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Senate | March 25, 2015 | Chamber | Senate Session

Full MP3 Audio File

OOGBQB [0:00:00.0] The Senate will come to order, Sergeant-At-Arms will close the doors, members will go to their seats, members and guests of the gallery please silence all your electronic devices. Leading the Senate in prayer is the reverent Peter Mill, Senate Chaplin, all members and guests in the gallery will please stand. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let’s pray, Lord as we come before you, we ask you to bless not just this meeting but the individual meetings that are going on right now in the legislative office building and even around the state, bless the work of the people of the state, inspire all those here who labor with your wisdom and your truth, give them enthusiasm, give them joy, may they find fulfillment and their service here, as they see to advance the common good, guide all these hear from my left and my right, and the decisions we make. Help them to be particularly attentive to those that are fortunate, for those who cannot fend for themselves and struggle of little hope. And we ask all these things on Jesus name, Amen. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Border is recognized for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President, the journal of Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 has been examined and is found to be correct. I move that we dispense with the reading of the journal and that it stands approved as written. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senators come to order please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection the journal for March 24th stands approved as written, we have leaves of absence granted today for Senator Bryant. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senators we do have a nurse with us today from Apex, North Carolina nurse Mamona Joe with us, Nurse Joe please so we can recognize. [Applause] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senators upon the motion, Senator Ron Rabin of Harnett County, the Chair is happy to courtesies of the gallery to his lovely wife Mona Rabin, Mrs. Rabin please stand so we can recognize you, thanks for joining us today. [Applause] Upon the motion of Senator Rabin of Brunswick County, the Chairs are happy to extend courtesies of the gallery to members of the North Carolina design and construction industry and include the American Council of Engineering companies of American Institute of Architects, associated general contractors, and professional engineers in North Carolina, if you are with us today please stand so we can recognize you, thanks for joining us. [Applause] Senators upon the motion of Senator David Curtis, Iredell and Gaston counties, the Chair is happy to courtesies of the gallery to Dr. Charles Sighs, the Presidents of the North Carolina Optometric Society, Dr. Steve Iler former President and Dr. Jamie Casper, President, Dr. Andy Loveson, and Dr. Scott Athans, if you are with us today please stand so we can recognize you. [Applause] Upon the motion of Senator Jeff Tarte of Mecklenburg County, the Chairs are happy to extend courtesies of the gallery to all of the big brothers and big sisters of North Carolina, if you are with us in the gallery please stand. [Applause] Upon the motion of Senator Jeff Tarte of Mecklenburg County, the Chairs are happy to extend courtesies of the gallery to David Yoakum of Mecklenburg County, David are you with us today? Thanks for joining us. [Applause] Upon the motion of Senator Joe Ford of Mecklenburg County, the Chairs are happy to extend courtesies of the gallery to the Middle-Eastern province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, members of the Kappa Alpha Psi who are here please stand so we can recognize you. We see them around please tell them hello. Reports of standing committees, Senator Tillman for what purpose you arise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President to send forward a committee report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator you can send forward your report. The clerk will read. [0:05:00.6] [End of file…]

Senator Tillman, with Education, Higher Education Committee submits for passage Senate Bill 176, Charter School Grade Level Expansion favorable, Senate Joint Resolution 334-SBCC Election favorable. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 176, calendar, Senate Joint Resolution 334, calendar. Senator Curtis, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Send forth a committee report from Workforce Development. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You can send forward your report. The clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Curtis for Workforce and Economic Development Committee submits for passage Senate Bill 112, Commercial Fishing Courses Coastal Colleges, favorable. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 112, calendar. Any other reports of standing committees? Senator Tillman, your microphone is on. Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, a motion if I may, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca has the floor for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Members, I move the rules be suspended to the end that bills will be allowed to be filed today until 4:00 PM instead of our usual 3:00 cutoff. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection so ordered. