Two Bills to repeal the recent forced annexations by the cities of Kinston and Lexington were discussed and voted on in the House Government Committee of the Legislature.
There was great attendance by citizens belonging to communities fighting forced annexation. OLCAFA, Rowan Good Neighbors, CUAFA and others were there. Freedomworks representatives were also in attendance.
Big thanks to all for driving to Raleigh in spite of the snow and for the sacrifices you made to be there.
Rep. Larry Brown Chairs the House Government Committee.
House Bill 5 - Repeal Kinston Annexation
Introduced by Rep. Stephen LaRoque.
Rep LaRoque explained and defended the bill forcefully and eloquently today. He stood up for the people he represents who have no other voice to defend them on their behalf when it comes to forced annexation.
It was wonderful to be present and to hear a State Representative stand so strong for the people being harmed by forced annexation and against the arrogant entitlement attitude that the city officials and their lobbyists and Legislative advocates have come to have over the years.
The arrogance of the cities was apparent in the questions that their advocates asked and the statements that were made in opposition to the Bills.
Rep Alma Adams was more concerned about whether the Kinston City Council had approved the repeal than whether the citizens harmed by the forced annexation were being represented or were being helped by the repeal.
Rep. Leubke took the several opportunities he was given to address concerns about the Bill to remind the Committee that the Annexation Study Commission that he co-chaired had recommended House Bill 524 to "fix" the annexation laws. If you recall, H524 was the Annexation Study Committee Bill that included nearly ALL of the League of Municipalities recommendations, would have created MORE financial harm for the victims of forced annexation, and was soundly rejected by the citizens asking for an end to forced annexation.
Let it go Rep. Leubke, let it go. Stop trying to resurrect a very bad Bill that deserved to die.
The new talking point from the League of Municipalities (NCLM) appears to be to accuse the State Legislature of MEDDLING in the affairs of the city governments.
Do the city advocates really believe that the State Legislature has no right to regulate the affairs of the cities?
Have they forgotten that the NC Consitution defines cities as "creatures of the State" and it is not the other way around?
Several of the Representatives on the Committee who were clearly acting as mouthpieces for the City Lobbyists voiced concern that the State was meddling. This accusation was, in my opinion the most egregious example of the arrogance and out of control sense of self importance that has become far too commonplace from the city officials and their chief lobbying organization, the League of Municipalities.
The Mayor PRO-TEM of Kinston was allowed to address the Committee and he spent most of his time opposing the Bill as "meddling" on the part of the General Assembly. It takes one's breath away to hear this type of arrogance, but this is what the NCLM has accomplished over the last 50 years in the State of NC.
This type of arrogance from the NCLM lobbyists has always been on display over the years that I have been attending Committee meetings where property rights issues were being debated, but this new blatant display is incredible.
The NCLM appears to have grown used to waltzing into the General Assembly and saying "jump" to the Legislators and having the Legislators respond with "How High?".
It is a whole new ballgame this Legislative Session and it is refreshing.
To witness Rep. LaRoque brush the arrogance aside and stand strong in knowing he is doing the right thing for the people of his District and of North Carolina was also a breath of fresh air.
Thank you Rep. LaRoque.
HB 5 was approved and with the majority voting the Bill forward.
House Bill 37 - Lexington Annexation Repeal.
Introduced by Rep Rayne Brown
Rep Rayne Brown was also absolutely eloquent in her statement to the Committee about repealing the forced annexation that Lexington imposed recently. You could really tell that she is an unshakable woman of principle who is stepping up to do what is right for the people in her District. Stepping up for those who have no one other than her speak for them and to defend them against the tyranny of forced annexation.
Thank you Rep Rayne Brown.
When the Mayor Pro Tem of Kinston was speaking, his defense of the city against the State reversing the annexation, and calling the action of the Legislators "meddling", it brought to mind the way that the City Bunch have responded to the citizens who say that forced annexation is taxation without representation.
The city advocates response to that has been to tell the citizens that they DO have representation in the State Legislature. Now they are complaining that the State should not be standing up for the citizens who were forcibly annexed and are appealing to the Legislature.
As usual, the City Bunch want it all and they want it both ways.
The truth is they couldn't care less about good government. All they seem to care about is increasing the power and the money flowing to the cities.
The Representatives on the Committee who were entrenched in their decision to oppose these repeals and speak for the League of Municipalities kept the conversation going until they ran out the clock for the meeting and a vote could not be taken at that time on HB37.
The way Alma Adams eagerly (a little too eagerly) called out that the clock had run out, it almost seemed like that was a planned strategy.
But Chairman Larry Brown was not to be undone on getting that vote done today. He knew the House was going to have a recess from the Floor and he was able to reconvene the Government Committee a little later on to allow a vote on HB 37. Some of the members were unable to return and some who opposed the bill didn't bother to return. The Bill was approved and soundly voted forward.
Thank you Rep Larry Brown.
There is another Bill that has been introduced on behalf of the forced annexation victims of Rocky Mount.
House Bill 56, Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Collins.
HB56 has been sent to the Committee On Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.
Rep.'s Rayne Brown and Jeff Collins are both new Legislators.
Rep LaRoque made a comeback in the last election. He served in the GA before 2006.
Please take time to send a word of thanks and encouragement to the Legislators who made today possible.
Contact information for House Members