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Senate | April 23, 2013 | Committee Room | Senate Agriculture

Full MP3 Audio File

Can ya’ll hear me? Welcome to the Ag Committee. I think we’ve got a quorum; do we not? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We do have a quorum. I’d like to welcome our pages this morning. We have Trevor Edwards from Goldsboro, Senator Parmon. Trevor, glad to have you with us. Aga Wyatt from Chapel Hill, Senator Stein. Glad to have you with us, Aga. Caleb Sanders. Where’s Caleb. Caleb, glad to have you with us from Morganton, Senator Daniel. And Ron Davenport from Clayton, my page this week. Glad to have you with us, Ron. And our Sergeant-Of-Arms, you know who you are, so… They’re too busy talking. We’re going to move around a little bit and we have a presentation from Vanessa Harrison with AT&T, but we’re going to let Senator Brown go because he has another committee meeting, and Senator Brown, we’ll turn it over to you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope this is pretty simple. The bill pretty much explains itself I think. It just provides that members of the armed forces who are serving on active duty shall be considered residents for purposes of attaining certain hunting, fishing, trapping and special activity license. I think that pretty much says it all. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bingham. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’d like to move for a favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hold that just a moment. Any discussion on the bill? No discussion. We have a motion by Senator Bingham for a favorable report. All those in favor, let it be known by saying aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed, like sign. The bill has passed. Thank you, Senator Brown. You’re certainly welcome. Sir? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is that a record? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don’t know. Could be. Could be a record. At this time we’re honored to have with us Ms. Vanessa Harrison from the President of AT&T in North Carolina, and she’s going to give us about a 10 minute briefing on AT&T’s new plans and what they plan to do for the state, and we welcome you and if you would like, you can come up here. We’ll put you on the spot. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I love it. I love it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m sure you do. We’re glad to have you with us. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you so much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You’re certainly welcome. [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Make sure that mic is on, Ms. Harrison. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Can you hear me now? Senator Jackson, thank you so much for the opportunity and to all of your colleagues here for giving me a little bit of time just to number one, come and introduce myself to you. I am Vanessa Harrison. I am the newly appointed President of AT&T North Carolina, a company who I am just so proud to work for. As many of you may know, my predecessor has Cynthia Marshall, who was my boss, my mentor, and most of all my friend. Cynthia has moved on now to a bigger job in Dallas. She’s now Senior Vice-President over Human Resources, and so I’ve been blessed to be able to come in and fill this position, and you’ll notice I did not say “her shoes” because those are pretty big shoes to fill, but we will keep those shoes moving as we go along. I am here today on behalf of the seven thousand AT&T employees in North Carolina to number one, thank you for your support of laws and policies which encourage private investment and then help drive economic growth, and in this day and time I think we all have that common interest in economic growth here in North Carolina. You and your predecessors have worked so hard and diligently to make sure that North Carolina laws make sense in a changing economy, and that’s the second reason why I’m here, and that is to give you an idea of more changes that are yet to come and how they will benefit North Carolina, especially the families who live in rural parts of our state. As most of you may know, out wireless services are becoming more and more important today than ever before. In North Carolina, wireless subscriptions outnumber traditional phone lines or what we call out landlines two to one. 35 percent of American households are wireless only, and over the past six years since the smart phones first hit the market, we’ve seen a 30 thousand percent increase in mobile data traffic. That’s a lot of traffic. That’s a lot of pictures, that’s a lot of emails, that’s a lot of text messages; that’s a lot of monitoring of various agricultural equipment in rural parts of our state, but yet there’s more to come. We expect that mobile-connected tablets will

