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House | April 23, 2013 | Committee Room | House Agriculture

Full MP3 Audio File

I ?? the meeting to order. House Sergeant at arms today that's with us Young Bay, BH Powell, ?? Gadsden, and Tony O'Marshall. And our pages Caroline ??, from Wayne ?? Drone, Burns, and William Byers. If I mispronounce your name, I'm sorry. That's all my years of experience as a teacher, I've forgot how to do it. We are going to take up House Bill 628 first. Representative Presnell. [Speaker Change] House Bill 628 basically it started because we had a US forestry service building that was built in Madison county, and they used no North Carolina products in that building. [Speaker Change] ?? [Speaker Change] They even ordered bamboo flooring from Brazil. And it really just kind of made me mad. So I just decided to put this bill in here. I think it's a good bill. I do have the commissioner Traxler has signed off on it, he loved it, thought it was great. The home builder like it. By using North Carolina products we have jobs that are created from the loggers to the saw mill, and the finisher on the wood, contractors building it, plus it's much less cost then it would be to get your bamboo from Brazil, and the shipping it over and stuff like that. And there's other products that are also used, 'cuz it does talk about other equally using products, product based ?? or products manufactured or produced in this state. And that's good. [Speaker Change] Representative McGrady. [Speaker Change] I don't have a bill summary on this. Is there a bill summary available? Nobody I believe has one. [Speaker Change] There's no bill summary. [Speaker Change] OK. [Speaker Change] Do you wanna ask staff them? [Speaker Change] I'd like to ask staff a question, and then a few questions for the bill sponsor. In the bill it refers to every major facility construction project of a public agency. what does that mean? Does that mean local schools? Are we just talking about state buildings here? Or what's the breath of the bill? If staff could answer me. [Speaker Change] Barbara. [Speaker Change] Staff will need to research that and get back to you. [Speaker Change] Mr. Chairman that's a pretty important question as to what the breath of the bill is. It's one thing if it refers to simply state buildings, it's a whole nother thing if we're capturing a whole group of local projects of all nature. If I can ask the bill sponsor I guess. Can I follow up? [Speaker Change] Yes you may. [Speaker Change] My reading of this bill is that it's really a bill that effectively eliminates lead certification. It doesn't specify that but the effect of this would be that. Am I reading it right? [Speaker Change] Well they don't, they just need to use North Carolina products in their building, whatever they build. Why buy bamboo from Brazil? We've got oak, cherry, pine, whatever you want. [Speaker Change] Follow up. [Speaker Change] You may. [Speaker Change] I guess again I think my reading of the bill is that effectively this would end lead certification. And you're saying that is not your understanding of the bill. [Speaker Change] That's not what I proposed. [Speaker Change] One follow up and then I'll stop. [Speaker Change] Representative McGrady staff has the answer to your first question. [Speaker Change] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Representative McGrady a major facility renovation project means a project to renovate a building when the cost of the project is greater than 50% of the insurance value of the

