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House | August 18, 2015 | Committee Room | Local Government Committee

Full MP3 Audio File

We call this meeting to order the local government are to welcome everyone in today, our sergeant at arms Jongbay, Bill Mars, jim Meran and Martha Gadison, thank you. Senate bill 330 will be pulled from today's agenda, senate bill 330 will be pulled from today's agenda. We have before us house bill 430 and without objection PCS is before us. Representative Mcgregor . Thank you Mr. Chair and members of the committee. Go right ahead. Present the bill. You've seen this bill before all except for one section because we have it on the floor and if you remember we have that recycling discussion and we had quite a controversy on that and that was about Orange County and their recycling what we took that part out with PC yesterday out in this Bill, because they had already done ordinances that solve their issue. And so, we felt like the counties were already doing what they needed to do, so we didn't need that. So, it is the same, three studies that you had before and then we have added the section four. When section one sets up a state payment in rue of taxed study commission that's when counties have a lot of state property and they are taken off the tax law,  we are trying to do a study to see how we can reimburse the counties for that somehow. Then the next section directs the ERC to look at a comprehensive study for toxic weeds, that's the hydrol and things that we are already funding, But we need to have a more comprehensive study of that. Then section three, directs the Revenue Law Study Commission, to study the impacts of Local Government of exempting previously taxable products pretty, such as, you have a medical office building and all of a sudden the hospital which is a non profit takes it over. It was taxable now it's not taxable so this is a study about that, how that affects counties in property tax value and going to no value at all. Representative Collins amended this on the floor if you remember, and he took out religious institutions so they will not be part of this [xx] and then section four is the part that we've added and it we have counties that have maybe a dollar 50 and right now they have to take that dollar 50 and lot of them have security cars come and pick up the cash money that they have and of course it cost him a lot more to get a security company to come than that dollar 50 so what this is requesting is that they can hold $250 no more than $250 in cash before they have to call a security company or take it to the bank and of course if they have some of the smaller counties have a $5 dollar payment there spending $8 sometimes to get to the bank so this is just a way to help them financially they are not allowed to keep any more than 250 in cash there and I will be happy to answering questions. Any questions from the committee? Representative Wong. This promotion appropriate time sir. I think now is the time. To make a motion for a favorable report to the PCS of our House Bill 430 on favor of the original. You've heard the motion. All those in favor say aye. Any opposed? The ayes have it. Thank you Representative Thank you Mr. Chairman Senate bill 101. Representative Clayton. members senate bill 101 will clarified as the chairman of the Elizabeth city [xx] board of education vote only in the case of a tie and that's a buffer whichever one it is here, delegates and high counties so this counties require requiring the approval of the county board of commissioners of the county with land is located before unit of local government may condemn purchase resource change land outside its county, presently there's

I believe 85 counties that have that option and we are adding this four counties to that option and nutshell is with the senate bill 101 is Mr. Chairman I have an amendment if I may. Go right ahead I'd like to amend the bill to include that's What the amendment is going to do, I think everyone have a copy I assume, it's going to split Chestonia township into two parts down, in the North Chestonia and South Chestonia for commissioners. We're not changing any commissioners here or just splitting the Chestonia township into two voting districts that's not going to have any effect whatsoever on anyone in presently elected and it's been approved by all concerned parties, the townships, the commissioners and everyone are happy with the amendment. Yes Representative Bishop. Thank you Mr chairman, and I was wondering how did The Board of Education subject come before us? for Pasquotank, Elizabeth City Pasquotank. I am honestly not exactly sure but there was some ambiguity in the voting process between the vice chair and the chair, and this allows the vice chair to vote on all items coming before the board, and it just gives the chair the authority to vote in a tie. In the course of vice chair seating as the chair then he would have that say. Representative Cleveland according to Representative Steinburg they did receive a resolution from the board also. