Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – April 24, 2017

Last week was a short but busy week in the General Assembly. Below is a summary of key bills I introduced or sponsored, key actions taken by committees on which I serve, and key House votes.

Key Bills Sponsored / Introduced

  • Representative Jones did not sponsor or introduce any bills last week due to the filing deadline, which limited the number of bills available for co-sponsorship.

Key Committee Actions

Key House Votes

Week in Review

The legislature re-convened on Wednesday, April 19 following an Easter break.

Wednesday

  • The Transportation Committee met at noon and we heard various bills including, HB287 (voted in favor), HB619 (voted in favor), and HB220 (voted in favor). 
  • At 1 p.m., HB68 (of which I am a primary sponsor) was heard in the Energy and Public Utilities Committee.  It passed the committee. 
  • At 3 p.m. I attended the ABC Committee.  We voted on HB480 (voted in favor), and HB511 (voted in favor).  
  • Session was held at 4 p.m. and among the bills we voted on were:  HB29 (voted in favor), HB319 (voted in favor), and HB369 (voted in favor).

Thursday

  • At 10 a.m. I attended the State and Local Government II Committee, where my bill, HB666 (Revise Volunteer Fire Dept. Req’ts) passed the committee.  This bill would allow fire departments the ability to apply for a waiver from the requirement that they maintain 20 primary personnel.  With it getting more and more difficult to obtain volunteers, the bill would enable local fire departments the ability to continue serving their community as long as they have 15 members. 
  • Following committee, I had a meeting with my colleagues before heading to session at 2 p.m. 
  • During session, we voted on various bills, including: HB690 (voted in favor), HB68 (voted in favor), and HB585 (voted in favor).
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BRIGHT Futures Jobs Bill Passes North Carolina House

RALEIGH — The North Carolina House of Representatives passed House Bill 68 BRIGHT Futures Act on Thursday by a 109-8 vote, approving legislation to connect rural residents of the state to broadband services and help under-served regions attract economic development opportunities of the 21st Century.

The BRIGHT Futures Act stands for Broadband, Retail, Internet of Things, Grid power, Healthcare and Training – emerging markets of the digital age that are critical to creating jobs and spurring economic investment in North Carolina.

House Bill 68 BRIGHT Futures Act is sponsored by Reps. John Szoka (R-Cumberland), Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), Rep. Susan Martin (R-Wilson) and Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus).  It facilitates the development of digital infrastructure in rural areas by allowing local governments to partner with private internet providers and bring wired services to their residents.

“Rural and underserved areas have historically been left behind when key technology and infrastructure have been required for economic development,” said Rep. John Szoka.  “This bill clarifies the ability of public-private partnerships to find ways to develop this critical infrastructure, and continues the tradition that led to innovative business models in the past.”

The legislation would accelerate economic investment and grow rural economies by providing digital infrastructure to help businesses expand across North Carolina.  The BRIGHT Futures Act addresses gaps in digital infrastructure that affect more than 3 million North Carolinians in 85 counties.

“In an economy increasingly based on knowledge, the opportunity to access information is critical,” said Rep. Jason Saine.  “The BRIGHT Futures Act is a crucial component to meeting that need.”

Rep. Brenden Jones also released a statement:

“I represent some of the lowest income areas in the state and access to broadband is extremely limited,” said Rep. Brenden Jones. “It is vital that citizens living in our rural and underserved areas have access to technology tools of the 21st century.”

The expansion of digital infrastructure will provide long-term benefits by encouraging population growth in rural regions, permitting work-from-home opportunities that increase per-capita income and growing the state’s Gross Domestic Product.

“The BRIGHT Futures Act will help expand broadband access to citizens in rural communities by encouraging partnerships between local governments and private companies,” said Rep. Susan Martin. “I believe this is a critical component that will help expand economic development, provide greater access to healthcare, and increase educational and training opportunities.”

Ensuring connectivity of underserved areas will help students learn from home, allow medical professionals to provide telehealth options and create infrastructure jobs by enabling local governments to lease excess infrastructure to internet providers.

House Bill 68 is permissive legislation that allows local governments to partner with private industry without creating a mandate, subsidy, or tax.  It does not allow cities or counties to provide broadband services directly or compete with private industry.

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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – April 17, 2017

Last week was a short but busy week in the General Assembly. Below is a summary of key bills I introduced or sponsored, key actions taken by committees on which I serve, and key House votes.

Key Bills Sponsored/Introduced Last Week

Key Committee Actions Last Week

Key House Votes Last Week

 

Week in Review

Monday

  • Met with staff and colleagues to discuss a bill. 
  • Also met with various members and discussed wildlife-related issues. 
  • Session began at 5 p.m. and we voted on various bills, including:  HB223 (voted in favor), HB300 (voted in favor) and HB206 (voted in favor).

