McCrory signs 751 South forced annexation into law

Welcome to Durham, jerks.

In addition to the 751 South bill, McCrory went on a last minute signing rampage, approving everything except the Sharia Law bill which is still awaiting his decision. He’s got until Sunday to do something (or nothing) about that.

I’ll add a link to the rundown of what passed when it becomes available.

EDIT:

WRAL has a rundown. They also note that McCrory is going to let the Sharia Law bill become law without his signature.

EDITEDIT:

One of the bills that just passed is the rollback of Jordan Lake pollution control measures, so the beleaguered lake is taking hits on all sides today. Good thing we drink from Lake Michie!

Veto override session scheduled for Sept 3; 751 South bill and others still await action

According to WRAL, McCrory has called the veto override session for Sept 3, so go ahead and mark your calendars. In NC, when the governor issues a veto, he must call the legislature back for a chance to override it (or, if he fails to do that for some reason, his veto is automatically overridden (which strikes me as a pretty stupid thing for a governor to do)).

Although both of the vetoed bills originally passed by large margins, and although the bluster from the legislature is that the override is a done deal, this could still get very interesting. Has this all been planned so that McCrory could score some cred by vetoing bills that he knew would be overridden later? Or are we looking at some real disagreement within the ranks of the GOP (this would not be the first time)? If McCrory’s the stooge here, he’s sure putting up a good show.

Assuming McCrory’s vetoes were legitimate, this would be an ideal time for some legislators to score some points by standing by the gov. He’s already proven that he’s a good person to be friends with, after all.

Oh, and you remember that 751 South forced annexation bill (S315, vaguely entitled “Municipal Services”)? Yeah, still waiting for approval, along with 34 other bills (including such favs as the Sharia Law bill). If McCrory doesn’t sign or veto these bills by Sunday, they become law automatically without his signature (which in the case of S315 at least seems like a good bet).

751 South forced annexation clears first vote in the Senate

There actually are two surprises about this outcome: one, that it took so long (I lost count at six delays before it finally got to a vote).

And two? A big supporter of the bill is none other than one of Durham’s own Senators, Floyd McKissick:

But Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, backed the proposal, saying the developer has promised to abide by existing pollution regulations. Durham also would benefit from the economic development, he said.

McKissick is a Democrat (which is redundant, since I already told you he’s from Durham) who agrees with his GOP pals that Durham is best governed by a central bureaucracy rather than by its locally elected officials. I wonder, does he also have “friends” involved in the development project (as chief sponsor in the House Tim Moore does)?

Prior to a rewrite in the House, this bill was originally a completely different piece of legislation sponsored by Mike Woodard, who is now ironically among the few to speak out against it:

“Isn’t this what we have city councils for?” Woodard asked. “If you want to become the planning office or zoning commission for the whole state of North Carolina, vote for this bill.”

Expect the bill to pass its second, and final, Senate vote on Friday before it moves to McCrory for final approval.

Slow news week in Durham, big news week in Raleigh

Not much to write about in Durham this week, but If you’re interested in state politics, things are pretty nutso right now:

751 South forced annexation bill delayed… and delayed… and delayed…

Well, if you’ve been anxiously waiting to learn the fate of the 751 South forced annexation bill (and who hasn’t?), this has been a rough week for you. Originally scheduled for a Senate vote on July 10th, the bill has now been pushed back four times (as the Senate gets on with more important matters, such as the tax overhaul) and is presently scheduled for a vote tomorrow, July 17.

(Details on the 751 South saga can be found under the 751 South category)

The Herald-Sun posted an article about one of the earlier delays, which included the following from Durham senator Floyd McKissick:

“It’s not unusual this time of year where one chamber will set back or release some bills the other is concerned about, before they all end up on the calendar together,” he said. “It’s traditional horse trading.”

What are they trading? Who knows, but I’d expect this one to get done sooner or later, since removing local autonomy is what all the cool kids are doing in Raleigh these days. For example, the bill which will strip Charlotte’s control of its airport and hand it over to Raleigh-appointed bureaucrats just passed the House.

EDIT July 17:

Hey, guess what? Hope you weren’t expecting this to happen today either, as the vote was delayed for the fifth time. It’s now scheduled for tomorrow (July 18).

Forced annexation of 751 South passes House (again)

No surprise really, as the perfunctory second vote passed the House today. The final count is virtually identical to the previous vote (covered here). A second vote was required for procedural reasons, but the outcome was never really in question.

Interestingly several Democrats decided they know what’s best for Durham too, and joined the GOP ranks in support of the bill which will force Durham to expand its borders despite the Council rejecting a proposal earlier this year.

The bill now moves on to the Senate, which will presumably pass it without much opposition. McCrory (formerly the mayor of NC’s most populous city, so one might think he’s not wholly unsympathetic to local governments being bossed around) has yet to comment on the matter, but if you’re hoping for a veto my 8-Ball says… outlook not so good.

Forced annexation of 751 South passes House

The House just voted to force the city of Durham to annex the site of the 751 South project, despite some procedural wrangling last week. The project promises to bring extra sprawl to south Durham, in addition to adding some much needed pollution to Jordan Lake. Just can’t get enough of that stuff.