prior to the renovation, and the renovated portion of the building is larger than 20,000 gross square feet of occupied or condition space, as defined in the state building code. It does not include a project to renovate a transmitter building or pumping station, and does not include a project to renovate a building having historic architectural or cultural significance, under part 4 of article 2 of chapter 143b, and public agency means every state office, officer, board, department, and commission and institutions of higher education. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If I can follow up to the explanation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You may. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Then as I understand this only relates to state agencies and not county buildings, am I right? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Right. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Then following, last question of the bill sponsor: Rep. Presnell, I wonder why in the bill, why not just a bill that requires local wood be used in public projects as opposed to wading into the whole certification area? I was wondering if what you were proposing here couldn't be done in a rather more direct fashion than upsetting the building certification process that we've currently got in place? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well we did want to use the building standards sustainable with the American National Standards Institute. If that answers your question. Okay. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Rep. Luebke. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. I think that this is a more complicated bill as Rep. McGrady was suggesting in his remarks, this is a much more complicated bill than has been represented, and I don't understand why staff doesn't have an explanation, but I would respectfully request that we displace this bill until we have a bill explanation. It's totally standard in the general assembly, it's just to me I can't really understand the bill if staff doesn't provide the explanation. I would ask that we displace the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Rep. Presnell, are you into that, or not? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No, I really don't want to. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Isn't it a matter of committee procedure and not a matter of what the member wants? It's really not fair to us members that staff has not prepared a bill explanation. I don't see how we should move forward without a bill explanation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I hear what you're saying. Rep. Brisson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair. Not sure I understand everything the bill sponsors trying to ??. Basically, what I'm trying to pick up on it is we're just trying to promote North Carolina products, we're not telling- we don't need to tell who to bill and how to bill or whatever, we just want to make sure that when materials are available that are- we have in North Carolina, North Carolina grown materials, be used. Is that what you're trying to get at, or you're not trying to tell folks how to build their buildings, or.. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, exactly right. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So I don't know how the staff can help you get it worded right, but at the end of the day, I think we're just trying to promote North Carolina products here. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Rep. Daughtry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. My question is, to be sure that the state gets the best deal that they can get from a financial standpoint, when you build a building, I don't want to see them having to spend 10 or 20% more to build a building if they use North Carolina products as opposed to going somewhere and getting additional products. Are we pretty sure that they'll be competitive? For example, the bamboo you talked about, if that's 50% cheaper than anything we can buy here, I'd hate to see them not use the bamboo, if that was the cheapest thing they would get. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would say that by the time you have it shipped over here from Brazil and go through the gas and everything else, it would not be cheaper. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Rep. Terry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just a quick question, I wonder if staff knows how many offshore markets our North Carolina trees sell to? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do we know that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm sorry, we'll have to research

Get back to you. I'm not sure. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Presnell, we're going to pull your bill until we get this information together. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] House Bill 686. Representative Tine? [SPEAKER CHANGES] This is a PCS. I made a motion to have the PCS before us. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Pardon? [SPEAKER CHANGES] They told me it was a PCS. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Lucas moves that we have the PCS before us. All in favor say aye. All opposed, no. Motion secured. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This bill is centered around the new North Carolina Seafood Park authority, which approached me to changing its name to better match up to what it actually does. Most of the facility is utilized by marine industry. We build boats, we have some commercial fishermen, there are several different industries there that don't really meet the old name. Also with the expansion of the Inglehart Marine Industrial Park, I thought that now was a time to go ahead and change the name. I worked with their attorney and their board to make sure that this gave them the corrections that they needed. There's two things beyond the name change which most of this bill is about the name change in all the different spots, but one is expanding the improvements and things that it can make to be consistent with the new name change. There was a removal of cooperation with the federal government. It was not intended to skirt any federal requirements, it was simply that if Oregon Inlet should come into state hands at some point or during the negotiation process thereof, it may be in the community's best interest to actually take an adversarial role with one of the federal agencies so that we might better serve that port area, so that's why that was removed. It's not meant to ?? any laws, it's simply there so that it gives them all the tools that they need to be able to work with the federal government, and if there's any questions- [SPEAKER CHANGES] Anyone have any questions- [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Mobley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Go ahead. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have a question of the bill sponsor. My question is, if there was any or has there been any push back or negative from the commissioners or municipalities around this area with regard to this bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No, I haven't had any opposition. I work very closely with the board that oversees the park to make sure that it met their needs. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Jordan? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Any time there's a major rebranding or remarketing of something, there's going to be costs involved with changing signs, stationary, I don't know what else. What kinds of things are involved with this? What's the cost and who pays it? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Actually, we have a representative from the- the executive director from there and he would be able to better tell you if that's alright, Mr. Chairman? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. Idenitfy yourself. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm Bob Hill (??), director of the ?? Facility. There will be some very minor costs, and it's basically stationary and a couple of signs. We're talking, at most, 1000- we don't have a lot of signs, so we're talking about 1000, maybe 1500 dollars and we'll pay for that out of our receipts. We have the money to make the exchanges. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Anyone else? Representative Brisson? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think somebody's already answered my questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Steinburg? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, I'd like to move that we give an unfavorable report to the original and a favorable to the substitute, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You heard the motion. ??. All in favor say aye. All opposed, no. The ayes have it and the motion's secured. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, members. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Klein (??), thank you. Representative Blust? [SPEAKER CHANGES] House Bill 821.

