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Commissioners outline legislative priorities

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Nash County commissioners hosted a legislative dinner March 21 at the Nashville Exchange and fed three members of the local N.C. General Assembly delegation a list of 15 legislative issues the county is concerned about.

Attending the dinner were state Sen. Richard Horner, R-Nash, and new state Reps. Lisa Barnes, R-Nash, and James Galliard, D-Nash. Also joining the commissioners and select county staff were Bill Carver, president of Nash Community College, and Shelton Jefferies, superintendent of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

The legislators were each given a chance to discuss the General Assembly’s 2019 session before Nash County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robbie Davis presented the county’s legislative priorities.

In his remarks, local press reported, Horner spoke of his efforts to improve education in the state, including a bill to help solve the teacher shortage by allowing schools to hire back retired teachers to work full-time with generous incentives while still collecting their retirement pay.

Barnes and Galliard described their efforts to orient themselves to their new positions.

Davis presented legislators with six top issues affecting Nash County, with nine additional issues of concern.

The county’s top requests were:

• Make transport of mental health patients across the state a state responsibility.

• Support legislation that promotes the opioid prevention initiative

• Expand state funding of the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology program to 2019 Tier 1 counties. Also, support county options for extending high-speed internet into underserved and unserved areas of counties.

• Support current expenses for public schools, fully reinstate lottery proceeds for the Public School Building Capital Fund and support a $1.9 billion statewide education bond.

• Support a “hold harmless” provision for public school administrative staff.

• Oppose unfunded mandates and shifts of state responsibilities to counties.

Nash County commissioners also supported elimination of second primary elections, retention of county management of non-emergency Medicaid transport services, more sales tax flexibility and support for state funding for local industrial site development, among other concerns.

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