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Any other questions on the amendment? Representative Pendleton. Microphone please? I'd like to make a motion at the appropriate time. We need to get past this amendment first. I mean before the amendment. OK. Representative Cleveland has put it before us and we have a motion for the amendment. Any more discussion on the amendment? All those in favor say aye, Any oppose? Alright, back on the bill. Any questions, Representative Floyd. Mic please. Sir, this is just a concern here and I don't know the details of it, but I'm just concerned each time that I see one, is that the chair cannot vote unless there's a tie. Though he or she be appointed or whichever with, but it's for the takes away his right to vote. If this is what they requested? Yes it was requested. Okay. Any other questions on the bill? Representative Boles. Time for a motion? Yes Sir. We accept, make a motion to approve with amended enroll the amendment into a new PCS to provide the PCS a favorable report unfavorable to the original bill. Whatever, that's correct, that's well said. That's exactly what you say. All those in favor say aye? Any opposed? Thank you Representative Cleveland, it passes. You are welcome. The ayes have it. Senate Bill 304, Representative Bell will present this. Without objection we have a PCS before us. Alright, Representative Bell? Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. I am presenting this bill for Senator Jackson who couldn't be here today, and as everybody says the [xx] of bill act to clarify that local signs maybe placed on the right of way of fully and partially controlled excess highways and to provide that the transportation mobility, and safety division of the department of transportation shall administer the local science program, and specifically what it is saying and we're having road coming through [xx] by passing all those towns, even as kind of

four lane highway, and traffic being running, through to town all these years and they want to have logo signs to direct people to their towns to [xx] to value the restaurants, hotels, whatever Mr. Chair he said he's going to make it a [xx] Yeah yes Representative Cleveland for a motion. Representative Warren is that what you representative Cleveland? Favorable report on Senate bill 304 and referral to transportation PCS, favourable report to PCS, and favourable to the original bill. You've heard the motion, all those in favor say aye? Any oppose? The ayes have it bill passes. Thank you representative Bingham. Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you. Senate bill 379. Senators Bingham and McKissick. Without objection we have a PCS before us. Representatives, this is an updated PCS to the one it went out last night. You have to look at this, it's a got you, S379-CSSU-35 Alright. Senator McKissick. Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, this is a pretty straightforward bill. We worked with commissioner [xx] Agricultural on this to start with. I want to thank Senator Bingham for working very collaboratively on this effort. What it essentially requires to do is to identify an inventory all known cemeteries owned state land  so that agency would have control over and they have to write an inventory list to the state property office, and the department of cultural resources. More importantly it allows family members of those that might be buried in those cemeteries to go out and maintain the cemeteries at their own personal expense. If they want to put up a small sign, they can do that. If they want to put up a small fence, they could potentially do that, but all subject to the permission of that particular state agency. I'm not aware of any opposition to the bill I'd like to represent excuse me recognize senator Bingham who put in a lot of work on this as well. Good morning ladies and gentlemen we had several people come to us who were concerned about having family members and especially the genealogist association in all the counties who were very encouraging seeing this legislation pass and I can't say anything other than if this is not a cost to this state and the families are willing to pay for and maintained   etcetera these  sites and we just want to identify them. Mr Chairman I think you may want to I don't know if you have, but I know representative [xx] an amendment had I think the mapping etcetera this PCS I don't know no he doesn't have an amendment we just got the updated PCS OK [xx] thank you Mr Chairman I believe the Details includes the changes representative Cleveland representave Cleveland thank you for we will work those details out later but we'll be happy to answer any questions and I appreciate Floyd for what you've done, we've worked together and actually Floyd has done a lot of this work for genealogy purposes and we all know of the circumstances et cetera. So I appreciate your support and I'll try answer any questions. Representative Boles. Yes sir I'd like to add amendment or is it in the PCS? The PCS is the original bill minus the provisions that Representative Cleveland and Cultural Resources discussed previously. OK. [xx] amendment this time, Mr. Chair. Representative Boles amendment go right ahead. We're passing that right now. Hold that just one second. Thank you. Representative Boles.

