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N.C. General Assembly Legislative Update - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

N.C. General Assembly Legislative Update Link - Tuesday, March 28, 2017: http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?

Marine Aquaculture Development Act
 Today, I filed Senate Bill 410 (Marine Aquaculture Development Act) - here in North Carolina there is a significant amount of potential for the aquaculture industry to become a greater source of income and economic prosperity. Currently, our state does not allow open water fish farming operations. However, current estimates show that one-half of all fish consumed globally are harvested from aquaculture facilities. In spite of these estimates, and while other countries have invested heavily in their aquaculture industries, the U.S. (ranked below the top 10 in total aquaculture production). Unfortunately, the U.S. also imports large quantities of aquaculture products from countries such as Japan, Chile and Norway, resulting in a trade deficit on aquaculture of over $13.4 billion in 2006. The State of North Carolina has the second largest estuary system in the United States and the largest contained in one state. We have excellent potential - North Carolina has both clean waters and many locations for potential sites to be located in our waters.
Responsible Wind Energy Implementation
 A bill that I filed with Senator Norman Sanderson and Senator Andrew Brock would improve our state regulations pertinent to industrial wind energy. In the 2013 legislative session, we enacted legislation to establish a permitting process for wind energy siting that includes consideration of any effects on military operations and readiness at each point in the application process. While industrial wind energy has some benefits (e.g. property taxes and lease payments) it also has some major adverse effects on local citizens, local farmers, local ecosystems and in some cases the military. I have heard from a wide assortment of citizens about the aforementioned issues. This particular legislation - Senate Bill 366 (Responsible Wind Energy Implementation) would add safeguards to protect our military, environment, farmers and citizens. A companion bill was also filed in the House – HB 470.

For months Gov. Cooper has tied the Senate’s constitutional and fair confirmation process up in court. Thankfully, a three-judge N.C. Superior Court panel upheld the Senate’s right to hold confirmation hearings of Gov. Cooper’s cabinet secretaries. Therefore, last Thursday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources held a confirmation hearing which I presided over. We voted to recommend that Susi Hamilton be confirmed to the office of Secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. 

Taking Steps to Increase Health Care Choices and Lower Costs
In an effort to dramatically increase choices and lower costs for health care patients across the state, I’ve co-sponsored several bills proposing to reform North Carolina’s outdated and burdensome Certificate of Need (CON) laws. North Carolina is one of several states that limit the ability of health care providers to expand their businesses through an approval process known as Certificate of Need (CON). Currently, CON laws restrict entry into healthcare markets by requiring state regulators to vet the “community need” for new or expanded medical services. The National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974 tied some federal healthcare funding to CON programs. At one point, 49 states had such laws on the books. But since the act’s repeal in 1986, several states have dropped their CON laws. An eye-opening finding is how States with CON laws have 30 percent fewer hospitals, including 30 percent fewer rural hospitals, than those that do not. CON is one more example of government overreach that may be well-intended, but in reality only serves to curb patient choices and drive up the already spiraling cost of health care. I’m pleased to join my Senate colleagues in working toward a solution that spurs more competition, lowers costs and puts patients first. 
N.C. General Assembly Legislative Update Link - Tuesday, March 28, 2017: http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?

N.C. General Assembly Legislative Update - Monday, March 20, 2017 Campaign News & Updates N.C. General Assembly Legislative Update - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reduce Unemployment

    North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in March, 2014 according to data released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.... ( read more )
Decrease Taxes and Spending

    In 2013, we implemented a comprehensive tax reform that is providing major tax relief to all North Carolina families and making our state more attractive to job-creating businesses.... ( read more )
About Bill Cook and Family

    Bill Cook, aged 69 years, and his wife of 23 years, Holly, have lived in Beaufort County for the past decade. During this time, Cook has met several kind and generous people.... ( read more )