comments to Rep. Luebke's office.

From: Dot Crocker (House Rules)
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 2:32 PM
To: Rosa Kelley (Rep. Thomas); Rep. Charles C. Thomas; Ann Jordan (Rep. Goforth); Rep. D. Bruce Goforth
Subject: Public Hearing for Rules Committee -5-13-07 - Proposed Committee Substitute for HB 86

2007-2008 SESSION
The House Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House will hold a Public Hearing

Day & Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Time: 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Legislative Auditorium

Comments: Pursuant to House Rule 29.1, the chair of the House Rules Committee announces a public hearing to consider a Proposed Committee Substitute for HB 86, Study Municipal Annexation. Persons desiring to appear and be heard shall submit their requests by Tuesday, June 12, to Representative Paul Luebke, Room 529, Legislative Office Building. Also, persons who wish to submit a brief written statement of testimony without oral presentation may, by Tuesday, June 12, submit these statements to Representative Paul Luebke.

Sponsors: Representatives Thomas and Goforth.;
Representative Owens, Chair

I hereby certify this notice was filed by the rules clerk at the following offices at 2:15 o’clock p.m. on June 05, 2007.
X Principal Clerk
X Reading Clerk - House Chamber
Dot Crocker (Rules Clerk)

New 14 report on the Bill and Study
read it HERE and view the video

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Annexation Reform Update - Public Hearing!

There has been an interesting development in the effort to reform the NC Annexation Laws!!

This 2007 Legislative Session saw 17 Bills introduced to reform forced annexation statewide.

There were six local Bills introduced, and Rep Faison introduced a Bill to reverse a forced annexation by the Town of Carrboro.

Every one of the House Bills were sent to the Rules Committee. This is a committee that has been used in the past to kill Bills by never discussing them or moving them forward.
The introduced Bills have to pass on the floor of the House or the Senate before the "crossover date" which was extended to May 24th of this year. Exceptions to this are Study Bills or Bills that require financing decisions. None of the reform Bills moved forward from the House Rules Committee before the crossover.

But the reform effort has many legislators working this year to get something done.
AND the effort has YOU!!
And YOU have been talking to the Legislators in larger numbers than ever before.
Your voice makes a difference!

A difference in the General Assembly AND the media.

The news reports on the issue have been much better this year. The newspaper articles are reporting on the views of the property owners more than before.
Rally in Raleigh made FRONT PAGE NEWS in the News & Observer!
Articles about forced annexation are showing up in more newspapers and TV news reports across NC than ever before telling OUR side of the story.

Now for the REALLY GOOD NEWS !

An annexation reform Bill was passed out of the Rules Committee on Wednesday, May 30th!!

It was not on the schedule for the Rules Committee and it was past the crossover date. But the effort to reform annexation is moving forward!


There will be a PUBLIC HEARING on the annexation issue at the General Assembly in Raleigh.

The Public Hearing is scheduled for June 13th at 5:00 pm.
at the Legislative Building Auditorium on the third floor!

Even if you do not intend to comment, put this on your calendar and BE THERE for the hearing.

This Public Hearing is going to set the stage for the Study Committee that will be formed to look at what needs to be changed in NC Annexation Law.

Please check the StopNCAnnexation website for more information on the Public Hearing and the Study Committee. It is going to take continued input from as many people as possible to make sure that the results of the Study Committee are what the people want_
_NOT what the NCLM WANTS!
Thank you for taking the time to make your voice heard on this issue!

And don't forget to make forced annexation an issue to your County Commissioners also!

Cathy Heath
Ron Thoreson

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Annexation Legislation Update

On Wednesday, March 14th, one annexation reform Bill was discussed by the House Local Government I Committee.
The Bill was Rep. Trudy Walend's local Bill, HB 315, 'Polk Annexation'.

This Bill would prohibit any municipality located in a neighboring County from extending ETJ into or annexing land in Polk Co.
Lake Lure in Rutherford Co. is close enough to perhaps attempt this.

Rep. Walend presented her Bill to the Committee and answered questions from Committee members. She did an excellent job of addressing any concerns that were raised about the Bill, and concerns were definitely raised.

Rep. Walend expressed some surprise at the somewhat last minute opposition voiced about the Bill because she had already discussed the Bill with two other area Representatives and they both had indicated that they were not opposed to the action she was taking.

The front row of spectators sitting in on the meeting was filled with several employees of the NC League of Municipalities and their supporters, including a representative from the NC Metropolitan Coalition, a representative from the NC Association of County Commissioners.
Also sitting with them were representatives for NC Schools.

The Polk Annexation Bill was not the only Bill of concern to the League and friends at this meeting. They were also there to voice issues they had with a Bill introduced by Rep. Cleveland that would tighten up the requirements for governmental bodies regarding notification of special meetings. (HB311) It's a good Bill that would bring much needed reform to meetings notification.
The NCLM had something to say about the problems they had with tighter requirements.

