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Senate | June 19, 2014 | Committee Room | Finance

Full MP3 Audio File

Will all members please get to their seats. Those in the audience, please be seated. First things first, we're going to introduce the Sergeant-at-Arms who help us run a very orderly operation in the finance committee, and we appreciate it. Anderson Meadows, Steve Wilson, Hal Roach, and Matt Urban. Thank you for helping us again, thanks to our staff. We appreciate all of your hard work, and making the rest of us look very good. We have pages today, i'm gonna to do my best to pronounce everyone's names right. I've got Tyler Dabs, Senator Berger. Thank you. Will Dabs, Senator Berger. Connor Badgett, Senator Brock. Lily Kenneday, Senator Gun. Lily Black, Senator Gun. Sophia Politis, Senator Hartsel. Meredith Roach, Senator Barefoot. McKay Dula, Senator Tucker. Okay. Thanks very much, we appreciate it. We hope that you enjoy your stay here. We do much appreciate all of your hard work, and what you can accomplish, and learn here at the general assembly. The members of the committee, this a finance committee, members of the audience, and we will be discussing the financial portions of all of these bills, that may have visited other committees. We would like to get moving on directly, and so, Representative Millis, is he here? No, okay, then I guess Senator Rabin, you are be leading the charge on house bill ??108-O Wapa de-annexation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] They would like to de-annex a portion of the town. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rabon, there is a motion by Senator Tillman for a favorable report on house bill 1080. Any questions, or comments? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Where is Wapa? [SPEAKER CHANGES] It's along the portion of the railroad track that has been pulled up between Wilmington and Wallace, and you can't really get there anymore. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You don't want to know. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Alright. Then, any other questions and comments regarding house bill 1080. We have a favorable report for house bill 1080, all in favor please say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed nay, aye's have it. Senator Rabin, you've got one victory, so try member senate bill 731, Southport Occupancy Tax Modifications. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. That's another local bill requested by the town of Southport, twice in antiquity. Southport, do you want to take that motion? Or you want me to?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, that's a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We have a technical amendment that we want to add to this one, and then you can have a chance. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Before he does, I have, I've got a comment on that bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, let us take the technical amendment ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. Twice in antiquity Southport has been giving the, given the ability to have an occupancy tax. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rabon, Senator Rabon, we have a technical amendment for your bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Oh well, yes, we're gonna change one word, I believe. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. We're just gonna change, on page one, line six, the word enacted, should actually be the word amended. We will delete the word enacted, and substitute the word amended. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members of the committee, any questions about that technical correction. Seeing none, all in favor, please say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed nay. Ayes have it. Alright, we have a favorable report from Senator Rabin. But, I have a question from Senator Tillman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Before we jump into that colonel. Senator Rabon, that's in your neck of the woods, and whatever you do to those folks, I usually say that's good. But now you're doing it to me. I come down there for a whole week, second week in August. I spend with all of my kids and grand kids with the place. I want to spend ten thousand dollars in that week, what's that gonna cost me? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Nothing. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm for the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Because you're on Oak Island, but if you'll come to Southport, we'll take your money. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Alright, dialogue goes through the chair. We only want relevant, and pertinent questions Senator Apodaca. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, and since Senator Tillman said this. Can we have the department of revenue audit his spending at Southport, and see if he indeed, Senator Tillman ain't spent ten thousand in his lifetime. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's taxpayer money, i'm spending. That's tax payer money. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Alright, that probably has some relevancy to finance, but not today. Okay. We have senate bill 731 Southport Occupancy Tax Modifications as.