Yes amendment 379, I think you have it before you that would reduce what we call perpetual care cemeteries from 30 acre minimum to 15 acres in populations less than 125, 000 according to the latest federal census. Any questions on this amendment? Mr. Chairman, I would like they had that this particular bill was passed last year by this House, 112 to 0. Thank you. Representative Fisher, is this on the amendment? Yes, thank you Mr. Chairman. I have a question for the amendment sponsor. Alright. Representative Boles you're in this business so you probably know this as well as anybody, but are these guidelines that have come from you're may be a national group or some of the bodies. Not tabled from the national or the regulatory bodies but from industry owners around the state, what we're talking is less than 170 cemeteries that the cemetery Commission has affected and with the increase rate of cremation, the land is not, [xx] you couldn't sell it, and this only affects counties less than 125, 000. One follow up Mr. Chairman if I might. Follow up. To the amendment sponsor, I don't know a lot about this obviously, are there particular areas that are sort of entrust for this use only, and will this affect that at all? There is every cemetery plot you buy, there is money put into perpetual care fund, that particular cemetery. What we're talking about is raw undeveloped cemetery that state requires you to have 30 acres, whether your town actually could sell that much or not. That's not a fixed community cemetery, churches or anything. There is roughly 25, 000 cemeteries in North Carolina, but we're only talking about quote, [xx] or [xx] care cemetery. Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you. Also keep in mind this will have to be referred to finance because of the few changes if this passes, Representative Warren. Thank you, I'm not sure whether this is for the amendment sponsor or the bill sponsors but I came in this morning with the PCS that was online and it looks like the one you passed out it looks like this amendment and the PCS to have passed out here is just simply divided to what was online, and the amendment looks to be verbatim to the half that was cut out on the PCS we just voted on what's the logic here I understand looks like we will put the bill back together with this amendment there is something I'm missing maybe the amendment sponsor or the bill sponsor one can explain it to me  Representative Warren I'm like you I saw it on PCS last night came here today I ask if I run an amendment Follow up Follow up Could the bill sponsors tell me how what's their position on this amendment   Well I can simply say I that I only saw the proposed committee substitute after it had gone out representative Boles had mentioned about a week ago that he was thinking of adding something to the bill when trying to see the language I didn't see it and I believe the same will be true for Senator Bingham but I'll let him speak to that there was letters received from the North Carolina funeral directors association and North Carolina cemetery association is pressing concern around position of that particular provision and I believe [xx] is here to speak to that I think that you know that it's really up to the committee, this was not part of the original bill. It's up to what the committee wants to do but Senator Bing would you like to address that as well Mr. Chairman committee, John Karl came by and spoke to me concerning this and I'd like for to hear his comments if that would be suitable Mr. Chairman.  Yes, John Karl if you're here identify yourself and go right ahead. Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the committee my name is John Carmen, the lobbyist and attorney

for the North Carolina Funeral Directors association of funeral homes owned about 25% of the perpetual care cemeteries in the state and we have no opposition to the original bill filed by Senator Bingham and Senator Mckissick they do have opposition to the amendment and it is based upon our desire to see the cemeteries are being perpetually being cared for and we believe that if there is reduction in the acreage that that means fewer grave sites are sold and less funds are put into the perpetual care funds these acreages as I understand it are set by actually well audits to our actual area of studies rather to determine what is the most appropriate acres to be able to find a cemetery in perpetuity and are neighbours around this Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, Florida South Carolina all have a 30 acre requirement as well the bill has two provisions and the amendment one to reduce from 30 to 15 which creates a different set of rules for our folks who establish a cemetery prior to becoming law and those who would afterwards and also allows for a sale of a certain cemetery property down to the minimum as I understand in this counties where it is 125, 000 are less in their 77 of those with some portions of the great sales price being put into the perpetual care fund, the Cemetary Association is here toady if there's additional time it could be afforded to them to comment, it may be appropriate. Thank you. Representative Floyd. Mr. Chair, this is going to have a different finance. I'd like the amendment the move forward and it's just that it has a financial thing on it, it can be adjusted in Finance. Yes, any more discussion on the amendment? Mr. Chairman. Yes. I believe the gentleman said that the's someone hear from the Cemetery Association, it might be appropriate to hear from them. That will be fine. If you have someone please identify yourself. Good morning? My name is Rusty Kaiser and I am the Executive Vice President of the North Carolina Cemetery Association, and also the registered lobbist of North Carolina Cemetery