North Carolina’s Path To Prosperity: Summary of Key Legislative Victories 2011 through 2013
Rep. Tom Murry Named Top Ten Most Effective Members in Legislature
The latest biennial effectiveness survey of the North Carolina legislature from the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research shows second-term Republicans making some big jumps as the GOP continues to hold majorities in the House and Senate.
Second-term House members rising in the rankings include Reps. Tom Murry, R-Wake (10th); Mike Hager, R-Rutherford (11th); Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe (12th); Bill Brawley, R-Meklenburg (19th); and Craig Horn, R-Union (20th). None of the five ranked higher than 30th in the previous survey. In the Senate, second-termers Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick (7th), Brent Jackson, R-Sampson (8th), Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell (9th), Rick Gunn, R-Alamance (11th), Kathy Harrington, R-Gaston (13th), and Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover (14th). Among the six, Rabon held the highest previous ranking in 2012 at 18th.
The rise of second-term lawmakers in the majority party are consistent with the factors that Center director Ran Coble typically lead to higher effectiveness. “Over the years, the key factors in a higher effectiveness ranking are being in the majority party, how long a legislators has served, being chair of a committee, and their personal skills in moving legislation,” Coble said.
The rankings are based on a survey of legislators, lobbyists and capital news reporters. (The News & Observer’s capital team does not participate.)
Once again, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, received the top rankings in their respective chambers. The two Rules Committee chairs in their respective chambers, Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, and Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, occupied the second spot in each set of rankings.
Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, at 31st, was the highest ranked freshman in the House; Sen.. Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, at 26th, was rated the highest among Senate freshmen. Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, at 16th,was rated the most effective Democrat in the House, while House Minority Leader Larry Hall, D-Durham, was ranked 23rd in the chamber. Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, was the highest ranked Senate Democrat at 17th.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/04/09/3770020/gop-lawmakers-rise-in-effectiveness.html#storylink=cpy
SolarBees planned for Jordan Lake didn’t do well elsewhere
The floating, circulating devices that state lawmakers want to use to clean up Jordan Lake didn’t do so well in a pilot project elsewhere in North Carolina.
SolarBees were employed in Cabarrus County’s Lake Howell in 2007, but monitoring and testing by the UNC-Charlotte Environmental Assistance Office led to a less than enthusiastic review.
The devices had a “subtle” performance record, according to the university’s final recommendation in 2010. The recommendation: Stop using SolarBees because they had “minimal improvements” on water quality, or else modify the devices.
State Rep. Tom Murry, a Republican from Cary, raised questions about the Lake Howell pilot project at a legislative committee meeting last month. “I don’t like to waste taxpayers’ money,” he said, calling for firm data on whether the SolarBees work or not.
Jordan Lake provides drinking water for 300,000 people. Murry represents a district that is downstream from the lake.
Upstream legislators, representing polluting municipalities, are anxious to find a way to clean up the lake without imposing the measures that a previous General Assembly approved in 2009.
Their answer: Three dozen solar-powered creatures that would help combat pollution from algae, placed on tributaries pouring into the lake.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has done an environmental assessment of the pilot project and found no significant downsides. But the state chapter of the Sierra Club recently submitted its comments on that assessment, stressing the poor performance at Lake Howell.
“Jordan Lake needs science-based solutions to control pollution, not water mixers,” the Sierra Club says.
The organization says lake cleanup will happen when stormwater runoff from development is controlled better, and when upstream wastewater treatment plants are upgraded, which is what the 2009 rules required.
“The Corps can’t make that happen, but it can end the sideshow of floating water mixers on Jordan Lake, and thereby take away the state’s excuse for further delay of the Jordan Lake rules,” the Sierra Club says.
The Army Corps could deny the state a license to place the devices.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/04/07/3766137/jordan-lake-whirligigs-didnt-do.html?sp=%2F99%2F102%2F105%2F#storylink=cpy
RST Announces First Gigabit State-NC
RALEIGH — An upstart company claims it has quietly built a high-speed broadband network that will compete head-to-head with Time Warner Cable and other telecom giants across North Carolina within months.
RST Fiber, based in Cleveland County, has spent tens of millions of dollars to lease and lay 3,100 miles of fiber optics across North Carolina, according to chief executive Dan Limerick. Beginning in the next 60 days, the company will offer gigabit Internet service to some areas of Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville, Limerick said.
The company hopes its new technology will outstrip its huge competitors. Instead of running cables to each home and business, RST will use wireless transmitters for the “last mile” between its network and individual customers.
“We couldn’t survive with the competition we have throughout the marketplace if we didn’t come out with something new, unique and different, and revolutionary,” Limerick said.
Those wireless connections, RST claims, will top out at one gigabit per second. “Gigabit” has been the magic word here lately, especially with Google’s announcement that it might offer its own gigabit service around Raleigh.
