Weekly Roundup: Interesting Reads for GPS Members

Everything you wanted to know about nonprofits and elections…but were afraid to ask.” By David Heinen, North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. From the Article: “As yard signs are beginning to show up in lawns across North Carolina in preparation for the March 3 primary election, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits has been fielding many questions about the types of election-related activities nonprofits can and can’t do. To save you the trouble of a phone call or email, we’re sharing some thoughts (and even a few answers!) on some of the most common questions we’re hearing.”

Argument preview: Justices to consider whether the Appalachian Trail blocks proposed natural gas pipeline.” By Noah Sachs, February 18, 2020, SCOTUSblog. From the Article: “On Monday, February 24, the Supreme Court will hear argument in U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association and Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association. These consolidated cases pit a pipeline developer and the U.S. Forest Service against environmental groups that want to halt the pipeline’s construction and protect the Appalachian Trail.”

State appeals court temporarily blocks voter ID law in North Carolina.” By Elise Viebeck, February 18, 2020, The Washington Post. From the Article: “A second court has temporarily blocked North Carolina’s new voter identification law on the argument that it discriminates against African Americans. The ruling reduces the likelihood that the rule will be in effect in a key swing state during November’s elections.”

Communities Across NC Awarded $166 Million for Water and Sewer System Improvements.” February 19, 2020, Press Release, NC Governor Roy Cooper. From the Press Release: “$166 million in loans and grants to help pay for 88 critical drinking water and wastewater projects. The projects are scattered across the state and directed toward infrastructure resiliency and protection of drinking water and the environment.”

What Ails Rural Health Care?” By Zack Buck, February 13, 2020, Health Law Jotwell. From the Article: “In the piece written for the Harvard Law & Policy Review, Huberfeld starts by documenting the health disparities that citizens living in rural America face—from lower rates of insurance coverage; to limited access to primary care; to higher rates of chronic diseases and poverty. . . . Huberfeld then skillfully weaves these data and trends into other data that reflect higher rates of deaths of despair, mental and public health challenges, and ultimately, differences amongst financial structures that negatively impact access to health care in rural areas.”

Keeping Calm With First Amendment Audits.” January 2020, Municipal Association of South Carolina. From the Article: “The city clerk is busily preparing council meeting minutes when an unexpected and confrontational visitor arrives. The person gives no reason for the visit or an identification, but instead demands answers: “What is your name? What is your job here? What’s in that room over there?” The person is also recording the encounter with a mobile phone and begins to walk down the hallway into the private office areas. What should the clerk do?”

Weekly Roundup: Interesting Reads for GPS Members

Don’t Forget the States.” By Kathryn Watts, Feb. 5, 2020, Administrative Law Jotwell. From the Article: “Largely missing from this scholarly discourse, however, has been a focus on the important role that the states can and have played in both furthering—and counteracting—presidential administration. In her forthcoming article titled Administrative States: Beyond Presidential Administration, Professor Jessica Bulman-Pozen seeks to remedy this scholarly void. Specifically, Professor Bulman-Pozen seeks to bring the states into the modern day account of presidential administration.”

Planning Boards Inclusion Report.” By Allen Buansi, UNC Center for Civil Rights. From the Report: “There are 100 counties in North Carolina, and 92 of those counties have planning boards. The Center was able to interview with staff from 85 of the 92 counties. This report focused on the following three aspects of county planning boards: (1) powers and duties, (2) member selection procedures; and (3) racial, ethnic and gender representation.”

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Weekly Roundup: Interesting Reads for GPS Members

IRS outlines new tax law effect on tax exempt organizations.” Jan. 28, 2020, IRS. From the Article: “The Internal Revenue Service wants tax-exempt organizations to know about recent tax law changes that might affect them. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act, passed on December 20, 2019, includes several provisions that may apply to tax-exempt organizations’ current and previous tax years.”

Attorney General Josh Stein Sues to Prevent Release of 3-D Firearm Files.” Jan. 24, 2020, N.C. Department of Justice. From the Press Release: “Attorney General Josh Stein joined a federal lawsuit to challenge the federal government’s latest effort to allow 3-D printed firearm blueprints to be released online. These files would allow plug-and-play access to 3-D printed unregistered, untraceable, hard-to-detect firearms, also known as ‘ghost guns.'”

