Public Policy Update

Natalie English

Lourdes Zapata
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Countdown to New Charlotte Mayor

On April 7, Charlotte City Council will vote to select a new mayor to lead the City of Charlotte. Patrick Cannon, former mayor of Charlotte, resigned March 26 following public corruption charges. The new mayor will serve in the position until December 2015. Requirements to fill the seat of mayor are as follows:

  • A registered Democrat
  • At least 21 years of age
  • A resident of Mecklenburg County

According to the media, leading contenders for the mayoral seat are N.C. Sen. Dan Clodfelter and former Charlotte City Councilman James "Smuggie" Mitchell.

Legislative Agenda Moves to Executive Committee

The Legislative Agenda Task Force approved the recommended agenda on March 25. Throughout the months of February and March, the Task Force met to review public policy issues and discuss the 2013-14 legislative agenda. The document will be voted on by Charlotte Chamber leadership, the Executive Committee, on April 10. The agenda will be confirmed in advance of the North Carolina General Assembly short session that begins on May 14. The approved document will be featured in the next public policy newsletter as well as online.

Hear from Harvard's Bob Schwartz on Pathways to Prosperity

Has your company thought about its future talent pipeline? Recognizing the impact and importance of a qualified workforce is critical for economic growth. MeckEd and the chamber will host a summit, Ready to Work: Raising a Qualified Workforce, on April 28 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Central Piedmont Community College Harris Campus. The summit will highlight the need for initiatives that cultivate a talent pipeline for the future. Bob Schwartz, author of Harvard University's nationally recognized Pathways to Prosperity report, will discuss challenges, lessons and solutions for businesses to stay ahead of the game. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Click here to RSVP for the summit and read the Pathways to Prosperity report.

Land Use and Transportation Committees to Host NCGA Transportation Committee Chair, Representative Bill Brawley

The Land Use and Transportation committees will host a joint meeting featuring Rep. Bill Brawley on Wednesday, April 30, at 8 a.m. In the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA), Brawley serves as chair of the Transportation and Finance committees and Regulatory Reform Subcommittee on Local Government. He is also vice-chairman of the Commerce and Job Development Committee, in addition to serving as a member of a number of other committees. Brawley will speak to the committees about the upcoming NCGA short session. Click here to register for the meeting, which is open to all chamber members.

The conversations around infrastructure funding continue with plans for city bonds on the ballot this fall and a recent report from the N.C. Department of Transportation on the Strategic Transportation Investment prioritization process for projects. Click here to view a presentation by David Keilson, Division 12 planning engineer, on the STI process at the most recent Transportation Committee meeting.
Podcasts from the East Coast P3 Infrastructure Conference have been posted online and can be accessed here.

Environment Committee Recommends Extension of Stormwater Mitigation Fee Program

The Real Estate & Building Industry Coalition (REBIC) has been monitoring the stormwater mitigation fee program and the chamber is grateful for REBIC's efforts and partnership. Last week, the City Council Environment Committee continued its discussion on extending the temporary mitigation fee option. The committee voted to recommend a six-month extension of the program, which is set to expire April 30, 2014. On April 14, the full City Council will vote to approve the committee's recommendation. Click here to view the REBIC blog with further details on the mitigation fee program.

Next Steps for Review of Permitting and Inspection Process

The city and county continue efforts to review the permitting and inspection processes in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Building Development Commission is creating a select committee that will include several industry representatives. Additionally, a consultant has been hired who will independently review the processes and create focus groups and other avenues to collect input from industry. Please email Natalie English at if you are interested in participating in a focus group or other activities associated with the effort.

Advice for Noncompete Agreements and IP Law 

The Workplace Issues Committee met on April 3 to learn about myths and best practices for noncompete agreements, trade secrets and intellectual property law. Jeremy Stephenson from McNair Law highlighted that companies often take various strategies to protect their intellectual property, including written noncompete agreements, but other protections also exist under the law even without these. Click here to view the presentation.

The Workplace Issues Committee is the newest public policy committee and focuses on topics such as health care policy, worker’s compensation, tort reform, judicial costs, human resources compliance and other work-related issues. Join the committee and add your voice to the table. The next meeting is July 10 at 8 a.m. at the chamber.

Learn How to Advocate for Education Policy

MeckEd, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education advocacy in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community, is hosting three advocacy sessions in the month of April to train education policy supporters. Attend a seminar to learn ways of encouraging lawmakers to support increases in teacher pay, among other issues. Click here to RSVP for a session.

International Leaders Visit Charlotte

The Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship hosted high-level economic development officials in Charlotte April 3-4. The program was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Inter-American Competitiveness Network, U.S. International Trade Administration, U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Organization of American States. Leaders from 20 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean visited Charlotte to learn about public-private partnerships, innovation hubs and economic development initiatives. The chamber looks forward to continued partnership and growth on a global scale. Click here to view more information on the cooperative exchange.

BusinessFirst Charlotte Report Finds Many Companies Predict Expansion

On April 1, the chamber hosted its sixth annual BusinessFirst Charlotte event. Charlotte Chamber President and CEO Bob Morgan, City of Charlotte Manager Ron Carlee and Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio provided an update on the community's business climate. BusinessFirst Charlotte, a city-chamber program, facilitated 300 company interviews over the course of 2013 to examine what Charlotte’s business community is doing right and where changes need to be made. Click here to view more information on the program and learn how to participate.