Tuesday

  • Tuesday morning the ABC Committee met and we held discussions but not votes on HB460 and HB500.
  • At 10 a.m. I attended the Regulatory Reform Committee, where HB443 (of which I am a primary sponsor) was heard and passed.  It has now been referred to the Finance Committee. 
  • Next, I headed over to the Transportation Committee at 11 a.m.  We voted on a few bills including HB94 (voted in favor) and HB418 (voted in favor).  At 1 p.m. I attended the Energy and Public Utilities Committee where HB68 was heard for discussion only.  I am a co-primary sponsor of this legislation. 
  • Session was held at 2:00 p.m.  We voted on various bills including:  HB228 (voted in favor), SB68 (voted in favor), HB501 (voted in favor).  
  • After session, the legislature adjourned through 4/18.  No committee meetings or votes will be held until we reconvene on 4/19. 
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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – Apr. 11, 2017

Last week was a busy week in the General Assembly. Below is a summary of key bills I introduced or sponsored, key actions taken by committees on which I serve, and key House votes.

Key Bills Sponsored / Introduced

Key Committee Actions

Key House Votes

Week in Review

Monday

  • No vote session held on Monday.

Tuesday

  • Tuesday morning the Transportation Committee met and voted on: HB110, HB21, HB181 and HB349
  • At 1 p.m the Judiciary II Committee met and heard HB128, HB325 and HB337.
  • Various meetings with my colleagues were held that afternoon and a no-vote session was held at 6 p.m.

Wednesday

  • After a meeting with my freshman colleagues, I then held a productive meeting with an individual affiliated with the Wildlife Resource Commission. 
  • During session we voted on the UNC Board of Governor’s nominees.  We also voted on various bills including, HB490 (voted in favor) HB150 (voted in favor), and HB302 (voted in favor).

Thursday

  • The Agriculture and Rural Caucus met at 7:30 a.m. 
    After meeting with my fellow colleagues, session was held at 2:00 p.m.  Votes were held on numerous bills, including:  HB128, HB353 and HB340.

—–

 

Other Issues or Questions?

If you have questions or comments about other issues, please feel free to call my legislative assistant, Andrew Bailey, at 919-733-5821 or jonesla@ncleg.net.  

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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – April 3, 2017

Last week was a busy week in the General Assembly. Below is a summary of key bills I introduced or sponsored, key actions taken by committees on which I serve, and key House votes.

Statement on HB 142

I want to take a moment to thank everyone for sharing their concerns and keeping me in their thoughts and prayers during today’s vote on HB2. I can say, unequivocally, that I am absolutely against allowing men and women to share restrooms or changing facilities. I am a father of two young daughters, and I would not support a bill that I felt in any way would put them in danger.  Click here to read the full statement.

Key Bills Sponsored / Introduced

Key Committee Action

Key House Votes

 

Week in Review

Monday

  • After meeting with colleagues, session was held at 7 p.m. We voted on HB362, HB174, HB164, and HB159.

Tuesday

  • Transportation Committee was held at 11 a.m. and we heard the following bills:  HB31, HB337, HB332, HB336 and HB110
  • Agriculture was held at noon and a presentation was provided by the University of Mt. Olive College’s Agriculture Department. 
  • Judiciary II was held at 1 p.m. and we voted on HB125, HB216 and HB225.
  • During session we voted on various bills, including: HB277, HB315, HB28, and HB379.

Wednesday

  • After a morning meeting with my freshman colleagues, I attended the State and Local Government Committee to speak on a bill that was being heard. 
  • Shortly thereafter, I was visited by members of the St. Paul delegation, as well as with members from Bolton delegation and the Whiteville City Council and city manager.
  • Session was held at 2 p.m. and we voted various bills, including: HB2, HB31, HB45, HB125 and HB252.

Thursday

  • After meeting with colleagues, session was held at 11 a.m. and we voted on HB142 and HB458.
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Statement on HB 142

I want to take a moment to thank everyone for sharing their concerns and keeping me in their thoughts and prayers during today’s vote on HB2. I can say, unequivocally, that I am absolutely against allowing men and women to share restrooms or changing facilities. I am a father of two young daughters, and I would not support a bill that I felt in any way would put them in danger.

Charlotte began this unnecessary conflict by doing the bidding of radical special interests groups, even though they never had the constitutional authority to pass such an ordinance to begin with.