City Obligations for Providing Services to Annexed Areas.” By Frayda Bluestein, Jan. 30, 2020, UNC School of Government. Questions Presented in the Article: “What services must be provided to annexed areas? Is there a standard level of services that a city must meet? If a city provides utilities, does the law require a city to extend those utilities to all satellite areas?”

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Weekly Roundup: Interesting Reads for GPS Members

Court Prohibits Correction of Appraisal Errors.” By Chris McLaughlin, January 15, 2020, UNC School of Government. From the Article: “[T]his Union County case focuses on the issue I raise in the opening hypothetical: may a county change an appraisal in a non-reval year to correct a prior appraisal error?”

The NC Courts Website as a Research Tool.” Posted by Ellie Campbell, UNC School of Law, Katherine R. Everett Law Library. From the Article: “When the North Carolina court system launched its new website, it streamlined the design and made information about the courts easier to find. The new website includes information targeting public users, but it also includes features that make it an excellent research tool.”

Fourth Circuit: Non-Disparagement Clause in Police Misconduct Settlement Violates First Amendment.” By Ruthann Robson, July 12, 2019, Constitutional Law Prof Blog. From the Article: “It’s opinion clearly held that ‘the non-disparagement clause in Overbey’s settlement agreement amounts to a waiver of her First Amendment rights and that strong public interests rooted in the First Amendment make it unenforceable and void.'”

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Interesting Reads and Other Helpful Resources for Government and Public Sector Attorneys

We’d like to highlight the University of North Carolina School of Government Survey. For those unfamiliar, the School of Government provides a wealth of information and resources for attorneys in our section. The survey should only take a few minutes and closes Friday, November 22, 2019.

“Electronic Records Day 2019: Social Media as a Public Record.” Mark Holland / October 10, 2019, Resources, State Archives of North Carolina. From the Article: “This year the Archives is focusing on social media.  Just like records in any other format, if social media posts (on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) are created during the transaction of public business by state, local, or university governments, then they are considered to be public records by law.”

“Sales Tax 101 for Local Governments.” Chris McLaughlin / October 31, 2019, UNC School of Government. From the Article: “The one sales tax issue on which I frequently get questions from local governments concerns their liability to pay or charge sales taxes on their own purchases and sales.  The N.C. Department of Revenue (the “DOR”) recently released updated guidance on this issue, along with many others, in its Sales and Use Tax Bulletin (June 2019)(the “SUTB”). This blog summarizes what local governments need to know about the SUTB and about sales taxes in general.”

“Chapter 160D and Other Zoning Legislation.” Adam Lovelady / September 19, 2019, UNC School of Government. From the Article: “The General Assembly has enacted significant legislation affecting planning and development regulations in North Carolina. A newly released legislative bulletin summarizes the changes already enacted. The most significant land use legislation is the adoption of Chapter 160D, a new chapter of the General Statutes that consolidates the prior city- and county-enabling authority and implements a range of consensus clarifications and reforms. These changes will require updates to all local government development regulations by 2021.”

Riding the Waves of Change: 2019 Legislative Review

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By Christina Cress
Four NCBA Sections are combining their respective experience and subject matter expertise to bring you an informative CLE highlighting this session’s legislative updates.

The Administrative Law Section; Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Section; Government & Public Sector Section; and Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights Section are teaming up to bring you a 6.0‑credit hour CLE beginning at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, November 8, titled “Riding the Waves of Change: 2019 Legislative Review.”  Although it will be available by webcast and On Demand, we encourage you to attend live so that you can enjoy fellowship and networking during breakfast and lunch, both of which are include in your CLE registration.

The content-packed agenda features speakers who are both seasoned veterans on Jones Street and those who are relatively new to lobbying.  The sessions are both broad enough to include tips for all lawyers and practice areas, but sufficiently tailored to provide a specific substantive update on the most salient legislative actions taken this session as well as a general refresher of legislative procedure 101!  Come learn what the North Carolina General Assembly has (or has not) changed and the practical effects of those changes.  Brush up on your legislative procedure knowledge and skills.  Hear about the most debated and followed bills of the current legislative session.

