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By Rep. Frank Iler
Editor’s note: The representative’s legislative updates will continue to be published for the duration of the General Assembly’s short session, which has been extended beyond its expected July 1 conclusion.
This past week in Raleigh will not be remarkable in the history books, but it is one that I will always remember. The reasons for that are both good and bad. The spirit of cooperation on the 2014-15 budget adjustments was much improved, but still apart on a few major items. We also lost one of our legislators to cancer very suddenly. In Brunswick County we had just lost a pioneer developer and philanthropist.
Dr. Jim Fulghum was new to the North Carolina House in this 2013-14 session. He quickly became respected and even loved for the knowledge and compassion he brought to discussions about health-care issues and other important debates. He was a neurosurgeon who grew up and served Raleigh residents for decades. He even volunteered as surgeon in a field hospital during Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s. Fulghum was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in June and passed away Saturday, July 19. His visitation July 22 and funeral service Wednesday, July 23, in Raleigh were both filled to overflowing with people that he and his family had touched. His wife, Dr. Mary Susan Fulghum, an OB-GYN with a longtime practice in Raleigh, had also tended to many of the families present. Jim will be sorely missed in the legislature, community, and state.
Just last week, we learned of the sudden — one could say untimely — death of our friend Mr. Ed Gore. Gore, an alumnus of my alma mater, Campbell College (now University), was extremely generous to that institution, to Brunswick Community College and to many charities and causes in which he and his wife Dinah believed. Ed, Dinah and the family were a driving force in the building of Brunswick County’s economy and infrastructure. He will be missed and long remembered in our area.
Although budget meetings had been going all weekend and all week, the House got down to votes on major bills July 23, Thursday, July 24, and an unusual Friday, July 25, session. One of the bills that will impact Brunswick County is House Bill 201, Building Reutilization For Economic Development Act. This bill helps rural communities in counties that would otherwise be considered affluent, such as the northern portions of Brunswick County. It helps developers to reuse old buildings in these communities by recognizing that the regulatory requirements for new buildings should be different from reused buildings. It passed the House by a 66-42 vote and went to the governor Monday, July 28.
Another bill of statewide interest is the charter school bill, Senate Bill 79, Charter School Modifications. After a long debate about what was not in the bill rather than what was in it, it passed the Senate and the House last week and should be presented to the governor for his signature this week. This bill requires additional reporting from charter schools on salary information to bring them in line with other public schools.
House Bill 1145, Insurance and Registration for Mopeds, the controversial moped bill, came back to the House from the Senate last week. We had sent it to the Senate with the registration requirement and a study on the insurance. The Senate added the insurance back in, so we voted not to concur with their version. A conference committee was appointed to work out the differences.
We just got word over the weekend that a deal was reached on the budget that should retain all teacher assistants and give teachers a 7 percent average raise. The details will be worked out over the first few days of this week, and we may have a budget on which to vote as you are reading this.
Rep. Frank Iler, R-Oak Island, represents Brunswick County in the North Carolina House of Representatives and faces Democrat Charles Warren in November’s general election. He can be reached in Raleigh at (919) 301-1450 or Frank.Iler@ncleg.net.