If it works, a gigabit connection would be up to 20 times faster than the “Ultimate Internet” package that Time Warner Cable offers for a downtown Raleigh address.
Limerick said in an interview that the company might be able to reach thousands of customers in Raleigh when it launches its $99-per-month service here.
The company, founded in 2009, has offered Internet service on its home turf for years. RST has funded its huge statewide push with tens of millions of dollars from a handful of private investors, Limerick said – and it did so quietly, until now.
“When you’re attempting to come out with technology that is going to potentially be a game changer, you don’t come out beating your drum in today’s economic environment,” he said.
The company has laid more than 1,000 miles of underground cable itself, and leased most of the rest of the “backbone” from existing networks.
The high-speed web of cables and wireless transmitters could better deliver ultra-high-definition “4K” television, voice and video calls, among other uses, according to RST. The company also expects to sell video and live television services in the second quarter of this year.
Rolling in Raleigh
RST’s data pipeline runs near Glenwood Avenue and downtown Raleigh. From there, the company will build out “like a spiderweb,” to reach more areas, Limerick said. Customers will only need a latest-model router to tap into the service.
Craig Settles, an industry analyst, said that a number of small companies are using new wireless technology to leapfrog into competition.
“It’s an under-reported element of the broadband picture. It is a technology in its infancy, but it’s not unproven,” said Settles, who consults with cities on municipal broadband.
“The advantages that a company in their business offers … is that they can build the technology faster and still be reliable, and the overall cost for the infrastructure is lower.”
Services in Kansas City area and Cleveland, Ohio, already offer high-speed wireless connections, he said.
“Ultimately, what their challenge is as a small company, is they’ve got to convince the population,” he said. “They’ve got to be able to deliver.”
The company also will have to ensure its network has the proper connections to actually get those gigabits from sites and services to its customers, according to Arpit Gupta, a doctoral student studying Internet connectivity at Georgia Tech.
Basically, the connection between a computer and a service such as Netflix is only as fast as the slowest link between them. For customers here to get a gigabit per second from Netflix, RST has to make sure there’s a clean, fast connection between Netflix’s servers and Raleigh.
“It’s about how you make arrangements and how you deal with other people who have the content,” Gupta said.
Limerick said his network is tapped directly into data centers across North Carolina and beyond that provide many of the most demanded services.
RST Fiber also promises to expand its services far beyond southern Charlotte, Raleigh, Cleveland County and Asheville. RST’s founders are natives of Cleveland County and claim a vested interest in connecting rural areas.
Morrisville Firm To Add 50 Jobs
RTP is known across the globe as being a leader in technology. I will continue to support economic development projects, like this ePlus expansion, that bring high paying jobs to North Carolina.
Written by NCNN
MORRISVILLE - ePlus is expanding its Managed Services operations with a new center in Morrisville. The 12,000 square-foot facility, ePlus’ third Managed Services Center in the United States, is expected to bring up to 50 new jobs. “We’re delighted to see innovative technology companies like ePlus reinvesting in North Carolina,” said Governor Pat McCrory in a press release. “By expanding its presence in the Triangle area, ePlus is creating new jobs by leveraging the growth of tech activity in RTP and throughout the state.”
“>ePlus is a leading integrator of technology solutions. ePlus enables organizations to optimize their IT infrastructure and supply chain processes by delivering world-class IT products from top manufacturers, managed and professional services, flexible lease financing, proprietary software, and patented business methods and systems. “We’re committed to increasing the number of jobs in North Carolina, and we know that many of these jobs will come from existing companies,” said Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. “Innovative companies like ePlus are bringing new technology that will be put to use by the talented workforce of North Carolina.”
ePlus Managed Services help enterprises proactively control their IT infrastructure and off-load a significant burden of day-to-day IT tasks in order to optimize operations and manage risk. ePlus has delivered Managed Services for more than 10 years to a wide range of customers across multiple industry verticals through its 24/7/365 Managed Services Center.
Founded in 1990, ePlus has more than 900 associates serving federal, state, municipal and commercial customers nationally.
“RTP is known across the globe as being a leader in technology,” said Representative Tom Murry. “I will continue to support economic development projects that bring high paying jobs to North Carolina.”
“I am excited to see the results of North Carolina’s commitment to job creation,” said Representative Marilyn Avila. “ePlus and other companies will be able to realize benefits to their businesses for years to come as the state continues to focus on business friendly reforms of taxation and regulation.”
ePlus’ existing presence in North Carolina includes offices in Morrisville, Charlotte and Wilmington.
“Creating high-paying jobs for the people of North Carolina has been my priority since day one,” said Senator Josh Stein. “I congratulate the collaboration of the governor’s office, Secretary Decker, and the legislative delegation in making this jobs announcement a reality.”
