I hope everyone had a great week last week, and this one has started off well. It’s been a very hot summer, so make sure while you are accomplishing various activities across North Carolina that you keep this in the back of your mind and stay hydrated! The interim has started off productively and we are looking forward to things picking up speed as the weeks move forward and interim committees get started.
In the previous newsletter, our legislative recap featured the first part of our annual Farm Act. This week, we will provide you the second part of our recap.
In 2013, we passed a bill to assist agriculture operations requesting natural gas or propane services to qualify for a state program to assist with infrastructure costs or costs associated with converting equipment to propane use. The Department of Commerce needed clarifying language to allow farmers to start using this program to help bring down their energy costs and increase efficiency.
Currently, there is a bio-energy company moving to Sampson County that has narrowly missed the cutoff for a credit for construction of a renewable energy fuel facility, and they needed us to extend the window. Once constructed, the facility will produce ethanol from locally grown wheat straw, corn stover, and hardwood chip supply.
Given the astronomical costs of building a swine waste energy facility and the large backlog in the energy interconnection queue, we have prioritized the connection of several swine waste facilities so they do not have to wait to become operational.
Automatically Renewing Contracts
On the farm, as in most businesses, automatically renewing contracts can be a time-saver, as well as a pain. In order to avoid businesses being surprised by an invoice for a contract they thought had expired, we included a provision to require notice before a contract is automatically renewed. The notice must be sent no earlier than 45 days and no later than 15 days before renewal. If no action is taken after notice is given, the contract renews.
Question of the Week
In the previous newsletter, I asked your opinion on whether you believed the legislative session should be a fixed amount of days that are the same every year. The majority of you liked this idea. The reason that it is not a structured, specific amount of days is because every session is different. With a new session comes new goals, obstacles, and tasks. Also, there are always new, varying amounts of proposals and bills that are dealt with. But I do enjoy hearing everyone’s unique viewpoints on the matter. No viewpoint is the same and I appreciate all of the responses, as always.
This newsletter, I would like to get your opinion on a change that was brought about by the Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding potholes. DOT has just launched a new webpage that provides you with lots of information regarding potholes. This information ranges from how potholes occur to how to prevent them. There is also a new, easy way to report potholes you may come across. You do this by simply going online and filling out a web-based form about the pothole. Also, you can contact a customer service agent on the phone like before. This information goes through the department’s Citizen Action Request System and is automatically routed to the county for maintenance and repair. What are your viewpoints on this new emailing system on reporting pothole information? Do you feel it will help to create a faster, more efficient way of reporting pothole issues? Or, should it be left like it was; where you contact the county strictly using the telephone system or a personal email?
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can assist you in any way possible.
Sen. Brent Jackson represents District 10 in Sampson, Johnston and Duplin counties.