The League lobbyists did not comment about the Polk Annexation Bill. They didn't have to.
Besides the fact that all Legislators know full well that "the League opposes these Bills" when it comes to any that might limit the power enjoyed by cities today, it was my impression that a few of the Legislators on the Committee were doing the talking for them.

The three that expressed the negative comments and concerns were Linda Coleman, Pryor Gibson, and Van Braxton. Rep. Coleman did her best to find problems with limiting ETJ and annexation across County lines and Rep. Gibson was worried about making the Lake Lure Council angry. Rep. Coleman and Braxton raised the spector of how passing a local Bill would start a precedent for other Counties to do the same thing.

Rep. Walend had researched this legislation very well and she quickly responded to that concern by pointing out that there were already other Counties that had this limitation in place. It would not be breaking any new ground to pass this Bill for Polk.

This Bill is far from being passed though. The Committee decided to take no vote on the Bill at that meeting. They decided to have some Committee members work with Rep. Walend on amending the Bill to try and address some of the concerns.

Citizens are going to HAVE to make themselves heard in Raleigh about these annexation reform Bills. With all of the changes that have taken place in the Legislature due to the scandals involving the former leadership, this year is the citizen's opportunity to speak up for change.

There are numerous Annexation Bills that are calling for reform, and they are not being acted upon as quickly as the equally numerous Bills that have been submitted to extend the boundaries of many North Carolina cities. The annexation Bills that expand the cities are sailing through without a problem.

If the Annexation Reform Bills are ever going to get anywhere in the Legislature, this is the year that many, many letters and calls from citizens all across NC just might get some results.

Another way to make the voice for reform heard in Raleigh would be to make plans to clear your schedule for May 9th this year and come to Raleigh to be part of the Citizen Rally for Reform.
This will be a daytime rally. Details will be posted to the website as the date gets closer.

"Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man."-- Thomas Jefferson (Letter to John Cartwright, 5 June 1824)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Legislation Introduced

There have been three more Bills introduced to the House since my last update.
  • *HB 104 Dollar, Boylan and Brown (Primary Sponsors) - ANNEXATION REFERENDUM.

  • *HB 87 Thomas and Goforth (Primary Sponsors) Blackwood, Blust, Boylan, Faison, Pate, Starnes, and Walend- ANNEXATION REFERENDUM.

  • HB 86 Thomas and Goforth (Primary Sponsors) Walend - BUNCOMBE ANNEXATION REFERENDUM.

Newly elected Representatives Charles Thomas and Joe Boylan have hit the ground running on introducing Bills to reform the forced annexation laws of NC and Rep. Larry Brown has been a real champion of this issue this year.

On behalf of all of the citizens of NC who are strongly opposed to this undemocratic and highly abused practice, _THANK YOU!

On the Senate side, there have been no Bills introduced yet, but they are coming, I've been assured. And there will be more Bills from our Representatives in the House.

In this last year, there have been a growing number of County Commissioners who are making their voice and opinion heard regarding the involuntary annexation laws. Resolutions have been passed calling for moratoriums and studies of involuntary annexation.
These County Commissioners are acting independently of the NCACC and taking a stand against the practice on behalf of their REAL consituents, the County residents.

Encourage your County Commissioners to adopt Resolutions like this and ask them to speak to the State Legislators about reforming the law.

There is a deadline for filing Bills sometime in the beginning of March.

Now is the time for YOU, as a citizen, to call, write and phone your legislators (and County Commissioners) and ask for reform of forced annexation.
Your help and encouragement is needed to get these Bills out of Committee and considered on the floor of the Assembly.
Contact information can be easily found on the homepage of the StopNCAnnexation website.

I will be watching the House and Senate calendar and posting updates on any new Bills that are introduced.
Keep checking back here because there are more Bills to come.

Cathy Heath

Monday, February 05, 2007

Annexation Legislation Update

IT'S TIME to ACT - Writing, Calling, and Visiting Our Legislators!!!

'Storm the Gates' with calls, personal visits, and letters calling for Annexation Reform!

The 2007 session of the General Assembly opened on January 24th and this past week some Bills have been introduced that attempt to reform the laws on forced annexation.

Three Bills have been introduced and I will give a brief explanation about what the Bill's are asking for and what they would accomplish.

HB32-Suspend Involuntary Annexation

This Bill would freeze any Forced Annexations that are still in process by a Municipality.
It also sets up a Blue Ribbon Committee to once again, study the Involuntary Annexation Laws. This Committee is appointed by the leaders of the House and the Senate and the Committee members are all legislators.

Last year's Study Bill introduced by Nelson Dollar put non-legislative people who oppose forced annexation at the table as participants in the discussion. With this Bill, there is no guarantee that ANYONE on the Committee is opposed to forced annexation or could knowledgably argue against it.