“This is a welcome jobs announcement for the people of Senate District 22 and the region,” said Senator Mike Woodard. “These jobs were made possible because of our strong working relationship with the Secretary of Commerce, as well as our business friendly climate in North Carolina.”
Jordan Lake Environmental Assessment
Jordan Lake Environmental Assessment
The US Army Corps of Engineers has released its environmental assessment on the impacts of putting 36 SolarBee water mixers on Jordan Lake. The environmental assessment will be open for public review and feedback through Sunday April 6th. If you’d like to review the environmental assessment and find out how to submit comments please visit here.
Written public comments on Jordan Lake SolarBee EA may be submitted to:
Mr. Justin Bashaw
USACE, Wilmington District
69 Darlington Avenue
Wilmington, North Carolina 28403-1343
And by email to:
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
N.C. Economic Development Board Releases Strategic Plan
N.C. Economic Development Board Releases Strategic Plan
The North Carolina Economic Development Board approved a 10-year strategic plan today that is designed to serve as a guide for economic growth and activities across the state.
“I want to thank John Lassiter, Jim Whitehurst and the rest of the Economic Development Board members for their hard work,” said Gov. Pat McCrory. “I asked the board to come up with a strategic plan that will direct our efforts at the state level and enable our state and local leaders to coordinate efforts to create jobs and improve the lives of all North Carolinians. We need to make the best use of our economic development resources as we continue our Carolina Comeback.”
The Economic Development Board has been meeting since July 2013 in various work groups to develop the strategic plan. In addition, N.C. Commerce Secretary Decker conducted a Listening Tour across the state and gathered input from more than 2,000 economic development professionals, business leaders and citizens through surveys and town meetings.
‘What’s presented today is the outcome of six months of hard work by government and business leaders who were all working toward the same goal of improving our economy and creating jobs for North Carolinians,” said John Lassiter, Chair of the EDB and President of Carolina Legal Staffing. “I want to thank all of our board members and Commerce staff that worked so diligently on this important effort.”
“We appreciate the trust and confidence the governor placed in us when we began this process,” said Jim Whitehurst, Vice-Chair of EDB and CEO of Red Hat. “We’re honored to present this report today and know it will serve as a roadmap for all economic growth, job creation and other related activities moving forward for the next ten years.”
The plan includes recommendations in the following areas:
· Targeted Clusters and Branding: North Carolina should nurture high-performing industries that have already committed to the state and focus on industry clusters that match the existing workforce with high return rates. The state should also develop an overarching brand for its products.
· Business Climate: Efforts are needed to measure and promote the improving tax climate in the state for relocating businesses. Broad scale regulatory reform can strengthen our competitive advantage and the creation of the ‘Office of Regulatory Reduction and Review’ can review outdated and redundant regulations that serve as a barrier to job creation and capital investments. Incentives play a role in competing across the nation but each tool must have a true return on the investment of public funds. The Business Courts should be expanded to speed up costly litigation and reduce time-consuming appeals.
· Innovation and Entrepreneurship: North Carolina’s colleges and universities need to become hubs for transferring technology and research to startup enterprises and commercial use. Tax credits are critical to encourage broad venture capital investment and small business services must be streamlined for easy access, providing one-stop services for information and resources.
· Talent and Retiree Attraction: North Carolina must establish its reputation as a destination for the creative class. University and community college curriculums need to be realigned to deliver the trained workforce required to support these new businesses. Retirees and second-career entrepreneurs should be recruited as they approach retirement and best practices will be shared between communities that can attract this talent pool. Similarly, North Carolina can lead the nation in attracting and retaining military retirees and returning veterans. This highly skilled and trained workforce has experience in advanced manufacturing and capacity for innovation.
· Education and Workforce Development: Our state can create a competitive advantage by enhancing Career and Technical Education with focus on STEM training for industry clusters like manufacturing, IT, Health Sciences and Agribusiness. Workforce development programs must integrate with secondary school curriculums and career development pathways.
· Rural Prosperity: Last mile broadband along with market connectivity between port, rail and highways can shrink the gap between rural and urban economic growth. Efforts to complete the supply chain between commodity production and a renewed effort toward energy exploration and generation will be job generators for the long term. Rural tourism and focus on “Micropolitan” regions will drive an inventory of assets and gap analysis.
· Community Development: The Block Grant program needs to be realigned to work in unison with the economic development initiatives and the current tier system needs review to maximize return on investment and allow streamlined efforts in areas of poverty within prosperous regions. Seed capital strategies can create partnerships for development of manufacturing and distribution facilities. Main Street efforts to rehabilitate buildings in smaller towns and programmatic sharing can strengthen the tools needed for a return on investment.
