Legislative Goals & Reporting

Legislative Goals Conference

Every two years, in the months preceding the long session of the North Carolina General Assembly, NCACC begins a grassroots process to develop our Association’s legislative goals, which guide our advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels of government. The process is designed to maximize participation by counties, build consensus among counties, and achieve a unified message on county priorities.

The importance of participating in the legislative goals process cannot be overstated. When policymakers hear the same message from all 100 counties throughout our diverse state, the voice of each individual county becomes amplified. Counties are stronger together and our common purpose is enshrined in NCACC history and our vision statement, which states: “Empowering 100 counties to work together for the betterment of one state.”

New Spring 2024 Legislative Goals Handbook Available

Every two years, in the months preceding a long session of the General Assembly, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners engages in a process to determine the legislative goals it should pursue in the best interest of the counties. The process is thorough, deliberative, and time intensive. It is designed to allow for input from as many county commissioners, county officials, and stakeholders as possible. By maximizing participation from so many of the organization’s members, it is possible to reach agreement on goals that are important to all members of this diverse organization.

This handbook is intended to offer the reader an overview and guidance about the rules and processes used to develop the legislative agenda of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. Information is presented in a format that tracks the chronological course of action for the goals adoption process.

Legislative Goals Flowchart

The Legislative Goals Flowchart visually outlines the process written in the Legislative Goals Handbook.

2023-2024 Legislative Goals

As approved at the Legislative Goals Conference     

Top Priority Goals

  • Seek legislation, funding, and other efforts to expand digital infrastructure/broadband capability to the unserved and under-served areas and residents of the state.
  • Seek additional revenue sources to address statewide public school and community college capital needs and ensure methods used to distribute school capital funding considers the needs of both low-wealth and growing counties. Revisions to the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund that will allow for more access to counties and allow for faster school construction to include allowing projects that have not previously been awarded a grant to commence and remain eligible for future grant application periods.
  • Support expansion of Medicaid as well as related funding and operational flexibility for counties to expand county workforce and necessary infrastructure.
  • Legislative Priorities


    • Seek legislation to provide additional resources for preventative storm damage maintenance, such as stream clearing, and increase recurring funding to the state’s Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund.
    • Seek legislation for clean water funds throughout the state and to hold chemical manufacturers producing emerging contaminants such as PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS chemicals, and coal ash producers financially responsible for cleanup and mitigation of pollutants.

    General Government

    • Seek legislation to grow North Carolina’s statewide economy through state investments, including technical assistance, public infrastructure funding, increased competitive incentives, state economic development grant programs and coordinated efforts with county economic development services.

    Health and Human Services

    • Seek additional funding and preserve block grant allocations to increase access to high quality childcare, early childhood education, child welfare services, adult protective services and guardianship, including:
      • Women’s and Children’s Health Services Block Grant funding to local health departments for critical services like maternal health, child health and women’s health services to address unfavorable infant mortality rates;
      • Home & Community Care Block Grant; Senior Center General Purpose Funds; Social Services and Human Services Block Grants; TANF; and emergency childcare funding to ensure the safety and stability of our childcare system.
    • Seek legislation that restores State Funding of Accreditation of Local Health Departments.

    Justice and Public Safety

    • Seek legislation to increase the amount paid to county jails by the state to the full cost reimbursement for housing sentenced inmates.

    Tax and Finance

    • Seek legislation that preserves existing local revenue by providing just compensation to counties for property acquired by the state and removed from the ad valorem tax base.
    • Seek legislation which will repeal NCGS 105-275(45) which mandates that counties must exclude eighty percent (80%) of the appraised value of a solar energy electric system from property taxation. If repeal of NCGS 105- 275(45) is not feasible, then seek legislation which will require that the State of North Carolina provide funding to any county which is forced to lose tax revenue due to NCGS 105-275(45) in an amount equal to the lost tax revenue to said county.
    • Seek legislation allowing counties to include specific language on the sales tax referendum ballot designating how the proposed proceeds will be spent and to spend the proceeds of any newly enacted article 43 transit tax for all types of transportation expenditures.
    • Seek legislation to give counties flexibility with use of occupancy taxes.
  • Additional County Advocacy Goals


    • Support efforts to change grants and loan award criteria to more closely match the USDA Rural Development aid requirements.
    • Support legislation to protect farming operations from frivolous nuisance lawsuits.
    • Support regulations and economic policies that promote small family farms.


