Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – June 12, 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

  • No bills introduced as the filing deadline has passed.

Key Committee Actions

Key House Votes

—–

Week in Review

Monday

  • No scheduled meetings and a no-vote session.


Tuesday

  • After a brief 9:30 a.m. meeting with my colleagues, session convened at 10 a.m. and we voted on various bills including:  SB655 (voted in favor/passed the House). 
  • At 1 p.m. the Judiciary 2 Committee met and we heard two bills: HB671 (voted in favor/passed committee) and SB223 (voted in favor/passed committee). 
  • At 3 p.m. I attended the Wildlife Resources Committee and we held a discussion-only meeting on HB867.


Wednesday

  • I met with my colleagues at 9:30 a.m. and we discussed various issues pertaining to the budget. 
  • Afterward, I met with individuals from Robeson County who were advocating on behalf of retirees.  I am always pleased to spend time meeting with folks from back home who make the trek to Raleigh. 
  • At noon, I attended another meeting with my colleagues and then headed back to the chamber for the 2 p.m. session.  We voted on various bills, including:  HB620 (voted yes/passed), HB511 (voted yes/passed) and HB746 (voted yes/passed)


Thursday

  • At 9 a.m. I attended a meeting with my colleagues. 
  • Session convened at 11:30 a.m. and we voted on:  SB577 (voted for/passed) and third readings of HB620 (voted for/passed) and HB746 (voted for/passed).
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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – June 5, 2017

Key Bills Sponsored/Introduced Last Week

  • No bills introduced as the filing deadline has passed.

 

Key Committee Actions Last Week

  • SB257:  Appropriations Act 2017 (reported favorably)
  • SB421:  Use of Career & Technical Funds/Onslow County (reported favorably)

 

Key House Votes Last Week

  • SB257:  Appropriations Act of 2017 (voted in favor/passed the House)
  • HB333:  Local Option Sales Tax Flexibility (voted in favor/passed the House)

 

Week in Review

Monday

  • No scheduled meetings and a no-vote session.

Tuesday

  • Session convened at 3:00 p.m. and we voted on various bills including:  HB57(passed) SB326(passed) and HB310(passed).

Wednesday

  • Wednesday morning I attended the Appropriations Committee at 8:45 a.m. and we voted on the House version of the budget.  Much of the day was spent in the committee discussing our proposal, SB257.  It passed the committee (I voted in favor) and it is headed for its first vote on Thursday in session.
  • I was also visited by my Sheriffs from the district, where we discussed various issue and concerns facing the district; it was great seeing them in Raleigh.
  • Between Appropriations and session, I met with the Department of Environmental Quality to discuss various needs for the district.
  • Before the day ended, I sent a letter to Secretary Trogdon with DOT regarding the incredibly dangerous Boardman intersection on US-74 in Columbus County.  I am doing all I can to ensure DOT is aware of the dangers of this intersection and that safety measures need to be expedited as quickly as possible.

Thursday

  • Session began at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday and we voted on various bills including:  HB333 (voted in favor), SB421(voted in favor) and the budget, SB257 (voted in favor).  The budget debate lasted for many hours before it passed the House.
  • Now, the Senate and House will meet to negotiate the differences between the two versions of the budget and look to come to a compromise moving forward.
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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – May 25, 2017

Key Bills Sponsored/Introduced Last Week

  • No bills introduced as the filing deadline has passed.

 

Key Committee Actions Last Week

  • SB470:  Personal Injury Bankruptcy Trust Claims (reported favorably)
  • HB918:  Post Crime On Social Media/Enhanced Sentence (reported favorably)

 

Key House Votes Last Week

  • HR922:  Observe Mecklenburg Independence Day (voted in favor/passed the House)
  • SB62:  Veterans’ Affairs Commission/Strategic Plan (voted in favor/passed the House)

 

Week in Review

Monday

  • No scheduled meetings and a no-vote session.

Tuesday

  • Session convened at 1:00 p.m. and we voted on various bills including:  HB434 (voted in favor) and SB62 (voted in favor).
  • After session adjourned, I attended the Judiciary II Committee where we heard and voted on 3 bills:  HB709 (reported favorably) HB918 (reported favorably) SB470 (reported favorably).
  • Later that afternoon, I visited the State Crime Lab and learned a great deal about the inner workings of the laboratory and the service it provides to the State.

Wednesday

  • Wednesday morning I met with various individuals including folks from the Workforce Innovation Program from Columbus County.
  • At 1:00 p.m. session convened in the old House Chamber in the State Capitol.  This special session was held to honor the 242nd anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration. The declaration was made during the American Revolution and it was the first declaration of independence.  HR922 passed unanimously.
  • At 2:00 p.m. I met with my colleagues for a meeting to discuss the budget.

Thursday

  • At 8:30 a.m. the Appropriations Justice and Public Safety Committee met. The discussion focused on our portion of the appropriation which will be included in the overall budget.
  • Session was held at 10 a.m. and it was a no-vote session.
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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – May 23, 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

  • No bills introduced as the filing deadline has passed.

Key Committee Actions

Key House Votes

—–

Week in Review
 
Monday

  • No scheduled meetings and a no-vote session.

Tuesday

  • The Transportation Committee met at 11 a.m. and three bills were heard: HB118 (reported favorably), HB863 (reported favorably) and HB644 (reported favorably). 
  • Session was held at 2:00 p.m. and it was a no-vote session.