The bill we voted on today and that I supported, HB142, is not a repeal of HB2 so much as it resets the bathroom policies as they were before Charlotte interfered. The bill clearly states that radical city councils like Charlotte and other government entities CANNOT regulate access of multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities. Only the NC General Assembly may enact bathroom ordinances. What this essentially means is that the restroom provision of HB2 remains and our children will not be forced to share bathrooms with those of the opposite sex. So long as I represent the people of the 46th district, I will not waiver on this vital issue of privacy.

In addition to this, I have joined with Senator Britt in drafting a bill that strengthens existing law and offers even more protections for everyone in restrooms and changing facilities. My bill will do two things: First, it will specifically state it is a second degree trespass for entering the restroom or changing room of the opposite sex; secondly, it would enhance the punishment from what is now, a class 3 misdemeanor punishable up to only 10 days, to a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable up to 120 days in jail.

To summarize, the bill we passed today, HB142, does the following:

  • Returns bathroom policies to how they were before Charlotte’s bathroom ordinance.
  • Protects the privacy of the citizens of the state and prevents local governments from regulating bathrooms.
  • Implements a moratorium on local ordinances until December 1st, 2020, which will allow federal litigation to be resolved.

I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of your continued support. It truly means so much to me and my family. I hope this great state can now move forward knowing that what we passed not only keeps us safe but respects our right to privacy.

I hope you will share this information with your friends and anyone else who had concerns about today’s vote. And I hope you will support Sen. Britt and me as we pursue passing stronger language to ensure proper punishment of violators. God bless you all and may God continue to bless the great State of North Carolina.

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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – March 27, 2017

If you’d like to receive this information via email, please click here to sign up for my constituent e-newsletter

Last week was a busy week in the General Assembly. Below is a summary of key bills I introduced or sponsored, key actions taken by committees on which I serve, and key House votes.

Key Bills Sponsored / Introduced

Key Committee Actions

Key House Votes

Week in Review

Monday

  • A meeting with colleagues was followed by session at 7 p.m. We voted on HB42.

Tuesday

  • At 8:30 a.m. I attended the Appropriations, Justice & Public Safety Committee.  Presentations were given on Division of Juvenile Justice, the recidivism rate, costs for the programs, etc. 
  • The Transportation Committee met at 11 a.m. We heard bills HB214, HB300, HB84, HB242.
  • Judiciary II met shortly after 1 p.m. HB128 and HB138 passed committee.
  • I also had the pleasure of speaking to a couple of constituents who stopped by.  It’s always great seeing folks from back home in Raleigh.
  • Session was held at 1 p.m. and no votes occurred.
  • That evening, I had a meeting with the President of the NC Community College System. We discussed the various needs of the community colleges in the district and statewide. 

Wednesday

  • At 9 a.m. I met with individuals affiliated with the electric cooperatives and discussed issues affecting cooperative members in the district.
  • Session was held at 2 p.m. and bills voted on included: HB100, HB90, HB222, HB214, and HB33.
  • That evening, I attended an event held by the NC Conference of District Attorneys. 

Thursday

  • I attended a meeting with the Agriculture and Rural Caucus.
  • Appropriations, Justice & Public Safety met at 9 a.m. We discussed the operational budget of the state crime lab, among other budgetary concerns. 
  • After a meeting with colleagues, we held session at noon and voted on various bills, including: HB134HB138, and HB161.
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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – March 20, 2017

If you’d like to receive this information via email, please click here to sign up for my constituent e-newsletter

Last week was a busy week in the General Assembly. Below is a summary of key bills I introduced or sponsored, key actions taken by committees on which I serve, and key House votes.

Key Bills Sponsored / Introduced

Key Committee Actions

Key House Votes

Week in Review

Monday

  • After meeting with a few of my colleagues, we held session at 6 p.m and no votes were held.  Following session, Governor Cooper gave the State of the State address in which he laid out his priorities moving forward. 

Tuesday

  • Appropriations, Justice and Public Safety met at 8:30 a.m. and further presentations were provided, including on justice reinvestment. 
  • Transportation met at 11:00 a.m. and we considered HB207, HB212, and HB223.
  • Judiciary II met at 1:00 p.m. and we considered HB63.
  • Session was at 2:00 p.m. and we voted on HB86 and HB144.
  • Later that evening, I attended a Firefighters and Paramedics Appreciation Dinner. 

Wednesday

  • Appropriations, Justice and Public Safety met at 8:30 a.m. and presentations continued regarding the budget, in particular justice reinvestment. 
  • Shortly thereafter, we had constituents stop by on behalf of the Bladen County Farm Bureau delegation for Agriculture Day at the Legislature.
  • At 11:00 a.m. we had the ABC Committee and presentations were given by a local ABC board and ALE staff.
  • During Session we voted on a few bills, including HB322, HB15 and HB256.
  • That evening, I attended an Agriculture Industry Reception as well as the Manufactured and Modular Home Builders Reception.

