How You Can Help - Call The Conference Committee

Here’s where things stand now in late June. The House passed a budget plan that wouldn’t add taxes to the Pamlico and Neuse River ferries (but would keep the ones already in place.) The Senate passed a budget that slaps a toll on every ferry route in NC.

Now the two chambers have sent representatives to a Conference Committee to sort out these (and many other) differences they have between the two budgets.

Click here to find the list of Conference Committee members you can call and email. Even if you get their voice mail, just deliver your simple message: that for so many reasons, the House plan for the ferries is the best.
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(From May 28:)
The focus is still on the North Carolina House of Representatives. On Tuesday May 28, the House Transportation Committee finally got around to House Bill 475 (it’d been on the agenda the previous two weeks — this week it was endorsed by the Transportation Committee.)

Next stop… the House Finance Committee, which could be taking up House Bill 475 as early as Tuesday June 4.

So…how about calling and emailing some of the House Finance Committee members to ask them to support House Bill 475? You needn’t talk or write for long. Just short and sweet and to the point. The list of Finance Committee members — with easy-to-link-to email addresses as well as phone numbers — is here.

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The House Transportation Committee didn’t get to House Bill 475 last week but it’s on the schedule for a vote on Tuesday May 21. Contacting those committee members is crucial to getting this bill passed. Phone numbers and email addresses are here.

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UPDATE: 5/15/13 The House Transporation Committee did not take a vote on HB475 as scheduled on Tuesday May 14 but one of the sponsors says the bill will not be killed if it isn’t passed by the “Crossover” deadline on May 16. This buys us some extra time. Let’s use its and contact those members of the committee so when they do vote on HB475, they vote yes….

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In order to stop the tolls coming to our ferries, House Bill 475 has to get passed by the State House by Thursday, May 16. That’s the “Crossover” date for any bill to make it through one chamber of the Legislature. If HB475 meets that deadline, the bill can then stay alive to go to the other chamber, in this case the Senate.

First HB475 has to make it thru the House Transportation Committee. The push right now is to contact as many members of the House Transportation Committee to make them aware of this bill and to vote in favor of it. The House Transportation Committee meets on Tuesday May 14 at noon.

(One complicating factor: late last week what’s called a “serial referral” was added to the bill. It means that once HB475 gets thru the Transportation Committee it has to also get the okay of the House Finance Committee before Thursday’s vote. That’s a lot to get done in three days and some suggest that serial referral could have been added to scuttle the bill. Calls to the FInance Committee and House leaders may well be needed, but first things first, contact the Transportation Committee to get HB475 through its next step and Tuesday afternoon’s vote…)

Pick up the phone and call the members of the House Transportation Committee.

Leave a message if you get their voice mail. Be short and sweet (civility helps the cause). Make sure to repeat that it’s HB 475 for which their vote is needed. (You may find that some of them aren’t aware of the bill. That’s what your phone call is helping to fix…)

You can also help by contacting your Senator and Representative.

Also, remind your representatives in the General Assembly know how important this issue is to you and how much you need them to press their fellow legislators to adopt HB475. In Pamlico County, Norman Sanderson is your State Senator and your local State Representative is Michael Speciale. Let them know that you think the state would make more money in taxes – from a rising economy — if it treated the ferries like it does the bridges. There are no tolls on bridges in NC, and these ferries are our bridges. That’s the message they need to take to the rest of the Legislature.

Senator Norman Sanderson (R.) Number in Arapahoe: 252-249-3749 Phone at the Legislature: 919-733-5706 Norman.Sanderson@ncleg.net

Representative Michael Speciale (R.) Phone in New Bern: 252-635-5326 Phone at the Legislature: 919-733-5853 Michael.Speciale@ncleg.net

Making Your Case
Some of the folks working in the Legislature to get HB 475 passed emphasize making phone calls and suggest that emails may be ignored.

But, if in your busy life, email is the only way you can contact the lawmakers, please don’t hesitate to email them. Drop them a line. You needn’t write a lot. Feel free to use the talking points on this site. And remember to get to the point: the tolls have to go. Ask them to vote for HB 475. (Oh, and if you send to more than one, use BCC.)

Know A State Senator or House Member Personally? This Is The Time To Contact Them We don’t get the toll eliminated unless we ask. And another thing: just as you don’t have to be from Pamlico or Hyde or Beaufort County to see how this toll is wrong, you don’t have to live here to call the lawmakers.

Check back here for updates.