Saturday, June 28, 2008

HB2367 - "NOT A Moratorium" Bill

HB2367, the Moratorium Bill, now The "NOT A Moratorium" Bill, is on the House schedule for Monday. The Monday session starts at 7:00 pm. The word going around is that the session is expected to be kept short so the 'Not a Moratorium' Bill might be pushed over to Tuesday.

What will be the fate of HB2367? Why is it's fate critical to the annexation reform effort as a whole?
We have all known that this battle for meaningful reform was going to be a David vs Goliath struggle between the people and the City Lobbyists. We also quickly realized that the Leadership of the House AND Senate are resisting the citizens calls for real reform. Whether the Leadership has decided to align itself with the City Lobbyists over the people or not, this is how it appears.

Speaker Hackney told The Asheville Citizen-Times that "the current annexation law that we have in North Carolina has been good for North Carolina."
It sounds to me like he was quoting the Director of the NCLM. When some citizens at the 2007 Rally spoke to him about annexation reform he suggested that they take their grievances to the NC League of Municipalities. Was he telling us who is in charge of The Peoples House by suggesting this course of action?

These facts have made the fate of HB2367 a critcal skirmish in this battle for reform. WE must push back hard on the House and Senate Leadership as to what is happening to the very first Bill to come out of the House Annexation Study Committee.

When this Moratorium Bill went into the Judiciary II Committee is was intact. When it came out it was a toothless sham. It doesn't merit the Title of a Moratorium Bill because it is NOT a moratorium as it is. WE have to get that changed before it is voted out of the House.

Watch this short video of the Judicairy II meeting where the teeth were pulled:
Judiciary II Meeting Video

There was no discussion of the true impact of the amendment. It was not explained clearly. The Committee was told that the proposed amendment would "just allow the cities to plan" during the moratorium. The Committee members did not question the details of what they were being asked to vote for. The amendment was rushed through to a voice vote. Did any of them know that this was going to be the fate of the Bill ahead of time? Can we blame them all for what happened? We will never know for sure.

On the later second amendment that changed the moratorium dates, Rep. Folwell was the lone no vote.

But this we do know; the damage to the Bill must be reversed before the Bill is passed out of the House. If not, the Bill will be a victory for the City Lobbyists. If they win this skirmish, how much harder will it be to stop their efforts later when meaningful reform is on the table?

Here is what I suggest that we, the people, do:

Every member of the House must hear from all of us immediately. Every email should copy Speaker Joe Hackney. What we say should be concise and firm.
House Contact information


Dear Representative,

The Judiciary II Committee Subsitiute for HB2367 is a gutted Bill. It has been amended to where it is no longer a moratorium at all.

We are asking you to restore HB2367 to 'Version I'. This version was overwhelmingly voted out of the Finance Committee in a bi-partisan show of support for the recommendations of the House Select Committee to Study Municipal Annexation.

The Judiciary II Committee substitute for HB2367 is NOT a moratorium.

The House Study Committee recommended a MORATORIUM. We the people want a moratorium. Stand up and make this right when it comes before you on the floor of the House next week.

Thank you,

House Leadership, Joe Hackney 919-733-3451 Email:

Together, we ARE being heard in the General Assembly, and together we CAN push back against the undue influence of the City Lobbyists and sold out Legislators.

This recent blog post to the JLF Locker Room Blog illustrates what the City advocates want to do to this Moratorium Bill and to us:
"Moratorium Sham"

Cathy Heath

"Who will govern the governors? There is only one force in the nation that
can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves. They alone, if well informed, are capable of preventing the corruption of power, and of restoring the nation to its rightful course if it should go astray. They alone are the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government"
-- Thomas Jefferson

Full list of House Member Email:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Moratorium Update

The House Finance Committee has voted the moratorium Bill through and it moves to the House Judiciary. Watching the Finance Committee was interesting to say the least.
In the gallery, the citizens of NC were well represented by people from many areas across NC.

Doug Aitken, Ron Van Hoover, and Tony Tetterton spoke decisively on behalf of reform.

The NCLM was there with the presence of Andrew Romanet and a gaggle of city planners he claimed to be speaking for.

Also there for the cities was Beau Mills of the Metropolitan Coaltion, another branch of the City Lobbyists. They sure look a bit too comfortable as they move among the legislators, but Andy Romanet actually tried to sound humble when he went to the podium to speak. Someone must of told him to tone down the arrogance. He even tried to be funny by feigning ignorance. He claimed that he didn't know the definition of "minion", a noun that was used by supporters of reform to describe him.

Rep McComas comments about the use of forced annexation being a vicious circle of abuse were great and they reflected an informed honesty about how cities are using forced annexation. Most of the legislators who spoke in favor of the moratorium were refreshingly knowledgable about the reality of how forced annexation has serious problems.

The bottom line regarding what's wrong with forced annexation was best expressed by Rep Faison when he said that forced annexation was "...taxation without representation" and that it was a "taking".

Rep Stam should be thanked for proposing a roll call vote on the Bill. The minority on the Committee tried to block that but were unsuccessful. The vote was 25 to 4 in favor of the moratorium. So the Bill moves to the House Judiciary Committee. In regard to that, I came across this interesting blog on the E-Lee Dispatch:

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Love Has Key Hand in Annexation Bill
Bill Lands In His Committee

The issue of a moratorium on forced annexation (see prior post on issue) has cleared the Senate and gone to the House Judiciary Committee, where Jimmy Love (D-Lee) is vice chair. Representative Love is scheduled to chair the next meeting of the House Judiciary Committee.

He has indicated his support for the bill as long as it applies only to forced annexation and expects the bill to clear the committee with little difficulty. Representative Love said that sponsors of the bill have indicated to him that they have the votes on the House floor to pass the legislation.
Posted by L. Keith Clark at 1:09 PM

So the focus needs to be on the Senate. There is a lot of individual support in the Senate, but the Senate leadership is clearly in no mood to cooperate on the move toward annexation reform.
Senator Basnight, Senator Rand, Senator Holliman, and Senator Soles all need to hear from a lot of people.
R.C. Soles continues to treat badly those people he helped the Mayor of Bolton forcibly annex without their knowledge.

It might be time to have a letter campaign to the Senators. Not email, but an actual letter delivered by the post office. Emails get lost in the hundreds that arrive in the inboxes and are easy to ignore. Stacks of letters being delivered are not that easy to overlook.

Senator Brock and Senator Berger deserve our clear support for their vocal, public and eloquent support for reform of forced annexation. All the other Senators who support reform NEED our support.

Here's a list of the Senate Majority Leadership:

President: Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue
President Pro Tempore: Senator Marc Basnight
Deputy President Pro Tempore: Senator Charlie Smith Dannelly
Permanent Democratic Caucus Chairman: Senator R. C. Soles, Jr.
Majority Leader: Senator Tony Rand
Majority Whip: Senator Katie G. Dorsett
Democratic Caucus Secretary: Senator Charles W. Albertson