Association. I own a small perpetual care cemetery Crestwood Memorial Gardens in the State Road North Carolina. The North Carolina Cemetery Association Board of Directors unanimously voted to oppose House Bill 930 House Bill 937 is similar is to House Bill 810 which was introduced on April the 10th, 2013. House Bill 810 was never enacted in to law. Lowering the minimum acreage requirement of perpetual care cemeteries will have a devastatingly negative impact on perpetual care trust funds. It will reduce the amount of money going to the trust fund. Now this trust fund is the retirement fund for the cemetery when all the land, merchandise, and services have been sold and serviced. Under-funding these perpetual care funds will disenfranchise the millions of North Carolina citizens who have relied on their protection and believed in the perpetual care promise of care and perpetuity. Under-funding the perpetual care accounts would necessitate the eventual responsibility the government and thus the tax payers. The determination of minimum acreage for perpetual care cemeteries is John Car said on an extensive actuarial study and is a minimum requirement across the United States this proposed legislation would jeopardize the future income source of maintaining the cemetery and perpetuity and I'd like to quote from the North Carolina Cemetery Commission from the President of the North Carolina Cemetery Commission based on the proposed change to the population threshold in HP-937, they estimate that 78 of 100 counties in our state will be adversely impacted by the change we would ask you to vote no to the amendment, thank you.  Thank you. Identify yourself Garradia. I'm Diana Maskovic, I'm past President of the North Carolina Cemetery association I managed two cemeteries in Wake County, I do not own a cemetery,

so today I plead with you not us a cemeterian, but as North Carolina mother who has purchased her families for a spaces in the North Carolina Perpetual care Cemetery. If you pass the amendment to this bill, my family and millions of others in this state who've relied on the laws and implemented by our state to protect us, will be in financial jeopardy and emotional distress, I pick the final resting places for mother and daddy and eventually rest of my family because it's peaceful and serene. I do not want or do any of the others want the 24 hour access station or a Walmart 50 feet away and what I understand this is a very real possibility. At the very least if you decide to allow the reduction and the minimum acreage of perpetual cemeteries, please my family and the million of others who're counting on you as their representative, by putting safe guards in the bill such as making sure the perpetual care fund is fully funded at the minimum 10% of 1000 assumed burials per acre at the cemeteries average for space which is now required by law. This would at least be fare so that our loved ones grave sites are not neglected and tax payers will not be forced was to maintain over a 176 cemeteries with over a million burials in propotuity[sp?] because no one here understood the financial hardship that would be forced upon them. Otherwise the only one who profits is the cemetery owner and millions of us loose, as proposed we're looking at say, $2500 added to a perpetual care fund which would generate $450 interest to [xx] cemetery per year at 2%interest as low leagues now 1 million five hundred thousand dollars will be added to the perpetual care fee the same [xx] range which will generate over $30, 000 and interest to care for the cemetery per a year that's a big diffrence please, please take care of the family.  Thank you. Anyone from the public wishing to speak? Representative Warren.  Thank You Mr. Chair the question for Mr. Tyson if he's is still available to take his question.  Mr Tyson[sp?] I'm right here. Mr Tyson, I have a copy of your letter and I got that last night or early this morning when I downloaded the bill, the PCS. So I assume your letter was written when the PCS included section 2 and 3, so the one that was submitted this morning  by the bill sponsor just contained section one as the association in favor of that bill. We support senate bill 379 without the amendment. Thank you, sir. Any other question on the amendment? Mr chair just a comment please.yes.we all know that as far as reality in life that I'm in the business, have been for 30 plus years. Nobody likes changes by any means, and what we're having now you're having small cemeteries and funeral homes throughout the smaller counties. They're having demographic changes of population and people moving in and out, the state is changing and we're having a higher cremation rate, and they keep talking about money being in perpetual care which I agree with but they've got to sell it first. Last year the same group came to the committee introduced the bill because they wanted tax relief off the undeveloped land that they had, that they can't pay the taxes on it and it would reduce the cost and that didn't pass anywhere last year. So with cremation we know that it's increasing in the state and if you are not going to be able to sell we are just talking raw land we are not talking about land that someone has offered already purchased for their loved one, cause that's already purchased, it's already in their trust and I would hope that if they purchased the makers and all that's already put in place what we're talking about is [xx], that a cemetery owner could sell and put that money into the trust account and as I stated this past last year, 112 zero on the floor, and just asked for your consideration that this moves forward, and that we at least start talking about it because if you're not going to be able to sell the land, you're not going to have [xx] fund anyhow. Thank you.