It certainly is. We've got one individual that wanted to speak with us today and we're going to allow that and this is Vanessa Harrison, president of A T and T in North Carolina and she's going to speak on the rural investment project and we've passed out some stuff for you and she can come forth right here. Vanessa, thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you so much ?? for allowing me time to get on your calendar to come and speak to you about a project that A T and T is involved in along with the wireless industry here in North Carolina. I'm here today on behalf of seven thousand employees with A T and T in North Carolina to thank you for your support of the laws and policies which encourage private investment and help drive economic growth. And we all know in this environment today economic growth is very important. You and your predecessors have worked very hard and diligently to make sure that North Carolina laws make sense in our changing economy and that's the second reason that I am here. It is to give you an idea of more changes that are about to come and how they will benefit North Carolina especially families who live in rural areas. As you know wireless service are becoming more and more important today in our lives than ever before. In North Carolina today wireless subscriptions outnumber traditional landline phones two to one. Thirty five percent of american households are wireless. Over the past six years since the smart phones came out we have seen at least a thirty thousand percent increase in mobile traffic. That's a lot of data. A lot of emails, lot of text messages, lot of baby pictures being transported over the network. At A T and T we are committed to meeting the needs of our customers and our communities and that is why we have invested ninety six billion dollars in the U S economy over the past five years and more than any other public company here. And in North Carolina here alone we've invested more than one point five billion dollars over the last three years and we plan to continue this investment but we can't do it without your help. Looking ahead, we recently announced a project that is called project velocity I P which is basically an enhanced broadband project and that project costs our company fourteen billion dollars and so you can see why we are very very excited about this. And my role in this today for A T and T North Carolina as president is to make sure that we get as much of that money right here in North Carolina and to do so we got to have a very friendly public policy environment with updated rules that will allow us, and when I say us I mean the entire wireless industry, to be able to deploy the technology that we need and have partnerships with our local and state government. So our L T E which is what we call our broadband network now is one of the technologies that we will use to build out this platform. Another part of that plan is to build out our four G L T E advance network to cover three hundred million americans by year end two thousand fourteen. It's right around the corner. And to deploy fiber to an additional one million business customer locations in our wire line service area by year end two thousand fifteen. Another benefit of this project will be to expand and enhance our wire line and I T network to approximate fifty seven million customer locations by year end two thousand fifteen. And then, our plan for A T and T is to ensure that we have ninety nine percent of our customer location in our twenty two state footprint, we want to ensure that they are going to have high speed broadband and internet access either by mobile or wire line internet access. The transition to this new platform, it benefits all consumers but especially those that live in rural areas here in North Carolina. So let me give you some examples of how