(Previous coverage of 751 South’s progress is in the “Durham News” category, starting with this primer)

Oh, and the development is apparently supposed to “create jobs” somehow, which is how some GOP state lawmakers are spinning their support of the move. In justifying the bill, representative Tim Moore (a “friend” of the developers’ attorneys) stated:

“The only time the General Assembly gets involved in a local issue is when a local government behaves in a way that the General Assembly finds to be irrational,” Moore said.

I think he’s mistaking the word “irrational” to mean “harmful to friends of legislators.”

Incidentally, Moore is from some county I’ve never heard of called Cleveland, which 1) is nowhere near Durham 2) has nowhere near the population of Durham and 3) does not contain a reservoir which feeds a large metropolitan area. I’d be interested to know which of these attributes qualifies Moore to determine what the “rational” course of action is in a situation that has jack squat to do with the people he nominally represents.

This isn’t a done deal yet, since the Senate still needs to weigh in, but it ain’t looking pretty for the city. The developers have plenty of friends in Raleigh who are quite eager to lend a helping hand, and giving the finger to a city which is represented entirely by Democrats is just a nice bonus. This is the kind of disruption of local autonomy and big government meddling that the GOP is apparently in love with lately.

WRAL also states that the bill needs a second vote in the House on a different date because it involves annexation, which is a rule I hadn’t heard of before. I don’t have any reason to suspect House lawmakers will have a sudden change of heart after sleeping on it tonight.

Odds of a reprieve look pretty slim at this point. It will be interesting to see what, if any, response the council will come up with.

EDIT to add: Leslie and Binker talk about about the passage of this bill (starting around 2m:45s) in yesterday’s Wrap.

751 South annexation bill discussed in Finance

The bill which would force Durham to annex the controversial development site near Jordan Lake was discussed in the Finance committee on Monday, and the result is basically… no result.

SB315, which was ironically sponsored by former council member Mike Woodard, now bears little resemblance to what the Senate initially passed after an eventful ride through the House. Monday’s hearing did little to clarify the future of the bill, which appears to be on less than certain footing after some procedural shuffling (discussed here).

In Monday’s “Wrap” segment, WRAL reporters Leslie and Binker seem to be a bit skeptical of the bill’s prospects to make it through prior to the end of this session (at 3m:29s). Should the House fail to pass this bill before the session’s end, it will end up in limbo until 2014’s “short session” (barring shenanigans, of course).

It’s interesting to watch this unfold, and it’s clearly been overshadowed by headline grabbing “mega landfills,” abortion education mandates, and budget negotiations – you kind of get a sense that the legislature’s got enough on its plate and they just don’t want to deal with this right now. The fact that Charlotte’s airport takeover bill seems to have been shelved could be a promising sign, because it’s a similar sort of Big Government initiative which seems to have just lost steam.

The measure was originally slated for a vote from Finance on Tuesday, but that didn’t happen, and I haven’t heard anything about its progress yet today (Wednesday).

Forced annexation of 751 South on Monday’s agenda

HB 315 (previously mentioned here) spent this week getting kicked around committee, and it’s actually attracted some scrutiny from at least one powerful lawmaker.

The main proponent of the legislation is one Tim Moore, who is identified as a “friend” of the 751 South developers’ attorneys. Well, no shit sherlock – I would expect he’s also a friend with “benefits” (perhaps in the form of campaign contributions, eh?) of various interested parties. Moore is the chair of the Rules committee in the house, so he’s not just some random toolbox.

The scrutiny of the bill is coming from a surprising source, in fellow Republican (and finance chair) Julia Howard:

Howard said the bill represented a case of “upside-down annexation.”

“I can’t tell you what’s wrong with this bill,” Howard said. “If it smells funny, it’s funny. The bill should stay in Finance.”

Howard successfully grabbed the bill from Rules and moved it to Finance when it came to a vote on the floor, and we’ll see what Finance thinks of it during Monday’s hearing. I guess Finance beats Rules, sucka.

I have no idea what the hell these people are really up to here, because this just smacks of procedural bullshit rather than any real policy concern. The legislation is a total dick move and a huge conflict of interests, but neither of those facts would typically give this legislature pause, and I’d expect this to just be a speed bump at best.

Stay tuned, though…

Amendment to force 751 South annexation appears in the House

The developers of 751 South have once again turned to their pals in Raleigh, who have amended SB315 to force Durham to annex the controversial development. The project (previously discussed here and here) had its request for annexation rejected by the city council two weeks ago, despite the looming threat of GOP legislative intervention on the developers’ behalf.

Well, unsurprisingly, we just got Ashevilled:

SECTION 2.  Effective June 3, 2023, the corporate limits of the City of Durham are extended by adding the following described property:

COLVARD FARMS TRACT

[...]

751 SOUTH ANNEXATION AREA TRACTS/PARCELS

Even though the actual annexation date is ten years out, this bill would effectively force Durham to provide services to the development as it moves forward.

The city hasn’t made any kind of response as of yet, but it’s unlikely there’s much to be done to obstruct the legislation – remember, a similar bill nearly passed under Bev last year, and it should have minimal resistance going forward this time around.

As I understand it, there are conceivably some legal avenues to explore to challenge this bill once it does become law, but IANAL and I couldn’t possibly comment.