    • Support funding for a comprehensive approach to mitigate harmful and invasive species.
    • Support additional funding to assist local governments in managing recycling and solid waste including: scrap tires, manufactured homes, and electronics.
    • Support legislation amending NCGS §90A-53 to shorten the work experience in the field of environmental health practice necessary to receive a certificate as a Registered Environmental Health Specialists from two years to one year.

    General Government

    • Support increased state funding and additional funding streams for existing and new transportation construction and maintenance needs (including roads, rails, and multi-modal transportation, secondary roads and litter pickup), and support legislation to ensure that the Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) funding formula recognizes that one size does not fit all and that projects in both rural and urban areas are prioritized and funded.
    • Support legislation allowing public bodies to provide emergency meeting notices by electronic means in addition to notice through newspaper with general circulation within the county.
    • Support legislation allowing counties flexibility in holding remote board meetings, allowing contemporaneous, virtual public hearings, in order to expeditiously conduct county business during locally declared emergencies.

    Health and Human Services

    • Support expansion of Medicaid as well as related funding and operational flexibility for counties to expand county workforce and necessary infrastructure.
    • Support Medicaid reimbursement for Community Paramedic services and transport services to mental health and substance abuse facilities.
    • Support legislation to increase the number of state funded county Veteran Services Officers to at least one per county.
    • Support legislation for hold harmless provisions and staggered payment plans to control/cap the liability to counties under the Medicaid and NCHC overpayment recoupment plan, which holds counties financially responsible for the erroneous issuance of Medicaid benefits and Medicaid claim payments resulting when the county DSS takes any action that requires payment of Medicaid claims for an ineligible individual.
    • Support legislation to expand the Good Samaritan protection of covered offenses in NCGS §90-96.2(c3) to include all opioid and drug offenses to encourage reporting of drug overdoses and reduce overdose deaths and work to create required treatment options for overdose victims covered by limited immunity.
    • Support legislation that promotes opioid and other substance use prevention, intervention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery initiatives.

    Justice and Public Safety

    • Support legislation that promotes recruitment and retention of both first responders and detention officers in jails, including but not limited to workforce development, pay scale adjustments and/ or studies, and appropriate levels of training and certification standards for these increasingly hard to staff positions.
    • Support legislation to streamline and expedite the state response to emergency recovery.
    • Support legislation treating all misdemeanor charges uniformly by removing statutorily imposed compliance defenses to local ordinance violations.
    • Support efforts to provide greater flexibility to local governments in expenditures of 911 surcharge funds and ensure adequate funding for next-gen technology.
    • Support legislation to restore state funding to cover the cost of facilities and utilities for state justice employees who manage and operate state probation and parole juvenile services, and provide funding for public defender offices in county-owned or leased facilities.

