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Senate | May 27, 2014 | Chamber | Senate Session

Full MP3 Audio File

Senate will come to order. Members go to their seats. Members and guests in the gallery please silence all electronic devices. Leading the senate in prayer is Reverend Peter Milner Senate Champlain. All members and guests in the gallery please stand. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let's pray together. Lord, Lord you are God. You're the Father, Son, the Holy Spirit. You're faithful, and your love is awesome. And your deeds have brought us through the desert waste and darkening valleys. We pray that the memory of your acts, your great acts, will alert our eyes and ears to signs of your presence in the thick of political life. Even though we are prone to be drowsy and wander in the heavy atmosphere of habits and noise, I pray that you Lord would refresh us right now, right now and give us grace that we might waken to serve you with renewed attentiveness and energy to what you are doing. For Christ's sake Amen. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Burger is recognized for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. The journal of Friday May 23rd, 2014 has been examined and is found to be correct. I move that we dispense with the reading of the journal and that it stand approved as written. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection the journal of May 23rd stands approved as written. Senators today we have leaves of absence granted for senators Jenkins, Raven and Parmon. Senators upon the motion of Senator Warren Daniel of Burk county the chair is happy to extend courtesies of the gallery to Candace Hope and Lindsay Poteet of North Carolina Nurse Anesthetist Association and all the other students from UNC Charlotte's CRNA Program. If you're with us today in the gallery please stand and be recognized. Thank you for joining us. Upon the motion of senator Mike Woodard of Durham county the chair is happy to extend the courtesies of the gallery to Sarah Woodard, the senator's wife. Sarah please stand and be recognized. Thank you for joining us. We do have a doctor today with us. Dr. Joy Keefer of Wooderville, North Carolina. Dr Keefer are you with us today? Please stand and be recognized. Thank you for your services senator. Senator Apadaka is recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. Members I have three quick motions if I may. Senate bill 815 ensuring privacy of student records is currently in the committee of J2, I mean J1. Is asking to be removed from J1 and re-referred to education with a serial referral to J1. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No objections to order. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. House bill 292 Study music therapy practice act currently committee on education asks to be removed from education and re-referred to state and local government. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No objections to order. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. House joint resolution 1121 Honor Leo Mercer former member of the North Carolina general assembly moved that the rules be suspended to the end so that a special message from the House can be read in and furthermore placed on today's calendar for immediate consideration. [SPEAKER CHANGES] With no objections to order, Messages from the House the clerk will read.

Joint Resolution 1121. A Joint Resolution honoring the life and memory of Leo Mercer former member of the general assembly. [SPEAKER CHANGES] At this point, we'd ask the Sargent at Arms if the doors are secured. House Joint Resolution 1121 the clerk will read in its entirety. [SPEAKER CHANGES] House Joint resolution 1121. The joint resolution honoring the life and memory of Leo Mercer former member of the general assembly. Whereas, Leo Mercer was born on March 20, 1926 in Chadbourn, North Carolina to Bailey Mercer and Ladi Hincent Mercer. In whereas Leo Mercer graduated from Chadbourn High School in 1943 and in that same year served in the United States Navy. Whereas Leo Mercer was a farmer and business owner. Served in his co-honor of Mercer-Worthington funeral home now Worthington Funeral Home until his retirement in 1984. Whereas Leo Mercer had a 33 year career with the United States Postal Service. He began working for the organization in 1951 and later served as the Postmaster for the town of Chadbourn from 1962 to 1984. Whereas Leo Mercer was a leader in his community, serving as Mayor of Chadbourn from 1969 to 1970, 1975 to 1982 and 1999 to 2005. And as a member of the Columbus County Board of Education from 1982 to 1988 and the Columbus County Board of Elections from 2008 to 2011. In whereas Leo Mercer served with honor and distinction as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives for 2 terms between 1989 and 1992, where he was a member of numerous committees including agriculture, ethics, finance, pensions and retirement, state governments, state revenue, and transportation. Whereas Leo Mercer served 5 years of special assistance to Governor James B. Hunt Jr. in the Governor's eastern office. In whereas Leo Mercer was a member of several fraternal and civic organizations including the Chadbourn Masonic Lodge #607, Chadbourn ?? Association, Chadbourn Civic Time Club, Columbus County Committee of 100. In whereas Leo Mercer was an active member of Chadbourn Baptist Church where he held several positions including deacon and superintendent. In whereas Leo Mercer was honored by being the North Carolina Postmaster of the year in 1978. Serving having a section of North Carolina highway 410 named the Leo Mercer Highway. And receiving the state's highest honor, The order of Long Leaf Pine in 2012. In whereas, Leo Mercer was married to the late Irene Bullock Mercer. In whereas Leo Mercer died December 26, 2013 at the age of 87. In whereas Leo Mercer is survived by a daughter Gwendolyn Mercer Sanderson; 2 sons, Kenneth Dell Mercer and Kipling Sheryl Mercer; 7 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Now therefore, be it resolved by the house of Representatives and the Senate concur. Section 1, the general assembly honors the memory of Leo Mercer and expresses the gratitude and appreciation of this state and the citizens for his life and service to his communities, state and nation. Section 2, general assembly extends ?? to the family of Leo Mercer for the loss of a blood family member. Section 3, Secretary of State should transmit a certified copy of this resolution to the family of Leo Mercer. Section 4, this resolution is effective upon ratification. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Walters is recognized to speak to the resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. President. Today we honor a great man in Eastern North Carolina Leo Mercer. While he was a very small man in stature, He was a huge man in the community and representing everyone in Eastern North Carolina from the farming communities we heard today, to school board, to serving as Mayor of Chadbourn for fifteen years, school board member and also served in the House for 4 years. I can remember as a young man coming back home from college and Mr. Leo, as we all referred to him, was just the man you saw in every civic organization and every part of the community and county. He was a great man and he served his county, his town of Chadbourn who he loved dearly. And we all know Chadbourn has the Strawberry Festival of North Carolina, one of the oldest festivals in the state, agriculture festivals in the state. Mr. Leo was there to the end. He never gave up his love for this great state. He never gave up his love...

