Economic development and job-creation are two of my top priorities as a legislator and many of the most effective tools that our state has for improving them are housed in the Department of Commerce.
Since last year, I have been working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to reorganize and streamline the Department, saving taxpayer dollars and improving our ability to attract and retain businesses. House Bill 1031, which gives the Department of Commerce the authority to form a public-private partnership by contracting with non-profit entities, is the result of our efforts.
House Bill 1031 - NC Economic Development Partnership
On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 1031 into law. The bill creates a nonprofit corporation to assist the Department of Commerce in creating and retaining jobs, encouraging business development, promoting international trade, marketing, and improving North Carolina’s tourism and travel industry. It also contains a number of safeguards to strengthen transparency and increase private investment on joint economic development efforts.
With clearly defined boundaries and expectations in place, I believe this partnership will be of great benefit to our rural communities and to the state as a whole.
House Bill 366 - NC Farm Act of 2014
This year’s Farm Act is an omnibus bill that addresses several agricultural and regulatory issues that have cropped up since the end of the long session. It has already been vetted by the Senate Agriculture, Judiciary II and Finance Committees and will hopefully be heard on the floor very soon.
Here are a couple of the changes this bill makes:
• Supports our multi-billion dollar green industry by allowing them to create a licensing board that the industry has been working on for almost a decade.
• Clarifies that North Carolina is a year-round agricultural state by defining the “planting and harvesting season” and “planting and harvesting period” to be January 1 - December 31.
As this bill moves through the Senate and into the House, I will continue to keep you updated and provide a more extensive summary of the final version.
Scenes for Nicholas Sparks Movie to be Filmed in Wallace
Sparks’ best-selling novel “The Longest Ride” is being made into a movie that will be partially filmed in downtown Wallace this July. The scenes being filmed in Wallace are set between 1940 and 1945 and this location was selected partially because the buildings have an appearance that evokes that era. Among the building being used for the production are the Wallace Depot, which will be portrayed as a bus station, and a vacant building at 101 W Main Street, which will be temporarily converted into a soda shop.
Film productions based on Nicholas Sparks’ novels have boosted tourism and travel in other areas of NC, and I’m sure we can look forward to the same as this movie rolls into the box office in a few months.
District 10 Spotlight
Miss Greater Sampson County crowned Miss North Carolina
Beth Stovall, the 2014 Miss Greater Sampson County, was crowned Miss North Carolina Saturday, June 21. As Miss North Carolina, Ms. Stovall hopes to share her platform “Inspiration Art” with kids throughout the state and possibly throughout the country. Inspiration Art aims to inspire and help kids discover their creative talents and become active in whatever those talents might be. Her own creative talent, which was used in the performance to help her clinch the crown, was a beautiful rendition of the French Opera “Je veux vivre”.
Since she is only allowed one year as Miss North Carolina, Ms. Stovall will spend the next year traveling the state and focusing on her civic duties as Miss North Carolina and on her next goal: becoming Miss America.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative in the North Carolina Senate. I read every email that comes to my legislative account and I encourage you to reach out to me with your thoughts and concerns. If you would like to stay informed of my actions in the legislature, I encourage you to friend me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter using the links at the top of the page. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please email my legislative assistant, Acy Watson at email@example.com.