    Public Education

    • Support legislation to provide exceptions to the K-3 class size mandate including but not limited to lack of school facility space and availability of qualified teachers.
    • Support legislation that promotes education attainment and career and college readiness by increasing funding for apprenticeship and internship programs, trade certification, and workforce development programs, as well as increased student support services in public schools with a focus on dropout prevention and an increase in the dropout age.
    • Support increased funding to aid counties in implementing school security measures.
    • Support school calendar policy that promotes optimal student outcomes and best meets the needs of local communities.
    • Support funding to provide all public school students with an excellent education, including investments to assist communities in eliminating achievement disparities including:
      • Expanding teaching assistant allotments to fund assistants in all K-3 classrooms.
      • Provide full state funding for state mandated exceptional student services.
  • Federal Goals
    • Support additional flexibility and an extension in the deadline for spending American Rescue Plan (ARP) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF).
    • Support efforts to promote food system resiliency, such as ways to strengthen North Carolina’s Food System and increase access to affordable, healthy food options.
    • Support increased funding for disaster preparation, assistance and mitigation; legislation or policy changes that expedite and expand county use of federal disaster assistance funds; legislation or policy changes to streamline and expedite the FEMA individual assistance process; and legislation to review and update flood maps more frequently in counties experiencing high rates of population growth and counties prone to flooding.
    • Support funding for behavioral health programs and services to address the opioid and substance abuse epidemic and support flexibility for counties to use funds for prevention and recovery.
    • Support funding and legislation to expand high-speed broadband access.
    • Support measures to reduce the number of people with mental illness in county jails and legislation that would allow individuals in custody to continue receiving Medicaid and other federal health benefits until they are convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated.
    • Support funds for health, human and economic services programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Food and Nutrition Services and federal block grants.
    • Support increased funding and flexibility in services for older Americans and veterans.
    • Support additional funding for Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT), agricultural, conservation, workforce, economic development, and Infrastructure programs that help counties meet public needs.
    • Support strong regulations and enforcement along with funding assistance or reimbursement to state and local governments when a federal agency, such as the EPA, regulates emerging contaminants and other discharges into drinking water sources.
    • Oppose unfunded mandates and changes in eligibility for federal programs that shift costs to counties.
    • Reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and increase funding for Title I programs.

Goals Development

The Process

Every two years, in the months preceding a long session of the General Assembly, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners engages in a process to determine the legislative goals it should pursue in the best interest of the counties. The process is thorough, deliberative, and time intensive. It is designed to allow for input from as many county commissioners, county officials, and stakeholders as possible. By maximizing participation from so many of the organization’s members, it is possible to reach agreement on goals that are important to all members of this diverse organization.

The process begins with counties submitting their legislative goal proposals, which are voted on by county boards and affirmed through a resolution from the county Board Chair. Goals submissions are received from May through early September.

After the goals submission deadline, all eligible goal submissions are referred to the appropriate NCACC Steering Committee with jurisdiction over the issue. The Steering Committees review the referred goals and provide recommendations to the Legislative Goals Committee. The Legislative Goals Committee considers each goal and determines which goals will be forwarded to the NCACC Board of Directors for consideration.

The NCACC Board of Directors considers and approves a package of recommended goals, making any necessary technical corrections. The Board advances the goals package for consideration by all 100 counties at a culminating event – NCACC’s Legislative Goals Conference. Each member county appoints a voting delegate to participate in the conference to vote on goals and rank them in priority order.

This year, the NCACC Legislative Goals Conference will be held in November and the NCACC legislative agenda will be finalized by early December.

Federal Goals

NCACC developed a similar process for counties to submit federal goals, which guide advocacy outreach to members of U.S. Congress, including members of North Carolina’s Congressional Delegation and other federal partners. Federal goals also support NCACC members with their involvement in the National Association of Counties (NACo). Submitting federal goal proposals is a great way to complement state goals, longstanding goals, guiding principles, and demonstrate support for the NCACC Presidential Initiative.

Legislative Reporting

The NCACC reports on policy and newsworthy issues, legislative activity, events, and educational opportunities for counties through a variety of platforms. NCACC’s primary products for legislative reporting are the NCACC Weekly Update, State Budget Reports, and the Legislative Session Final Report.

The NCACC Weekly Update

The NCACC Weekly Update is a digital newsletter published every Friday, which includes a summary of the Association’s work, upcoming events, advocacy updates, partner resources, county news, NCACC updates, and county job postings.

State Budget Reports

Each fiscal biennium, NCACC policy staff produce reporting documents that track the development and execution of North Carolina’s state budget. NCACC reports on county priorities contained in the Governor’s proposed budget recommendations for the North Carolina General Assembly, spending proposals considered by the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate, and the final state budget, ratified by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

Legislative Session Final Report

After the North Carolina General Assembly concludes a legislative session, NCACC policy staff produce a final report on the status of legislation affecting goals, enacted legislation, and other bills of interest to counties.