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Motion is relative to today's calendar. There will be four bills, Madam Clerk, Senate Bill 52, Cities Means for Activating Parking Meters. Senate Bill 71, Stagger Member Terms. Senate Bill 199, Funds Deposited with Clerk. Senate Bill 123, Uniform Fradulent Transfer Act, move that they be removed from today's calendar and placed on next Wednesday's calendar, April Fool's Day, Senator Tart's birthday, 4/1. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection so ordered. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And I think that will do it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator. Senators, that takes us in to our calendar for the day. We'll start with local bills, second reading roll-call bill, Senate Bill 140, the clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 140, Fenwick Occupancy Tax Operation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Davis is recognized to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. This is just a standard occupancy tax bill that's requested by Lake Santeetlah and it has the full blessing of its home county, that's the County of Graham. Thank you, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do we have any discussion or debate? hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of Senate Bill 140 on its second reading. All in favor will vote aye, opposed will vote no. Five seconds will be allowed for the voting. The clerk will record the vote. Rucho, aye, Waddell, Waddell aye, Clark aye, Apodaca aye, 45 having voted in the affirmative and 4 in the negative. Senate Bill 140 passes its second reading, it will remain on the calendar. Senate Bill 156, the clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 156, [??] Charter Provision and Consolidation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bingham is recognized to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President, and ladies and gentlemen of the Senate. This is just a local bill requested by the small town of [??] to change their form of government from council to a manager form. I would appreciate your support. I know of no opposition and there's no new taxes or fees. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do we have any discussion or debate. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hearing none, the question before the senate is the passage of the Committee Substitute to Senate Bill 156 on its second reading. All in favor vote aye, opposed will vote no. Five seconds will be allowed for the voting, the clerk will record the vote. Jackson, aye, Tarte, Barefoot, aye, aye, 49 having voted in the affirmative and zero in the negative. The committee substitute to senate bill 156 passes its second reading, it will remain on the calendar. Moving on to public bills, second reading roll-call. Senate Bill 305, the clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 305, NCE-MPA Asset Sale. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton is recognized to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Colleagues, we have an opportunity today with this bill to do something that we don't often get to do, and that is to really, really, do something to help average working folks, especially in Eastern North Carolina, with a real pocketbook issue. We get

the opportunity to, if we approve this bill today, to give the green light to the sale of some assets from the cities down east to Duke Power which will serve to reduce power bills for thousands of customers in Eastern North Carolina and ensure low-cost power for many other thousands of customers that buy their power from Duke Progress. This has been something that has been worked on for many years, and for those of you briefly in the chamber who have not heard this in committee, which I think most have, I will try to offer it in abbreviated fashion. These 32 cities in the eastern power agency took on billions of dollars of debt in order to become partners in energy generating plants, nuclear power plants and coal fired plants, here in North Carolina. Shearon Harris, two nuclear plants down Southport Brunswick, and two coal fired plants. Since that time they've been struggling with this debt. It has been a back breaker to so many working families. It has been the difference in whether or not small businesses even stay in business. It has been a huge economic burden in our part of state. Quite literally, it has been a boot on the neck of the economy of Eastern North Carolina, and with this bill today we have the opportunity to change that. Many of my colleagues have heard me talk about this issue for years. Senator Bryant I know has, who can't unfortunately be here today, has I'm sure warned other people out about it as well but I kid you not, I'm holding a power bill here that fortunately was only 650-some-odd-dollars this last month. If anybody cares to look later on I'll be glad to show it to you. So I'm just thankful to be here today to have been a part of moving this bill forward. What this bill does, and in short measure, is it gives the green light to the completion of this purchase by Duke Power, of their, buying out their partners in these plants. The purchase price is $1.2 Billion. This bill provides for how Duke Progress will recover its investment over the next 31 years. It also provides for how the cities are going to deal with their remaining debt. Because even though they're selling these assets, it's not completely erasing their debt. So what this bill does is provide for how the cities can re-bond, refinance, if you will, the remaining debt and provides for the mechanism for how Duke, over the long term, will get paid back. Colleagues, I know of no opposition to this bill. It has been vetted thoroughly by the local government commission. In fact, recently our, sorry my mind has just slipped, we just