HB56-Annexation Service

This Bill would protect any property owners who have Water & Sewer services that are supplied by a City, County, or Sanitary District Authority, and Fire & Safety services contracted under a HOA, from being forcibly annexed.
It does not protect property owners who are currently using their own private water and waste treatment, or community service, and that is a lot of people.
Planned Communities and Homeowner Association neighborhoods that are currently served by government supplied Water & Sewer become exempt from ever being annexed, but this Bill leaves many individual property owners who have private systems still at risk!
While the passage of the Bill would be helpful to many people, it falls far short of equal protection for all property owners and does not restore to all NC property owners the right to decide whether to become part of a city or not.

HB60-Moore Annexation Referendum

This Bill is a Local Bill that restores the right to decide and gives voting rights on annexation to the property owners in Moore Co.
There are other areas around NC that, in the past, have successfully gotten local legislation passed to provide the right to vote on annexation. We sincerely hope for better success for them than the property owners living around Kernersville had in 2004 in getting this legislation passed.

Needless to say, SNCA and it's supporters are still asking (should I say DEMANDING!) and waiting for legislation that would provide this same right to decide to EVERYONE equally across the State of North Carolina.

With every hurdle, and every special interest, that tries to stand in the way of getting good reform legislation passed, it is CRITICAL that the General Assembly hear from the thousands of citizens that want (or DEMAND) that their unalienable right to have a vote on annexation be restored _ to EVERY CITIZEN OF NC.

We've been updating the website with tools and information to help you to reach the legislators with an effective argument against forced annexation.
Please check it out:

You might also want to read what the League is saying about the Bills.


This is what the NCLM is saying about the 2007 Bills:

Anti-annexation bills introduced

Rep. Larry Brown of Forsyth County has introduced HB 32 – Suspend Involuntary Annexations to prohibit cities and towns from beginning or continuing any city-initiated annexations until a legislative study commission submits a report to the 2009 General Assembly. The commission would study whether current statutes provide adequate protection to property owners.

HB 56 – Annexation Service (Reps. Larry Brown, Joe Boylan and Bill Faison) would prohibit city-initiated annexation of any area that already receives substantial urban services, defined as water and sewer provided by a municipality, county, sanitary district, water and sewer authority or other unit of government; and fire and police protection and road maintenance provided by an association with a governing board elected by its membership (services can be provided directly by the association or by contract).

HB 60 – Moore Annexation Referendum (Rep. Joe Boylan) making annexations in Moore County subject to a referendum upon petition of 10 percent of the voters in the proposed annexation area.

The League opposes all of these bills, although we do not oppose additional study of the issue.


Another item on the League of Municipalities Legislative Agenda is their goal to remove the County Commissioners, once and for all, from having any say over whether cities can expand their enforcement of ordinances beyond their city limits by extending Extra Territorial Jurisdiction over unincorporated property owners up to three miles outside of the city boundaries.

The County Commissioners are the last representative voice for the people living outside of, but near, a city. The Cities, through the League, want to take your voice and vote away from you, yet again. Write, call, and visit YOUR County Commissioners and let them know that the Cities and the NCLM are trying to do this. Some of them don't even know about this. They need to hear from you about it.

It is highly doubtful that the NC Association of County Commissioners will take a stand against the League of Municipalities on the ETJ issue. They are probably bartering with the League for support on the Medicaid issue.

Encourage your County Commissioners to oppose any legislation that would give the cities this expansion of unchecked power by speaking to them directly.
Encourage them to also pass Resolutions against Forced Annexation similar to those passed by Buncombe Co, Forsyth Co, Wayne Co, Hoke Co, and Moore Co.

Ask the County Commissioners that pass resolutions to take those resolutions to their local State Legislators, asking the Legislators to support reform of annexation and get Bills that are introduced PASSED INTO LAW.

We will be watching the General Assembly all Session and reporting to you on Bills introduced and any action taken on Annexation Bills. We will continue to encourage you to be the best lobbyists that any issue can have, the voting citizens speaking out.

Remember also that the League of Municipalities is holding their annual Town Hall Day on May 9th this year.
SNCA will be coordinating another Citizen Rally in Raleigh to counter this lobbying effort by the League of Municipalities. Please add this to your calendar and make plans to attend. Spread the word and encourage others to attend.

In 2005, the League had 400 attend the Town Hall Day.
STOPNCANNEXATION had 100 people come to the Rally in Raleigh and successfully got the attention of the Legislators and the media.

In 2006, the League pushed hard to increase their attendance and had 600 attend.
The STOPNCANNEXATION Rally brought around 100 people to Raleigh and once again had a successful presence and impact on the legislators.

This year is a critical year to get the message to the Legislators that we are seriously demanding reform of annexation and want our right to a vote on annexation restored.
The Legislators need to see a huge crowd of people at their doorstep in Raleigh this year.
Let's all commit to MAKING SOME NOISE in Raleigh this year!!

Thank you,

C Heath _