Thursday

  • Session was at 10:00 a.m. and votes were held on various bills including HB235 and HR394.
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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden H. Jones – March 13, 2017

Last week was a busy week in the General Assembly. Below is a summary of key bills I introduced or sponsored, key actions taken by committees on which I serve, and key House votes.

Key Bills Sponsored / Introduced

Key Committee Actions

Key House Votes

Bills HB239, HB240 and HB241 are bills that streamline the process of judicial appointments.  These bills would:

  • Reduce the size of the current Court of Appeals from 15 to 12 judges; data from the past five years indicates that the Court’s caseload has dropped by approximately 20%;  
  • Provide the General Assembly the authority to appoint special .Superior Court Judges; This increases transparency and gives citizens more of a say in the process instead of it being unilaterally decided by the Governor. On the local level, this legislation gives the local Bar the opportunity to meet with its local representatives to have a stronger voice in who they recommend.

Monday was a voting session; we took up a few bills, including HB142 (Increase Oversight of OLBs) and HB98 (Crim. Offense/Vandalize Fire & EMS Equipment)

Tuesday morning, I attended a breakfast sponsored by the Licensed Counselors Association. After the breakfast we had an Appropriations, Justice and Public Safety Committee, during which we discussed various portions of the Governor’s budget proposal. 

After a brief meeting with a few of my colleagues, I attended the Transportation Committee and we discussed/voted on several bills, including:

In Judiciary II later that day we discussed HB63:  Citizens Protection Act of 2017.

Wednesday morning, I spoke with an individual representing the Coastal Conservation Association.  Afterward, I attended an Appropriations, Justice and Public Safety meeting in which we continued discussions on the department’s budgetary goals/concerns. 

After meeting with colleagues, we had session at 2 p.m. and voted on various bills, including:

Thursday started off with a 7:30 Agriculture and Rural Caucus meeting.  I also attended Appropriations, Justice and Public Safety and our first Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee meeting of this year’s session. 

Thursday’s session began at 11:00 a.m. and we voted on numerous bills. 

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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – Mar. 7, 2017

Last week was a busy week in the General Assembly. Below is a summary of key bills I introduced or sponsored, key actions taken by committees on which I serve, and key House votes.

Key Bills Sponsored / Introduced

Key Committee Actions

Key House Votes

Tuesday was a busy day for committee meetings, beginning with the first official meeting of the Agriculture and Rural Caucus at 7:30. The purpose of the caucus is to help grow the agriculture community and support rural communities across the State.

This was immediately followed by the Appropriations, Justice and Public Safety Committee, which met at 8:30 Tuesday.  Various government officials gave presentations on the JPS budget, such as prisons, their costs, capacity, etc.

The Transportation Committee met at 11:00 a.m.  The following bills were considered:

The Judiciary II Committee met at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.  The following bills were considered: 

During session Tuesday, we took up HB5, entitled Unemployment Insurance Technical Changes.  It was simply an act that made technical, administrative and clarifying changes to the unemployment insurance laws. 

On Wednesday, I was visited by individuals from the Coastal Carolinas Health Reliance, which serves portions of Columbus and Bladen counties. 

During session Wednesday, we took up various technical and modification bills, including but not limited to:

  • HB14, which modifies the appointment methods of certain community college boards of trustees
  • HB92 which is an act to establish the Blue Ribbon Committee on transportation infrastructure funding, as recommended by the House Select Committee on Strategic Transportation Planning and Long Term Funding Solutions.

After brief meetings in my office Thursday morning I headed to the Appropriations Committee, where the Governor’s Budget Director presented the Governor’s proposed 2017-2019 budget.  Following this, session was held and we concluded business on a number of bills, including HB12 and HB98.

North Carolina’s Business Ranking on the Rise:

  • Thanks to common-sense, pro-growth tax reforms – reforms which included reductions to both the corporate and individual tax rates – the nonpartisan Tax Foundation recently moved North Carolina’s tax climate up to the 11th most competitive in the nation. This is a remarkable leap for our state, as we previously fell in at a dismal 44th in tax competitiveness. Now, North Carolina offers the lowest corporate rate in the nation among states which levy one, enabling our job creators to do what they do best – create more jobs.
  • North Carolina investors – and newly implemented laws that have boosted intellectual property protections for in-state companies — were major factors in the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s decision to rank North Carolina as a top-10 state for both high tech performance and entrepreneurship and innovation in 2016.
  • Forbes awarded North Carolina the distinction as the #2 “Best State for Business.” And in 2016, we appeared in the top-five of two other influential lists of the best places in the nation to do business: CNBC’s “Top States for Business” and Chief Executive’s “Best States for Business” surveys.
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