… recommended for a favorable report. Any discussion? Any questions? Seeing none, all in favor please say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, nay. Ayes have it. Senator Rabin, Senate Bill 846, Shallotte De-annexation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Shallotte, yes. Not Charlotte. It is Shallotte, and this is just another simple de-annexation of a couple tracks of land in the town of Shallotte. They thought they were growing at one time; they decided to ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Excuse me Senator Rabin, one point. We do have a PCS on this. I have Senator Meredith made a motion that we accept the PCS for Senate Bill 846, Shallotte De-annexation for discussion, and all in favor, please say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, nay. Ayes have it. Please continue to do your discussion on… [SPEAKER CHANGES] The PCS language, what I have to say about it’s the same as what I was saying about the other bill, so it’s just a simple de-annexation of a couple tracks of land that that the locals don’t need and the people that own it don’t want to be there. They said “We want out” and the city said “That’s fine with us.” [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have a motion from Senator Meredith that the favorable report for PCS Senate Bill 846. Any discussions or questions? Seeing none, all in favor please say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, nay. Ayes have it. Senator Rabin, thank you very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, members. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let’s move onto House Bull 346, Governing bodies Collect Unpaid Judgments, Representative Faircloth. Representative, welcome to the Senate Finance Committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you to the committee. This bill arose out of a situation where a person was actually being taken against a person for a nuisance, closing up a nightclub. The person brought suit against the city for discrimination, lost the suit, and the court ordered that the person pay the city 11 thousand and some few dollars to reimburse expenses. Later on that person ran for council, was elected to the council, did not pay his judgment, refused to pay it. Assets were moved so that the city could not collect; they tried several different ways to do it. So this bill in a case like that allows the city, where the person refuses to pay the judgment, allows the city to garnish wages on behalf… in order to pay the city back for the debt. That’s a pretty simple process. It wasn’t available before; this makes it available. It also… [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Faircloth, we have a favorable report from Senator Tillman on your House Bill 346. Members of the committee, any additional questions or comments? Seeing none, all in favor of the favorable report for House Bill 346, Governing Bodies Collect Unpaid Judgments, please say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, nay. Ayes have it. Representative Faircloth, who would you want to have take care of that bill for you on the Senate? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Wade. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Wade. Very good. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman and committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, sir. Let’s go onto House Bill 1034, Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Finances. Representative Howard, welcome to the committee. Members of the committee, this is a PCS, and we ask for a motion from Senator Tillman for willingness to accept House Bill 1034 PCS for discussion. Welcome, Representative Howard, and during this, members of the committee, there is a financial memo on this bill for your perusal, and would you, Representative Howard, be kind enough to also explain the change from where you had it to what’s before us with the PCS? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. Yes sir. I believe there’s been one, actually it would be considered a technical amendment, repealing a local act pertaining to Mebane’s firemen’s supplemental retirement fund at the request of Mebane’s fire chief. That’s one change, and the second change is the clarifying the volunteer rescue EMS funds that’s granted for equipment and capital improvements must be used for purposes related to emergency medical service…

… over a 20-year time span, so looking at all of those things, we just felt if there was any other benefits that we could offer to these volunteers, and they are truly volunteers. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members of the committee, any additional questions? Senator Tarte. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Just a comment, if I may. As a new member, I think this is a classic example of how we deal with a very important subject matter, and I tip my hat to the Chairs of the PED Oversight Committee, Senator Hartsell and Representative Julia Howard, and this is where I don’t think the public has a good appreciation. There are months and months of work that went into this. Again, the expert staff under John Turcotte and the PED people that worked on this hours after hours, the vetting, the work with the stakeholders; this demonstrates the process works well, and Senator Ford, I know that the appreciation for the comments we make in this, but a lot of thought has gone into this and this is a good bill. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Meredith, did you have a comment or question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any additional questions by members of the committee? Representative Howard, I know we talked about this last time wit Senator Tucker, and what you’re telling us after these hard work that you put together and all that, that these folks are not going to come back and visit us anymore along with honorable Debbie Clary. Let her answer this one first. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I thought you’d come get me out of that. The issue has been the workers’ compensation fund, and yes sir, that fund is stabilized and there will be no further need for those folks to come back and ask you to do general fund appropriations for the workers’ compensation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Senator Tillman, we do have a seat for you if you’d like. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’ve been sitting down most of my life. I think it’s interesting, that wonderful speech that… I know he’s not a lawyer, but Senator Tarte needs the ?? for a committee speech. I don’t think we give them but that was a wonderful speech. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator Tillman. Members of the committee, we do have a motion a little while back from Senator Apodaca for a favorable report on the PCS of House Bill 1034, Volunteer Fire and Rescue Finances, and an unfavorable to the original bill. Any additional questions or comments? Seeing none, all in favor please say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, nay. Ayes have it. Thank you. Representative Howard, who would you like to manage that one for you? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, there’s a sequential referral to Pensions and Retirement. We’re going to run it through. We’ll get it through in the next couple days. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. And Senator Hartsell will manage that on the floor. Thank you. Let’s go ahead and get onto Senate Bill 729, Coal Ash Management Plan. Senator Apodaca, there is a fiscal memo in with this bill. Senator Apodaca, welcome to this committee. It’s good to see you this early in the morning. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator Rucho. It’s also good to see you. Senator Tillman, we’re not giving the ??; we’re giving the Eddie Haskell award, for those of us who remember Leave it to Beaver, to Senator Tarte. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Your discussion should be on coal ash management. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, members. [SPEAKER CHANGES] On the fiscal note, or the financial part of it, by the way, Senator Apodaca. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Would you like staff to help you? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sure. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff, are you prepared to…? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Heather ?? I believe will be able to help you with this. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think that would be great. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. If you would turn to page 43 of the bill –this is in the very back of the bill – the finance portion of the bill actually creates a new regulatory fee. You’re probably all familiar with the regulatory fee that is used to pay the cost of the Utilities Commission and the public staff. This is very similar but it’s a new fee. It’s not an increase of that fee; it is a new fee, and it will be a fee of .03 percent on the North Carolina jurisdictional revenues of each public utility with a coal combustion residual surface impoundment. So this fee will be used to pay for the coal ash management cost, and this fee is going to actually be used to pay for the 25 positions in DENR that are used for coal ash management and the four commissions at the Coal Ash Management Commission, and that’s the only finance portion in the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, would you like to add anything to the previous explanation? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes I would, Mr. Chairman. And this fee must be paid by the utility; it cannot be passed onto the consumer.

