Greensboro city councilmembers noted several weeks ago that Greensboro isn’t popular with the state legislature and the Greensboro Legislative Agenda almost seems designed to keep it that way.
The City Council held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 2 with members of the Guilford County Legislative Delegation to discuss the Greensboro Legislative Agenda, which is a list of items that the City Council would like to see passed in the 2021 session.
The list of 13 items includes several that will not help increase Greensboro’s popularity in Raleigh.
The most obvious is a request that the legislature “establish a North Carolina Department of Housing and Urban Development. We believe that the State needs to take a stronger role of leadership and coordination.” So, in this case the City Council is not asking the legislature for something but telling the legislature how it should conduct its own business.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “The state of North Carolina should really have a housing agency that rises to the level of the cabinet.”
The city also asked for a revival of a program that the legislature killed years ago, the Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy (RUCO). This was such an unpopular program at the state level that the legislature passed a bill to make Greensboro’s RUCO program illegal.
When this item came up in the discussion, state Rep. Pricey Harrison said, “I feel like I’m having deja vu here. I know that this was a big fight when they repealed RUCO, gosh, a decade ago. Can you remind me, didn’t we try to get this in the last biennium?”
Vaughan explained that this was not the old RUCO but a much more targeted approach to RUCO. She did not explain why it was still being called RUCO.
The turnout for the virtual meeting was good. All the state representatives, Jon Hardister, Ashton Clemmons, Cecil Brockman, Amos Quick, Pricey Harrison and John Faircloth were present. The two Democratic state senators, Michael Garrett and Gladys Robinson, were also signed on.
But notably absent were the two new Republican state senators, Amy Galey and David Craven. The Republicans have large majorities in both the state House and Senate. It was noted that several items on the list had passed the state House in 2019, but not the state Senate.
For any Greensboro bill to pass the state Senate, it will have to have the support of Galey and Craven, who didn’t participate in the meeting because the Republican Senate Caucus was meeting in Raleigh.
So, although attendance was good, two of the people who are crucial to Greensboro getting the items on the legislative agenda passed were not present.
It is also noteworthy is that the legislators were not provided copies of the legislative agenda prior to the meeting so they could read over it beforehand, and the list that was presented at the meeting was missing an item.