..how this will work. Broadband, we know that broadband connects rural America to more physicians. Rural America has fewer than half the number of primary care physicians per one hundred thousand residents than the urban areas do today. That's a big disparity. And so, tele-medicine helps reduce that rural American disparity among the physicians, and it allows seven point five million rural senior people to receive care right there at their home. This project also leads to higher production to farmers, and it enriches the ability to small farmers to effectively compete with large farms. We know that eighty-four percent of U.S. farms with sales and government payments of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars or more have access to a computer, we know that eighty-two percent of these farms have internet access, and then seventy-two percent are using the internet for farm business. Some of the ways they are using the internet for farm business is monitoring pesticide, and herbicide applications. They're using it also for animal tracking and identification, for monitoring water, or flood levels - like, Representative Mobley and I was talking about right there in Bertie county. Farmers are using it to monitor crops, and the health of the crop, and the rainfall. It's also used to indicate when frost events are going to take place, which could negatively impact the crops. It's used to track your shipments of perishable crops, and crop input. They also use it to monitor equipment movement, and their performance, I think somebody was telling me this morning that they have GPS systems on the tractors. And, to use it for web cameras to view hazardous or remote areas where they're not physically located. So, we believe that it's the project VIP, broadband project here in North Carolina will benefit our rural communities as well as expand coverage for the communities in our urban areas. Making these things possible requires investment and capital. That's why I am committed to get as much of this money here, of this 14 billion dollars, that is my job. My job is to get as much of that money here in North Carolina. And the job of my team, which we have been charged to do, is to make sure that we have the right public policy climate here to do that in North Carolina. And so that's why I'm so thankful that you all allowed me to get on your agenda, be able to be able to come and hear this project of what we're doing, ?? the support of helping to update these policies as we need it. And you're helping us do that, by continuing to evaluate and update our telecommunications laws, and policies to encourage the investment that we're speaking of in new technology. Thank you so much, and, please, if there's anything A T & T can help do, we're always willing to partner with our local in-state governments to make it happen. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much, Miss Harrison. Members of the committee, any brief comments or questions while we have Miss Harrison here? I just had a senior moment, Representative. Waddell, Representative Waddell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister chairman, I have those all the time, too. I do appreciate you coming and talking to us today about access to broadband in rural areas because that is a real big concern of mine. And it's gonna be necessary to be able to promote new business opportunities out in the rural areas, too. So, I applaud, that. I only have one question , really, about broadband access in the rural areas. I'm one of those farmers that uses the computer a lot, and I also use the computer to access cameras, an am having problems. Presently I don't use A T & T , I use one of your competitors, Verizon. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm sorry, did you say something? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You want me to dismiss him? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's okay 'cause we're all in it together. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's the only access I've got and they've got better cell coverage down in my area. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And where's your area? [SPEAKER CHANGES] In Columbus County. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. [SPEAKER CHANGES] But, presently, to access those cameras I'm having to use hardwire, or, routed services. And, the cameras are not amenable to using the hotspots, or you know, the.. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Wifi? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Wifis yet. So, I was wondering what kind of process, or what kind of thinking is there to

you know, further access- for me to be able to access those cameras and do some of those other things you were talking about, because they're dependant on hard wired or router services. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well that's a very good question and that's part of the objective of this project is to allow in situations like with you, with you that you have hard wired technology. We are expanding our technology so that you will be able to accomplish that via wireless technology, which would give you a broader coverage and with our 4G LTE technology would not only give you a broader coverage but would give you a faster service on that. So that each application would have to of course be examined, but, in tomorrow's environment, we're looking for you not to have it hard wired, that you would be able to use that just throught wireless service. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Rep. Mobley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Speaker. I'm always excited about hearing you mention about some of the more rural areas such as the one I serve. 2 questions: How will the various counties access these monies? Is it going to be from you office, or whether the means of being able to utilize these funds for broadband or what have you? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let me make sure I understand whether the meaning is being able to utilize the funds? ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? various counties. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. We already have a very aggressive buildout plan for the counties where we're going, and it's all of the counties. We obviously can't share some of the things, but we have a map that we can sit down and discuss with you and show you, we're in those counties that we have the white spaces, and we're in those counties that we're planning to build out so that it would give you an understanding of how much broadband would be coming there. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Once you- I heard you say you had mapped out your plan and have- and you and I will be getting together to talk, however, what is the projection on the actual starting up this process so when the monies are actually going to hit the counties? [SPEAKER CHANGES] It's here. It's here, so that's why my job is to keep it. We have our plan for 2013 through 2015. And of course, 14 and 15 will continue to grow dependant on how successful we are in getting the technology deployed in these counties, and not just in the counties, but in the cities and towns as well. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Miss Harrison, as you can see there's sufficient interest in this committee for what you're trying to do and what you want to do, and we look forward to cooperating with you fully to help you accomplish what you're about accomplishing and especially in the rural areas of North Carolina. So unless there's something enormously urgent, we're adjourned. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you.