 Any more on the amendment? Do we have a motion on the amendment? Representative Burr I move that we approve the amendment. Alright. All in favor of the Burr's amendment say aye, all opposed those have division, it's too close. All those in favor raise your hand. All opposed raise your hand. The amendment fails. We have a new amendment before us from Representative Pendleton. S379- TSSU-35V1 representative Pendleton Yes I want to offer this amendment, representative Cleveland told me they are 40 required to keep the county registrar of deeds are required to keep a cemetery this just goes a little further. That says that if they are discovered on state land that the registrar of date when the state agency was department of correction or department of transportation or whoever cemeteries on their property that they notify the county registrar of deeds. To let them know they found the cemetery not that they haven't reported but this way they do and then I'd hope it goes further historical society that they reported to that, I know in North Hampton county I was along one of the prison farms and found an old cemetery and I just wondered if the county knew about it, so I went out to the court house after I got and they didn't know about anything that's all Ma'am Chairman Davis. Thank you Mr chair, question for the amendment sponsor Go right ahead Representative Peddleton I noticed that you won't is to be recorded [xx] I guess my question would be is there going to be any [xx] for that recordation and arias, who's going to pay up? So you assume that the today's will take the call to that recording?  Senators do you have any and say on this amendment?  Just as what I understand, I'm fine with this, I think this will enhance the bill but it would I certainly would like to know who would pay, for who would be paying for right now the family is going to be paying for the maintaining as the graze and fancying in science and excreta, but I don't want to muddy the water and get the family to pay for it. I mean I don't the experiences will be but if we can find that out, and I don't have the objection, this is a very good amendment. Representative floyd. Since being up here, every time you passed on an unfunded mandate to agency, the question come back who is going to pay for it and I think that we need to at least communicate with the registered deed to see where they stand on this particular form. I have not objection against the amendment but it being my experience that someone ask who's going to pay for it? Senator McKissick. Sure, I think the idea has [xx] merit in terms of reporting it to the Registrar of Deeds, but rather than perhaps even recording it maybe they could just keep a register or some type of book, or that information which we maintain actually according fees could create a burden as Representative Floyd pointed out and I don't want to increase [xx] anyway, I think that keeping a master directory and to register deeds office for this would certainly probably not impose any hardship that couldn't be bore at a regular routine expenses, but Representative Pendleton I don't know if you're open to that idea? Hold on just one minute. Representative Cleveland. Thank you Mr. Chairman. As I told Representative Pendleton the registered deeds presently are required to keep a listing of all the cemeteries in their counties. I don't think they in fact officially record them, so if we could just remove for reincarnation, where the register deeds from this amendment that would go along I believe with

what they're presently doing, and that was solve our problem here, and if the amendment sponsors happy with that, we could progress in that way. Representative Pendleton. Mr. Chairman, let me withdraw that amendment and change it a little bit bring in a new [xx]. The amendment is withdrawn, now we're back on the bill, any more discussion on the bill. Representative Fisher. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I wanted to ask the bill sponsors a question about, if I may yes.  Will their be any guidelines at all, or are there any presently maybe Representative Cleveland is these guidelines presently about the upkeep of we're allowing family members to sort of take control, or which is certainly their right, but I'm wondering will the state have any guidelines as to what can go there since these are state historic sites. Mr. President, excuse me. Go right ahead senator McKissick. At this point in time don't have any duties or obligations. And that's one of the problems representative Fisher, a lot of family members want to make make sure these grave sites are respected, don't mind incurring the cost of a minor fence or maintaining the grave in a reasonable appropriate way. There have been circumstances where hunters came across the grave sites knock down tomb stones, or markers not always clearly marked, and it I think family members express concerns, and so all the costs will be born by the families. No cost born by the state, and right now state doesn't have a duty or obligation to maintain this cemeteries or [xx] Just one last follow up. Follow up? Those family members could do whatever they wanted to do around those grave sites, and the state would really have nothing say about that?  