generate more traffic in 2017 than the entire global online network, which means that we expect what we see as tablets, IPads, Samsung products, apple products. That will generate more traffic because people are using that, not only in their own offices but in their homes, while they're on the road traveling, just about everywhere they go. And at AT&T, we are committed to meeting the needs of our customers, and our communities, and our state with this new mobile society. That is why we have invested 96 billion dollars in the U.S. economy over the past 5 years, more than any other public company. And in North Carolina, here, what I'm responsible for, we have invested more than 1.5 billion over the last 3 years. Looking ahead, we recently announced a project, and it's called Project VIP (Velocity Internet Protocol), which means that we are going to now be transporting a lot of data via the internet, and using the same technology that we use with the internet. We already have the largest 4G network in U.S. history. Making it possible for products like our digital life, which is for most of you with home security systems. We are not entering into that market where we're going to be providing home security systems where you'll be be able to activate it, monitor it, and do whatever you need to do via your smartphone, your iPhone, your Samsung phone, whatever type of smartphone you have. But with Project Velocity IP, we plan to build out our 4G network to over 300 million Americans by the year end 2014. That's a very aggressive build out plan that we have. And I will tell you, North Carolina has the most aggressive build out plan than any other state in the country. And one of the reasons that I am here is because I want everybody to understand the importance of this build out, and how important it is to have public policies that are easy to do business with on the state side as well as the municipality side. So that we can continue our build out and keep our project going. The way that it really works in all honesty is that when you hit road blocks and you're not able to get through it, then the company says "Well okay, let's take this money here for this particular area in North Carolina and let's move it over here to Georgia or South Carolina, because we're able to get it done faster there." That is my job here. I have a team of people here. And my job is to make sure we get the money here, and my team's responsibility is to make sure that we are educating you guys, we're partnering with you, we're doing everything we can to make sure that we have the public policy environment that will encourage this type of investment. Also, we're going to deploy fiber to an additional 1 million businesses, customer locations in its ?? areas by year end 2015. We're going to expand and enhance our wire line network. At one point, there was a lot of discussion like "People don't like using wire lines like they used to. What should we do with that business?" And, our chairman had the insight in as I say, he's a genius, to just say "You know what, let's not just throw the baby out with the bath water. Let's take this network that we have and let's reinvest in that, and let's make sure that we can get wireless technology with that wire line network and be able to provide wireless services to our customers in our traditional wire line footprint. In Wilmington, North Carolina, we're going to be providing U-verse, which is our version of television service in Wilmington for the first time. We have fought and fought and we have finally won that battle. People in Wilmington are very excited about that. That's just one of the things that we're doing in our traditional wire line territory. 99% of the customer locations in our 22 state footprint will have access to high speed internet broadband, either by mobile or wire line internet broadband. That's huge, because when our kids go to school, if we're encouraging companies to give tablets and technology to the schools, to be able to help with the education process or curriculum, they got to have some type of network to do it. And it doesn't mean just AT&T, of course that's the company I promote, but they got to have...