received a letter from the chairman of that body who we all know is an elected official, I apologize, the name has just gone right out of my head as I stand on my feet, approving of this, encouraging us to pass this. Public staff at the Utilities Commission has vetted it. It has been looked at up and down, in and out, left and right, and sideways, and after all of that I know of no opposition to this bill. So I commend it to you and I'll be happy to answer any more specific questions. Thank you [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Davis, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Davis, you have the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thanks, Mr. President, and colleagues. As I stand before you today I stand in full support of this bill and I can tell you that this is public policy at its best. This will go so far for Eastern North Carolina and many beyond. I'm reminded that over the years there have been so many people who've come to me personally saying, "I need help. I need help to get through this month with my electric bills." One thing, I remember standing the other day with Senator Newton, and we were talking about this exact issue and we were sharing stories and this was one I relate so well, and that is people coming to the church trying to get help with electric bills

[SPEAKER CHANGES] This is real and it has been extremely real for us in these communities. You know one thing, residents don't hesitate to tell us what's on their minds, especially with a couple bills that's come through. But one thing that's generated in this bill is some good conversations. I'll read a couple of comments that's come in to me. One person said, "I pray it passes, my light bill is $550 and it's only my husband and me. We both work first shift, we keep the heat at 68 degrees, we keep everything unplugged except the refrigerator and the alarm clark-the alarm clock when we leave. It still doesn't seem to help." Another person said, "Thank God! I can't continue to pay an electric bill as high as my rent." For many people, they are paying electric bills as high or higher than their rent and their mortgage. So as I stand before you today, I'm just so excited and delighted, and I want to personally take this moment to thank everyone who signed on to this bill. And this shows what we can do and what people send us here to do, collectively together, and Senator Newton, when 45 members sign on to a bill, Democrats, Republicans, and people in protected areas, non-affected areas. And I'm saying for all those who signed on, thank you. To those that we've knocked on your door, reached out, Senator Robinson, thank you. We called her at a funeral and asked if she would please consider signing on and she did. So I say thank you to my colleagues and I want to say especially thanks to Senator Newton, Senator Pate, and you know Senator Bryant has al-always served with so much passion and out of all days she's not here, but we anticipate her coming through tomorrow where she's able to cast the third vote. And I'm going to end by saying this, for all those residents in places like La Grange and Hookerton, Adan, Fremont, Greenville, Windsor, Rocky Mount, Tarboro, Enfield, Elizabeth City, I mean this is going to go a long ways and we should all feel proud. So I do stand and ask for your support and your vote today. Thank you very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill. I also would like to add my very, very much my support for this bill. As a resident in our home county of Robeson, there are two areas that come under this, Red Springs and Lumberton, and Robeson is a very poor county. And our residents have a hard time paying the electric bills that have been caused by the excess of rates that have to be done to pay this debt, so I hear a lot from our constituents who are having a hard time paying the bill. I also wanted to mention one more thing, that this will help all of eastern North Carolina for, and that is not only our residents and businesses, but it'll help in economic development. When we're recruiting businesses to eastern North Carolina, if they're a very large power user, we just get eliminated because they take a look at those electrical rates. That makes a big difference and as someone that's been involved in economic development for a number of years, that has been a real problem. So this will not only help all of our constituents on their own power bills, this will help us in recruiting industry to eastern North Carolina. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Waddell, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Waddell has the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. Even though I'm in Charlotte, we certainly support this bill because when one section of the state prospers, so does other sections. So with the summer fast approaching, we would normally be embracing higher utility costs. However, thanks to Senate Bill 305, families in North Carolina will have additional relief from the incoming warm weather. I support this bill wholeheartedly because it does what I came here to do. It makes life easier for our fellow citizens and it puts money back into the hands of families that need it the most. So with the passage of this bill we can rest easy knowing that we've taken another step toward helping make North Carolina a better place for families. Duke Energy is in the final