Specific sessions include a Hot Topics Potpourri Panel moderated by Bain Jones, featuring panelists Jack Nichols, Reginald O’Rourke, and Robin L. Tatum.  You also will hear from Karen Brinson Bell, Bob Joyce, Katelyn Love, and Bruce Thompson, II, during our Elections and Redistricting Updates.  Meisha Evans and Nick Fountain will bring you Legislative Process 101.  Dixon Snukals will take you on a deep dive into Environmental and Energy updates.  And LaToya Powell will end the day with an update on Juvenile Justice Reform and Child Welfare Law.

There truly is something for everyone in this CLE – even if not in your specific practice area, then at least in your role as a citizen of the Old North State!  We hope you will join us!

Request for Articles: Write for the GPS Blog

By Amy O’Neal

As we have officially entered the fall season (despite the deceiving outside temperatures), it is a great time to consider submitting an article for publication on the Government and Public Sector Blog. Our blog posts are sent to GPS Section members and are available to all attorneys who are members of an NCBA Section. Send proposed articles to this year’s Communications Committee Co-Chairs, Amy O’Neal (amy.oneal@wbd-us.com) and Matt Sommer (msommer16@gmail.com).

Whether an introductory article or an in-depth piece, your proposed articles are welcome and would be much appreciated. We are looking for articles about:

  • Government and Public Sector law basics
  • Recent cases or case law
  • Proposed rules or legislation
  • Recently passed rules or legislation
  • Practice tips for those interacting with government agencies, boards, commissions, etc.
  • Information and news about government agencies, boards, commissions, etc.
  • Other areas of the law that intersect with the Government and Public Sector (e.g., administrative law)
  • Book reviews

In addition to original content, feel free to submit recent third-party articles or news stories that may be interesting or helpful to GPS Members. Please reach out to Amy or Matt if you have any questions or any suggested topics that you would like to see covered by the GPS Blog.

A Message from the Chair of the NCBA Government and Public Sector Section

By Mike Thelen

Dear Members of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Government and Public Sector Section (GPS):

Welcome to the Association’s 2019-2020 year!  My name is Mike.  I’m honored to serve as this year’s chair of the GPS Section alongside a formidable and distinguished set of officers and a Section Council, the members of which are LINKED HERE.  I look forward to working alongside our officers, Council members, and committee chairs to deliver to you the value each of you deserve as members of the GPS Section.

As we start the year, I invite you to mark your calendars with and to consider the following opportunities:

If you haven’t yet done so, please renew your Bar Association membership.  As you may know, the Bar Association revised its due structure for this year.  Two of the benefits of that revision are (1) you are entitled to one free Section membership (Can you hear me Irish whispering “GPS”?), and (2) you are entitled to monthly on-demand CLEs from the Expert Series.  Renew your membership now so that you can consume the September CLE before it expires.  You can email membership@ncbar.org or call (919) 677-0561 to discuss your renewal.

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Put It On Your Calendar Now: ‘Riding the Waves of Change: 2019 Legislative Review’

By Paige Worsham
The Government & Public Sector Section is joining forces with the Administrative Law, Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights, and Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Sections to bring you a 6.0 credit hour CLE this fall, titled “Riding the Waves of Change: 2019 Legislative Review.” The CLE will take place at the N.C. Bar Center in Cary from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8, 2019.  While it will be available by webcast and On Demand, we encourage you to attend live to enjoy the networking that is sure to occur during the breakfast and lunch, both of which will be provided.  The four co-planning Sections combine their expertise to provide updates and answers regarding the 2019 legislative actions. Learn what the North Carolina General Assembly has (or has not) changed and the practical effects of those changes. Brush up on your legislative procedure knowledge and skills. Hear about the most debated and followed bills of the current legislative session.

New Law Affects State Government Rulemaking and Contested Cases

By Ann B. Wall

Rulemaking coordinators across state government are no doubt heaving a sigh of relief.  They will welcome a new law that makes long desired changes in state government rulemaking. This new law will allow quick fixes to small but important elements in the North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC). See, S.L. 2019-140, An Act to Amend Various Administrative Procedure Laws. The changes were effective with Gov. Cooper’s signature on Friday, July 19.        Read more