· Delivery of Services and Metrics: Though final metrics will depend on the elements of plan implantation; benchmarking net job growth, success in retention and recruiting and monitoring the outcomes for state and local investment are examples of the key methodology. Co-location of state resources by prosperity zones will speed up the delivery and access to business developers, planners and agencies like DOT and DENR critical for permit approvals.
The next steps for the plan include the development of an action matrix that will assign responsibility, estimate resource needs, build a timeline and define the metrics of success. The strategic plan will serve as the road map for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the Department of Commerce and the wide array of partners in the state focused on job creation and economic growth.
Tom Murry Files for House District 41
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Representative Tom Murry
February 23, 2014 Phone: (919) 824-5753
Representative Tom Murry Files for House District 41
Raleigh, NC- On Friday, February 28th, Representative Tom Murry officially filed for North Carolina House District 41, at the Wake County Board of Elections.
“It is official, I will be running again for House District 41,” said Murry, who is seeking a third term for District 41. “Every day, I wake up and go to work for the people of District 41, and North Carolina. My number one priority is growing our economy, creating jobs and moving our state forward.”
Murry, of Morrisville, has served in the North Carolina House since 2010. During his first two terms, he has lead efforts to reform how the state recruits new businesses, and lead the effort to reduce spending, cut taxes, and reduce burdensome regulations on businesses. Named one of the most effective freshman legislators in 2012, Tom has also looked for ways to reduce the amount of paper work teachers have to complete, and is currently working to make teacher pay more competitive.
“This campaign is about the people of District 41,” said Murry. “With all of the many issues facing our community – like the uncertainty created by Obamacare – the people who live in House District 41 can count on me to fight for them and make sure make their voice is heard in the North Carolina General Assembly. I look forward to engaging with the voters in District 41 for ideas and ways to make our community stronger.”
About Tom Murry
Tom Murry is serving his second term representing North Carolina House District 41 which includes portions of Raleigh, Cary, Apex, and the entire Town of Morrisville. Professionally, Tom is a pharmacist and attorney and is the only pharmacist currently serving in the legislature. Tom and his wife Tamara live in Morrisville’s Breckenridge neighborhood. The Murrys attend College Park Baptist Church in Cary. They are the proud parents of two daughters, a brand new baby boy.
To learn more about Tom’s campaign, visit www.VoteMurry.com
Teacher pay raise announcement planned
From the News & Observer
Legislative leaders are planning next week to announce their plan to increase pay for beginning teachers, said state Rep. Tom Murry.
Low teacher pay has been one of the sources of discontent for teachers and a focus of national attention the last seven months. Legislators approved no raises for teachers or state employees this year, and they have received only one 1.2 percent increase in the last five years.
That has led several groups, including an advisory committee Gov, Pat McCrory appointed, to offer recommendations for teacher pay increases.
The announcement comes as the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday and Tuesday focuses on the state attracting and retaining “world-class teachers,” and how that is linked to economic competitiveness.
McCrory is scheduled to speak at the forum with former Gov. Jim Hunt.
McCrory and legislators have said in recent months that they want to approve salaries, but have not said how.
The plan is to raise pay for beginning teachers in multiple phases, said Murry, a Morrisville Republican.
“A lot of us are interested in attracting those young teachers who want to be teachers and getting those starting salaries competitive,” he said.
Asked if McCrory agreed with the plan, Murry said, “I think you’ll see a united front.”
The starting salary for teachers is $30,800 a year. The national average starting salary in 2012-13 was $36,141, according to the National Education Association. North Carolina’s beginning teacher salary is lower than surrounding states, and is near the bottom of national averages.
Overall, the average teacher salary in North Carolina of $45,947 ranked 46th in the nation in 2012, according to the NEA.
Member of Joint Legislative Study Committee on ACA
Raleigh – NC House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) today announced the House co-chairs and members of the Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Affordable Care Act. Reps. Jim Fulghum (R-Wake) and Jeff Collins (R-Nash) will co-chair the committee.
Wake County Rep. Tom Murry will serve as a member of the committee.
Other House committee members include Reps. Marilyn Avila (Wake), Nathan Baskerville (Vance), Brian Brown (Pitt), Beverly Earle (Mecklenburg), Frank Iler (Brunswick), Verla Insko (Orange), Charles Jeter (Mecklenburg), Susan Martin (Wilson), Tim Moffitt (Buncombe), Joe Sam Queen (Haywood), Nathan Ramsey (Buncombe), Jacqueline Schaffer (Mecklenburg), Mike Stone (Lee), Paul Tine (Dare) and Ken Waddell (Columbus).
“Citizens across North Carolina have been affected by Obamacare,” said Speaker Tillis. “Since its rollout in early October, premiums have increased dramatically and policies have been cancelled. It’s hitting North Carolinians hard and I’m confident that this committee will cast a broad net to learn the full impacts on our state and our citizens.”
The first meeting date and the details of the agenda will be set by the co-chairs in the coming weeks.