If subject is state approved. So what they would like to do, family members have to get the approval of the state agency so it's not as if it's part [xx] authority to do anything, whatever their plans are will have to be approved by the appropriate state agencies that governs that particular cemetery. Which kinds of goes back to my first question, thank you Mr. Chairman I would really be interested to see what those guidelines are that the state will go by because I don't want them to be too restrictive on the families, but then I also don't want them to be so loose that anything could happen so that's my concern thank you. Senator Bingham. Thank you, Mr chairman, representative Fisher I think in the bill it talks about, requires a state agencies to identify the inventory and preserve from encroachment if you see that worrying, I think to me that he is in a position and to protect from maybe someone hurting, damaging or shooting or destroying some of this great sites We're going to continue down the list before the amendments, representative Faircloth. Okay, Representative Floyd representative Farmer-Butterfield. Representative Pendleton anymore? They are working anyone else on the bill? Represent Warren   Just a promotion [xx] time Mr chair, since nobody is volunteering go right ahead. Is that a PCS I've forgotten in there? Yes. Yes it was. Several PCS's I'm pretty sure. Make a motion for a favorable PCS before us and favorable for the original. Mr. Chairman, If we're about to do an amendment, should we not wait and see if that amendment passes and then we have to roll it over? We could, but I don't have an amendment before me right now and we might and we can wait to the floor we do have five more minutes if everyone would want to wait on another amendment. Mr. Chair. Representative Floyd? That admin may include a suggestion that Representative Cleveland made. According to Representative Pendleton. Well Mr. Chair I trust the staff. Mr. Chair, if the staff could read it to us, we can follow up and so it will save some time. Hold on one second Representative We're going to be at ease for just another

moment or so maybe longer I don't know [xx] Mr. Chair? Yes represented Floyd. not to hold up you. You're the excellent chair. It's not right to read it on the floor if you can't get it. Yes sir, thank you. Mr. Chairman, I don't hear Did I say suspend for me, hold on one second, hold on is being planted as I speak, representative Pendleton Alright, thank you Sir, in the case of Northampton county when I went in there, they said, they thanked me but they said they don't keep a list of the cemeteries as turned out so I was very surprised but they said if you go give it to the historical society and I believe they're opened today so I went down there and of course he said they did not have it. We will put Representative Warren's motion on hold and we will hear this amendment quickly we have a couple minutes here to get out of here before the next committee. We have the amendment before us Is anyone else have it or are we waiting on it? The staff can read it Mr. Chair. Staff will read it please [xx]. Representative Pendleton moves to amend the bill on page one line 13 and 14 by inserting the following between those lines. A new sub division three, to furnish a copy of the inventory to the Register of Deeds in the county in which the state lands are located and further moves to amend the bill on page one line 22 by rewriting that line to read, adding a new bill section two that would add a new statutory provision in the Register of Deeds chapter that would require quote, The Register of Deeds shall maintain an inventory of cemeteries located in the county if reported to the Register of Deeds and rewriting section two to now be section three this act becomes effective October 1st, 2015. Representative Cleveland. Thank you Mr. Chairman. The Register of Deeds is already required by law to keep a list of the cemeteries in their counties. Adding that to this amendment I think is multiply redundant and just muddy is the water. Representative Pendleton. In the case of Northampton county they do not keep such an inventory. If I may. Representative Cleveland. I am not responsible for what Northampton County does, if the Registrar deeds does not want to follow the law that someone in Northampton County has to point it out to him. You have the amendment before you. All those in favor say aye, any opposed say no. In my opinion the No's have it, the amendment fails. We are back on the bill, Representative Warren if you would re-state your motion for me I'd appreciate it. Yes Sir, I'd like to make a motion to the favorable report to the PCS of House Bill 379, a favorable to the original. You have the motion before you, all those in favor say say aye, all opposed say no. The ayes have it, the bill passes, we are adjourned. Thank you. Thank you Mr. Chair.