?? From some company. And fortunately we have been great partners with the whole wireless industry, and our wireless industry, we've all come together, we all realize the goal, and that is, to bridge that digital divide, to make sure that we get broadband out in the areas where we need it. Especially in our rural areas where there is sometimes it's been overlooked for a long time. The transition to IP and broadband-enabled services benefit all of our consumers, but especially those that live in rural America. Let me just give you some examples of how that, how that works. Across the US IP strengthens communities and make access to distant learning technology easier and faster. The number of K-12 students enrolled in distant learning has increased 472% in the last decade, which means that they are learning over the Internet. They are learning from home. They are using their computers and their smart phones and their wireless technology. Seventy-four percent, bless you, 74% of districts using distance learning say that they plan to increase the number of distant courses offered in the next three years. That means that we're going to be doing a lot more online classes. We, meaning a society of us. By expanding the educational opportunities, IP technology encourages and allow people to say, to stay, learn and work in their communities. The way that IP technology will benefit rural America to more physicians is that rural America has fewer than half the number of primary care physicians per 100,000 residents than urban areas do. So I mean there's a gap there. IP-enabled Telemedicine helps reduce the rural Americans' physician disparity and allows 7.5 million rural seniors to receive care right there at their home. Eighty-four percent of US farms with sales and government payments of $250,000 or more have access to a computer. Eighty-two percent of these farmers have Internet access, and 72% are using the Internet for farm business. Now, I want to just share with you some of the ways that they're using the Internet for farm business. Access to advanced next generation high-speed Broadband network, it allows for monitoring of pesticide and herbicide applications. It allows for animal tracking and identification. It allows farmers for monitoring water or flood levels. It indicates for frostbite or frost events that are coming in that could be harmful to your crop. It allows for farmers to monitor crop health and rainfall, temperature, and other meteorological data. It also helps to track shipment of perishable crops and crops input. It helps to monitor equipment, movement, and performance. Web cameras are used through the wireless Internet to view hazardous and remote areas. It also lastly helps to monitor the odor and gas and other environmental indicators for livestock housing facilities. So making these things possible requires investment, it requires capital, and that's why I'm committed to getting as much of the planned 14 billion dollars that my company has committed to investing. I want to have as much of that here in North Carolina. And I think we can do that. So you’re helping me to do that by continuing to evaluate and update our telecommunication laws, our policies to encourage investment in new technology. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done so far this session, and I'm just excited about what is about to happen between now and the end of the session. Thank you so much for allowing me time to come and address you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Ms. Harrison. We're glad to have you with us - [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Now I know why we wanted you on this calendar to tell us about what's going on in rural and Ag North Carolina. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Right. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] At this time I'm gonna turn it over to my co-chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm pinch-hitting today. Senate Bill 509, the North Carolina Agricultural and Forestry Act. Senator Jackson, the floor is yours. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Members, this bill is - [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right. Senator Jackson moves adoption of the proposed Mini Substitute. All those in favor will say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All those opposed? Senator Jackson, you may continue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you.

Called the North Carolina Agricultural and Forester Act and basically what this does. You know sometimes I learn things up here I might have been better off I'd not been up here to know. I did not know that over the years as we've changed crops or as we've changed our operation from a grain to a produce and now adding tobacco and different things that every time we change our operation, technically, it's not a modified form for one year. That's what this bill is trying to address and correct this problem is that once you are a modified form that no matter how many times you change crop it matter, cause we do it for rotation and other things, you are still a modified form without having that one year exemption. So that's what part one does and we have seen some instances across the country, especially in the Midwest, where they took this law and were able to sue an integrator because they changed livestock facilities was out for a while and when they came back in they were sued. So section two, basically the second part of this deal, deals with attorney fees being awarded to the prevailing defendant. Indiana, Louisiana, and Texas and other strong agriculture states have passed similar language and we need to protect our farmers and our most important our industry and this bill gives the farmers an opportunity to change commodities, invest in new technology, and buy retiring farmers' operations without the worrying of being pestered by lawsuits and I would ask for your support of this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook [SPEAKER CHANGES] I move for a favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other further questions from committee? Any comments from audience? Senator Jackson, if you have carpet in your truck are you a bonafide farmer? [SPEAKER CHANGES] If I have carpet? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, up until this year I would say yes, but now that we are trying to be FDA certified, the answer would be no. We have no carpet. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just an inside joked. [SPEAKER CHANGES] OK. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Alright, Senator Cook moves for unfavorable to the original favorable to the PCS. All that is in favor will say aye. Opposed no. Ayes have it, thank you senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you members. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And it has to be referred to J1. Let the lawyers weight in on it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Bear with us just a moment we got some members out in the hallway trying to discuss our next bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, Senator ??? [SPEAKER CHANGES] If they have a long enough debate do you think we could put it on next time so we could go eat lunch? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think that's a great idea. Give me just one second and I'll go find that out. I'm glad we were thinking alike on that one. It appears there is not a consensus on this for senate bill 391 right this minute they're trying to work out some of the differences with the parties so with no further business being said we should go ahead and adjourn. Thank ya'll.