2011-2012 Legislative Summary from Rep. Murry
From the Office of
Representative Tom Murry
What we accomplished in 2011-2012
The 2011-2012 legislative session has officially adjourned. During my first term as a member of the House of Representatives, I’ve enjoyed representing the people of District 41 and am thankful for the opportunity to influence the legislative process. It was a great honor to be ranked the most effective freshman legislator by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. I’m proud of what my colleagues and I were able to accomplish over the past two years, and am confident that the positive policy changes we made will translate into real, tangible changes in the everyday lives of people across this great state. I hope to continue our progress during next year’s legislative session so that we can keep North Carolina a great place to live, work and raise a family. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been up to the past two years:
Improving North Carolina’s economic environment to help private sector job growth
As Vice-Chair of the House Select Committee on Tort Reform, I worked to reduce insurance costs and relieve uncertainty for business owners. H.B. 542, Tort Reform for Citizens and Businesses, affirms the rights of an injured patient and strikes a balance between the interests of a physician. Costly and unnecessary lawsuits were resulting in higher insurance premiums for North Carolinians. The new law will put an end to this and will serve our state well by lowering medical costs. I was grateful to have been part of the legislative process on tort reform.
S.B. 810, Regulatory Reform Act of 2012, contains a number of provisions to streamline government regulations in order to sustain economic development activities in North Carolina. The law requires permitting agencies to track the time it takes to complete steps in the permitting process, allowing us to see if there are holdups so that we can make adjustments and help entrepreneurs and small business owners complete the process.
We passed workers’ compensation reform, H.B. 237, so that North Carolinians are better protected in the workplace. The law’s intent is to ensure that employers purchase legally required workers’ comp insurance. It requires sharing information between the NC Rate Bureau and the NC Industrial Commission to help identify employers who haven’t purchased the necessary insurance. If someone is injured on the job, they must have the compensation they deserve, and this legislation helps them get it. You can read this News & Observer article on the problem with workers’ compensation in North Carolina and how we aimed to correct it with our reforms.
H.B. 925 allows for more democratic participation by requiring a vote of an area’s residents before being annexed by a municipality. Involuntary annexation can often result in negative consequences for those residents who become part of a new municipality. The bill we passed safeguards against this and ensures they have a voice in the process.
Keeping North Carolina schools competitive in a global environment
The School & Teacher Paperwork Reduction Act has helped to reduce paperwork and data entry burden on our school systems. I was proud to be primary co-sponsor of this bill, as it had the support of the N.C. Association of Educators and the N.C. School Board Association. Additionally, the recently passed bipartisan budget restores $251 million to public education and adopts a reform program that focuses on student literacy, improving graduation rates and rewarding effective teachers.
I also pushed for a bill that allows for an individual income tax credit for children with disabilities who require special education programs. I’m glad this legislation passed with bipartisan support because it’s important to help these children and their families in any way we can. To find out more about the law, visit the Autism Society of North Carolina.
Issues important to citizens across North Carolina
We passed a bipartisan bill that increases the penalties for the unlawful sale, surrender, or purchase of a child and requires district attorneys to study what other steps we can take to stop human trafficking. Other bills passed amend death penalty procedures and increase murder penalties in order to deter crime. These bills represent improvements in our criminal justice system as we work towards making every community in North Carolina a safer place for our children.
H.B. 799 looks out for our soldiers and their families by accelerating the process by which they can be licensed to lawfully practice their occupation once they have moved to North Carolina. It allows the State Board of Education to issue teacher licenses to military spouses who are teachers in their home state.
District 41 legislative update
Passing local bills for our community
In addition to the coffee and lunch meetings with many of my constituents, I’ve been working hard in the General Assembly to pass local bills that will foster economic development and improve the lives of the people within our community. I look forward to continuing our dialogue so I can better serve you and your family. Here’s just a few of the bills that I worked on for our area:
Teachers and staff of Morrisville’s Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School and Raleigh’s Casa Esperanza Montessori Charter School now have the option to participate in NC’s state health plan. These teachers deserve this opportunity because they have made valuable contributions to the children of our community, which is why I am proud to have been a primary sponsor of this bill.
I also worked on a number of bills to improve traffic flow and public safety in District 41. I introduced a bill to help the Town of Apex take control of an important road leading into Beaver Creek shopping center. This will allow Apex to set the speed limit and implement other safety measures to improve public safety in our community. Another bill that will benefit our local area is a study to improve NC-54, also known as Chapel Hill Road. H.B. 598 passed the House last year and NCDOT is working to report back to local leaders in Cary and Morrisville on the progress of their analysis to help traffic move through the heart of the Triangle.
In a bipartisan effort, I reached across the aisle to help take the politics out of how the Wake County School Board selects its Chair and Vice Chair (H.B. 1071); the Wake County School Board unanimously requested this bill. I went on to help pass legislation protecting information of minors that participate in all the programs in every town in Wake County. This will provide important security for our children to protect them from predators.
Lastly, I cosponsored H.B. 358, which requires approval of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners before the towns of Apex or Cary may be annexed by into Chatham County. This legislation ensures that stakeholders in annexation have the tools they need to look out for the interests of the people and areas they represent. It should be put to a vote before a resident is potentially annexed against his or her will.
Thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter. As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (919) 733-5602 if you need assistance. It is my pleasure representing you in the North Carolina House of Representatives.