SQDVDX [0:00:00.0] Purchase and that’s take in the North Carolina Eastern Municipal power agency and has made their mission to provide these opportunities for Eastern North Carolina, their oversight will allow the 32 affected cities to move forward and their own efforts and make North Carolina the best state in the nation of families. So when one section of the state prosperous so well others, thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McGinnis what purpose you arise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McInnis you have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President and fellow members of the Senate on behalf of every citizen and every business in Laurinburg, North Carolina, Scotland County just happens to be the county seat. I thank you they have ask me to extend their courtesy and their thanks and their appreciation to everyone in this body for allowing them to come out of the rooms of this terrible, terrible recession we are in and this will be something that will give my kick start and make it happen on their behalf, I thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further discussion or debate, hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of the committee substitute to Senate Bill 305 on its second reading, all in favor will vote aye, all oppose will vote no, five seconds will be allowed for the voting and the clerk will record the vote. Blue, Ban Dyne, aye, Senator Blue, 47 having voted in the affirmative and one in the negative, Committee Substitute to Senate Bill 305 passes its second reading, it will remain on the calendar. Senators follow the motion of Senator Ford of Mecklenburg County, the Chairs are happy to extend the courtesies of the gallery to the Kappa Alpha Psi for Trinity who has joined us now, please raise your and be recognize, thanks for joining today. [Applause] Moving on to public bill second reading Senate Bill 6, the clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 6: State Health Plan/Rehired Retiree Eligibility. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman is recognized to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President thank you and members who speak on the bill. We have had a situation where retirees are returning to work especially in some counties like Senator McGinnis’s County and many others around the state, I don’t know any county that’s not asked for some help with this and is ?? to allow retirees teachers, superintendents, principals, who have a lot of knowledge and a lot of skills to fill these positions that they have not been able to fail, and we got some vacant right now waiting on this legislation and that just fixes the things where the local school system will pick up but in some cases $400 to $500 a month to get them the good coverage and not the ?? Plan that the Affordable Care Act was offering them and that’s a very poor coverage so that’s all that does it, it fixes the situation and allows them to how these people and get them going here between now and the end of the year just to move fast enough, thank you I appreciate your support. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any discussion or debate? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca what purpose you arise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman yells to a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman do you yell? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman do you think this might encourage you to leave the Senate and go back to the classroom? [Laughter] [SPEAKER CHANGES] As Glenn Campbell used to say the cards and letters are coming in everyday, no I’m through with that life; I have got a much better lifestyle. Now, I made $14,000 a year down here and I just love it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is there any further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of the Committee Substitute to Senate Bill 6 on its second reading, all in favor will vote aye, all oppose will vote no, five seconds will be allowed for the voting, the clerk will record the vote. Blue, ??, aye, Rabin Brunswick aye, Lou aye, Tart aye, Blue aye, 48 having voted in the affirmative and zero in the negative, the Committee Substitute Senate Bill 6 passes its second reading without objection will be read at third time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The North Carolina General Assembly enacts. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of the Committee Substitute Senate Bill 6 on its third reading, all in favor will say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All oppose say no, the ayes have it, the Committee Substitute Senate Bill 6 passes its third reading and it will be sent to the House. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Total on the last vote count was 49 to zero instead of 48 to zero. [0:05:00.2] [End of file…]

And that wraps up our calendar for today. Do we have any notices or announcements? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Announcement please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor, Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I just want to remind everyone tomorrow afternoon is bill filing deadline, I believe. Earlier I made a motion to 4:00 today, bill following every day cuts off at 3:00. They needed a little extra time today, so that's why we went to 4:00, but tomorrow's 3:00, bill filing deadline still stands and ask for everybody to have patience. Staff's working very hard to get all the bills done. We need these great laws filed before the state doesn't function anymore. So thank you for your patience. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rucho, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Announcement sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, you have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members of the finance committee, today's meeting was canceled but we will have a finance committee meeting tomorrow at 9:00 to discuss and vote on Senate Bill 372, Renewable Energy Safe Harbor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] A moment of personal privilege. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'd like to send forth a Senatorial Statement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You can send forward your statement, Senator. And you still have the floor. The floor is yours, Senator Cook. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a place of natural beauty, and it is considered a national treasure. It is the birthplace America, birthplace of aviation, and a destination for millions of visitors each year. However it is also important for us to recognize the economic contribution of the commercial fishing industry in North Carolina. For us from the coast, commercial fishing is our heritage. It means everything to the working watermen. Today many of our local fishermen have fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers who earned their living from farming the ocean, oftentimes under adverse conditions. Here in North Carolina there is a significant amount of potential for the agriculture industry to become a greater source of income and economic prosperity for North Carolina's commercial fishing industry. So, except for Jerry Tillman, I would like to invite everybody to the fish fry dinner. [LAUGHTER] Forgive me. I enjoyed that. [LAUGHTER] Featuring harvested seafood brought to us by North Carolina's watermen. It'll take place at Fred Mills Construction Company, 1627 Navajo Drive, Raleigh. It begins at 5:30, and I hope you'll all join us. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] A moment of personal privilege. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor, Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook, I understand why you don't want me to come. Number one, although your girth is much larger than mine, I can out-eat you. [LAUGHTER] I did not eat. This is the third day that I've not eaten and I'm going to be there. Senator Rucho, we're going to have to cut our meeting short. I'm going to be there today. And I want to say a word about our working watermen, our fishermen, our commercial fishermen. A lot of this catch was done last night. You'll have the best trout, farmed and drawn, if you get soft-shelled crab which we had last year, it was in season. It's not in season now but they've got a lot of them Senator Rabin, that are frozen. It'll still be good. And flounder and many other great fish from our waters of North Carolina. Now folks if we don't protect this valuable resource, what you'll have is you'll have fish uninspected from Taiwan, from China, from Indonesian countries and many other places. I believe this is a great resource, made for all spokesmen as well as our commercial fishermen. The ocean is big enough and it's sustained us for a long time and it will continue to but I hope you, if you come and I hope you all will, you'll enjoy the best, freshest seafood that you can get. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is there any other business or announcements? Senator Blue, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Make an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor, Senator.

[SPEAKER CHANGES] Will caucus immediately after session. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bingham for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, a point of personal privilege. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you ladies and gentleman of the Senate. I have an announcement. Some of you know or did know John Carrington. He's a good friend of ours, those that did know him, and his wife, Ruby Moore-Carrington, passed away Friday, March 27-or I'm sorry Monday. On Friday the 27th they're going to have a memorial service here in Raleigh at the Mitchell Funeral Home at Raleigh Memorial Park, and online condolences can be made, www.mitchell@rmp.com. I've got information here at my desk and, he was certainly a dear friend of the Senate and, a well-loved and thought of senator. If all of you would keep him in your prayers, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Senator, any further business to come before the Senate? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Sanderson, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. I'm not real sure that Senator Cook really got through his Senatorial statement. It seems like he got kinda diverted, he and Senator Tillman. But if it's permissible, I would like to move that the written part of his Senatorial statement be spread upon the journal. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No objections, so ordered. Senator Brown for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] An announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Republicans, we will caucus at 3:00, not 3:15, but 3:00 this afternoon. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other announcements? Any further business to come before the Senate? If not, the chair will recognize Senator Berger for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. I move that the Senate do now adjourn, subject to the standard stipulations set forth in Senate Rule 24.1. The receipt of committee reports and messages from the House to reconvene on Thursday, March 26, 20015 at 11 am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The motion is that the Senate do now adjourn, subject to the stipulations stated by Senator Berger, to reconvene Thursday, March 26 at 11 am. Seconded by Senator Meredith. All in favor say aye, opposed no. The ayes have it. The Senate stands adjourned.