Alright, you've heard the financial portion of Senate Bill 729 who Senator Apodaca's been working on diligently for quite a while. I need a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Curtis offers a motion for favorable report Senate Bill 729, Coal Ash Management Plan. Any additional questions or discussion? Seeing none. All in favor please say aye. Opposed nay. Aye's have it. Thank you, Senator Apodaca, we appreciate you being here today. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Alright, let's go on to Senate Bill 742, Adjust Utility Regulatory Fees and Senator Hartsell will be managing this bill today. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. Utility regulatory fees again. This bill is a result of a study commission or an LRC study that looked into the modifications necessary to look at utility regulation in the telecommunications industry. It is a consensus piece of legislation, insofar as I'm aware, to address jurisdictional and non jurisdictional revenues and how that's impacted in what the nature of the, how it's imposed, where it's imposed, the timing it's imposed, and the gradation of it's imposition. For additional details I would, Mr. Chairman, defer to Ms. Finnell but be glad to otherwise answer- [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ms. Finnell, you have something you would like to add to the explanation of Senate Bill 742? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would be happy to answer any questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Alright. No additional members of the committee? Oh, pardon me. Okay, I'm sorry. Senator Krawiec, please. Welcome. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator. A lot of work has gone into this bill. I think it's long overdue and I would like to move for a favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. We have a motion before us of a favorable report for Senate Bill 742. Members of the committee, any additional questions? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tucker, Yes sir, welcome. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, sir. I'm glad to be here early in the morning and of course at our age we're always glad to be seen early in the morning. Question for Senator Hartsell, Senator Hartsell this is just for telecommunications? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's essentially what it's for, yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Now as far as I know that's what it's for, yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ms. Finnell will help with that explanation, Senator Tucker. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, Senator Tucker, over the past 20 years the federal and state governments have been largely deregulating phone service so it breaks out the phone service retail services that are basically open to competition and subjects them to a lower utility rate. All of the other remaining public utility jurisdictional revenues that are not open to competition, including the wholesale rate of telephone providers, are going to be subject to the full utility reg fee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tucker, follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What was that last sentence? I did not hear the last sentence. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm sorry, the wholesale revenue juris-, jurisdictional revenues, excuse me, of telephone providers. So the wholesale component that's not open to competition and all the revenues of all other public utilities, so your electric providers, your piped natural gas, those will still be subject to the full regulatory fee. We're breaking out the competitive revenues for telephone and subjecting them to a lower fee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Simply because of the nature of the deregulation of the industry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tucker, you all set? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Alright. Seeing no additional comments, questions, or debate we have a favorable report from Senator Krawiec regarding a favorable report Senate Bill 742, Adjust Utility Regulatory Fee. Seeing no additional comments or questions, all in favor please say aye. The opposing opinion say nay. Aye's have it. Alright, Senator Hartsell, and you'll be managing that on the floor? Senator Brown? Okay. Alright, members of the committee, we have no other business before us. As we start closing down, hopefully, we will notified if there are additional meetings of the Finance Committee but we appreciate you being here early this morning and getting our business done expeditiously. Meeting is adjourned.