Wednesday

  • On Wednesday, a meeting with my colleagues was held that morning to discuss the budget. 
  • Afterwards, session convened at 2:00 p.m.  We voted on various bills, including:  HB280 (voted in favor) and HB295 (voted in favor)

Thursday

  • No scheduled meetings and a no-vote session.
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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – May 15, 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

  • No bills introduced as the filing deadline has passed.

Key Committee Actions

Key House Votes

 

Week in Review

Monday

  • No scheduled meetings and a no-vote session.

Tuesday

  • No scheduled meetings and a no-vote session.

Wednesday

  • On Wednesday, various individuals from the district were in Raleigh, many of whom stopped by the office.  They included:  county commissioners, veterans groups and podiatrists.  I am greatly appreciative when constituents come to Raleigh to advocate on behalf of their organizations and the district. 
  • Session was held at 3:00 p.m. and one bill was voted on: HB467 (passed). 

Thursday

  • On Thursday, the Appropriations Committee met at 8:45 a.m. to discuss HB280.  It passed the committee. 
  • Session was held at 10:00 a.m. and various bills were voted on, including: HB357 (passed), HB890 (passed) and SB24 (passed).
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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – May 8, 2017

Key Bills Sponsored/Introduced Last Week

  • No bills introduced as the filing deadline has passed.

Key Committee Actions Last Week

  • No Committees held.

Key House Votes Last Week

Week in  Review 

  • Monday:  No scheduled meetings and a no-vote session.
  • Tuesday:  No scheduled meetings and a no-vote session.
  • Wednesday:  On Wednesday, I arrived back to Raleigh to extend a welcome to the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions, the North Carolina Tarheels.  The Senate joined us in the House Chamber and the basketball team, along with Coach Roy Williams and staff, sat at the front of the chamber as a few members spoke to congratulate them on a memorable season.  We passed House Joint Resolution 921 entitled, “Honor UNC Men’s Basketball 2017 Championship.”  No other official business was scheduled for the remainder of the week.
  • Thursday: No scheduled committees and a no-vote session.

 

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Legislative Update from Rep. Brenden Jones – May 1, 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

  • We started Monday off with an earlier than normal committee schedule due to the crossover deadline approaching on Thursday. 
  • At 1 p.m. the Transportation Committee met and heard HB716 (I voted in favor), HB91 (I voted in favor) and HB636 (I voted in favor).  
  • At 3 p.m. the Wildlife Committee met and heard various bills, including HB559 (I voted in favor) and HB545 (I voted in favor)  
  • Afterward I attended a meeting with my colleagues and then headed to session at 5 p.m.  We voted on numerous bills, including HB666 (I voted in favor), HB528 (I voted in favor) and HB299 (I voted in favor).

Tuesday

  • We had an early session at 9 a.m. where we voted on a bill to override the Governor’s veto of SB68 (I voted to override)
  • Next, I attended the Education K-12 Committee, where I am one of the primary sponsors of HB600 entitled “School Construction Flexibility.”  It passed the committee. 
  • Shortly thereafter I attended the Judiciary II Committee where we heard many bills, including HB336 (I voted against), HB670 (I voted in favor) and HB708 (I voted in favor).
  • Session was held at 3 p.m. and we voted on various bills, including  HB835 (I voted in favor), HB600 (I voted in favor) and HB636 (I voted in favor). 
  • Session went past 10 p.m. and we voted on over 40 bills.

 
Wednesday

  • At 9 a.m. I attended the Elections and Ethics Law Committee where HB290 (I am a primary sponsor) was heard.  It passed the committee. 
  • Next, I attended an 11 a.m. Health Committee meeting in which HB466 (also a primary sponsor) was on the schedule. It passed the committee.  
  • Shortly thereafter, I attended the Joint Legislative American Indian Affairs Caucus.  I am happy to be a member of this important group that meets with leaders from the state-recognized American Indian tribes in North Carolina. 
  • We held session at 2 p.m. and voted on various bills, including HB630 (I voted in favor), HB600 (I voted in favor) and HB466 (I voted in favor). 
  • We adjourned session at 11:32 p.m.

 
Thursday

  • After meeting with my colleagues at 9:30 a.m., session convened at 10:30 a.m. 
  • We voted on various bills, including HB37 (I voted no), HB799 (I voted in favor) and HB36 (I voted in favor). 
  • We adjourned at 4:03 p.m. 

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Expanded Information on Primary-Sponsored Bills

HB666:  This is the first bill, in which I was the lead primary sponsor, to pass the House.  What this bill does is give all fire departments the ability to apply for a waiver for primary personnel. Many departments indicated to me that they were having difficulty finding volunteers and this waiver will allow departments to decrease the maximum number of volunteers that are currently mandated.  So, the bill provides fire departments the option to have greater flexibility in the amount of firefighters they are required to maintain in order to satisfy certification inspection requirements.  The focus was to try to relax the mandates on fire departments because I know that it is a challenge to maintain a certain amount of volunteers, particularly in rural areas.  The bill passed the House 116-1.

HB466:  This is a bill in which I was the lead sponsor that also passed the House.  What this bill does is assist independent pharmacies (and this is incredibly important to my district) by allowing them to provide information to their patients regarding the amount of the insured’s cost share for a prescription drug.  It also allows pharmacists to sell lower-cost alternative drugs to consumers.  Additionally, it would prohibit pharmacy benefits managers from using contract terms to prevent pharmacies from providing store direct delivery services.  The bill also provides pharmacy and pharmacist protections which ultimately will help smaller pharmacies to compete with the bigger pharmaceutical companies.  In all, it provides a level playing field and it benefits the small business owner and the consumer.  The bill passed the House 115-0.

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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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