On Friday, January 18, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce held its monthly Focus Friday event featuring the legislative forecast for 2019. N.C. Representative Chaz Beasley and N.C. Senator Vickie Sawyer presented important issues for 2019 and answered questions.
Representative Chaz Beasley (Democrat-District 92) was a member of the following committees and expects to remain a member for the new session:
- Banking (committee eliminated for the new session)
- Commerce & Job Development
- Financial Literacy in High School Curriculum. A bill was passed last year to provide students with education on managing financial decisions.
- Adjust Incentive Programs. The legislature is making adjustments to incentive programs to remain competitive, bring in new jobs, and maintain the jobs we already have.
- I-77 Tolls. According to Representative Beasley, “The window of opportunity is closing.” Further, he said that there are approximately two months to work on and present another bill in this long session. There is not enough time in the 2020 short session to do it. “Keep in mind, legislators are scared to touch this issue,” he commented. “None of them wants to end up with ownership of this issue.”
Senator Vickie Sawyer (Republican-District 34) is a member of the following committees:
- Insurance & Commerce
- Rules (Considered the most powerful committee in the Senate, it decides whether a bill comes out of committee to be voted upon.)
- Marshall Steam Plant – Coal Ash Ponds. Senator Sawyer presented information and feedback from the recent public meeting on this controversial topic. She has a personal interest as well since she lives in Mooresville in one of the areas being monitored for well water contamination. There is an increased rate of thyroid cancer in two areas of Mooresville. The N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) and the N.C. Dept. of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS) are investigating. She is urging residents to have patience with the process. “I wouldn’t want to give anyone a false sense of hope [by coming to a conclusion without evidence]. We would be poor stewards if we gave people the wrong answer.”
- I-77 Tolls. “I’m sure not scared! I’m a big realist; unless the senate changes its mind, there will be no action,” she said. “I think we have one more ‘Hail Mary’ pass for Kurt” [referring to having one more idea for Kurt Naas, Cornelius Town Commissioner, who has been spearheading the opposition to this project].
Additional Magistrates for North Mecklenburg. Mayor John Aneralla of Huntersville urged the legislators to pursue this issue. See our November Focus Friday story for details. Mayor Aneralla stated that all of the towns and Mecklenburg County are onboard to support it. Approval from the legislature is needed now. Representative Beasley confirmed, “Our justice system is woefully under-resourced.” Senator Sawyer said, “This is a very real situation.” She went on to tell the audience about a sex offender who is in violation of the order restricting his movements. It has taken over one-and-half years to obtain legal action against this person. Both legislators agreed that the need was urgent and supported this issue.
Focus Friday is a public policy program of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce that examines community and legislative issues from multiple perspectives. While intended for Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce members and community leaders, guests are welcome to RSVP to the chamber at 704-892-1922.
The program is presented by Novant Health – Huntersville Medical Center and sponsored by Business Today and WSIC 100.7 FM. The program is emceed by Public Policy Chairman Jason Colvin.