?? County, and today I’d just like to commend this resolution to you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator. Is there any further discussion or debate? Senator Rabin, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rabin you have the floor to speak to the resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Folks, I first met Mr. Leo in 1965. He was quite a character then and he was quite a character last year when I saw him this last time. When he would come to Brunswick County after I moved down there, he would always stop by my veterinary office on his way to his house over on New Pine Beach, which has a Mercer Street named after Mr. Leo. He was the quintessential democrat. That’s all that were in Columbus County where I grew up. But he was a fine man and he supported me wholeheartedly the first time I ran for office. I remember him so well. I knew his sons and his family, in Chadbourne. And what I remember about him as he aged, Mr. Leo never gave up. He walked with a walking stick, and on top of his walking stick was a carved turtle. Because he said he could keep up with that turtle, and if he needed to he could pass him. But he was quite a man. Every year in the strawberry festival which Chadbourne has the strawberry festival and the best strawberries in North Carolina, I would take Mr. Leo a quart or two of strawberries. And I think last year or the year before, Senator Walters you and I shared a flat, and we made sure that he had one. But Southeastern North Carolina, all of North Carolina will miss Mr. Leo. He’s a fine man. And I’m certainly proud to have this resolution come before this body. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Senator. Senator Sanderson, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak to the resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Sanderson has the floor, to speak to the resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. As to Senator Rabin’s acknowledgement of the democrats in Columbus County, there’s still a lot of them in Columbus County Senator Rabin. In fact, I’m still trying to talk some of my family members into making the right decision. But I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to do that. A lot of times we have a lot of great things written about us. A lot of times we have a lot of awards given to us, and to me that really does speak to the nature and the integrity of a person. And when I look at this list of Mr. Leo and that’s how I know him also, it speaks a lot to what this man was made up of and what this man believed. But I think there a couple of other things that speak to a man’s integrity and what he means to a community. A lot of times I go out in public, to public events, and a lot of times I’m able to speak to people. A lot of times I talk to a lot of my constituents. And sometimes when I walk away from a group or walk away from a person, the thought crosses my mind and says now I wonder what that person really thinks about me? I wonder what that person really thinks? The kind of person that I am. Because sometimes our position requires or brings about certain things that maybe it wouldn’t have if we were not elected officials. I think one of the things that really speaks to a person’s integrity is what people say about you after you have been in that position of authority, in that position of power. I was fortunate enough and Gwen and my brother are here tonight, and I was fortunate enough to convince my brother to marry Gwen and to marry into this family. I’m going to take credit for it, anyway. I probably didn’t have a lot to do with it but I’m going to take the credit for it. But I think that one of the things that can really speak to a person, is what do people say about you afterwards? I had many occasions to see Mr. Leo in places in public, after he held this position, after he had reached the age of retirement. And what really spoke to my heart was the number of people that came up to this man after he was no longer in this position of authority, and really revered him and really spoke to him and really spent time in talking to him. These were constituents that he had lived with all of his life and I know beyond any doubt that these people had a tremendous respect for this man. Another thing that I think you can measure is that there is nobody who knows you like your family. And when I just think about the dedication and the commitment and the love that Gwen showed her father in his latter years, I’m just totally amazed. And that’s the same kind of love and commitment that I hope I receive from my own children.

When I’m in that position, but I know behind any doubt that this man was a champion for eastern North Carolina and I grew up in Columbus county. I was not in Columbus county, I had moved to the coast by the time Mr. Leo was elected to the state house, but I know beyond any doubt that that man spent countless, countless hours trying to help the people in his district and if he was still alive today and still had the capacity to serve in this kind of a public office he would still, to do this day, be championing the people in his district. Ladies and gentlemen he was a fine man, it’s an honor to stand and to commit this resolution for your consideration. Thank you Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you senator. Senator Blue what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGE] To speak very briefly on the resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Blue has the floor to speak to the resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. President. I couldn’t let this time go by without remembering fondly by friend Leo Mercer. I served in the house with him and I’ll tell you he took any task that you gave him very seriously. He served with distinct on various committees that I appointed him to, but more importantly he taught me a lot. I grew up in the county adjoining Columbus county and Robeson county and one day I was going down there. They have this tradition down in Columbus county where the stump speech. You hear about it, it was the first time I’d ever seen it, you may have experienced it yourself Mr. President, but they actually take a stump, they put it on a stage that’s elevated about two or three feet and the stump is about two or three feet, and if you want to talk to the crowd you’ve got to get up and stand on the stump and you’re looking down about six or seven feet and if you misstep or get nervous you likely will fall off the stage. So I went to that event with Leo and he was humorous the whole while. I didn’t fall off the stage but I learned a lot from him then. Of the people I’ve served yet I think Leo exuded a certain pride representing that part of the state but in representing the state period. When he left legislature and then went to work doing constituent service and agriculture-related things for Governor Hunt in eastern North Carolina, he carried that same kind of pride with him. I would run into him at various events and he was one of the friendliest fellows you ever wanted to meet. He went out of his way to be accommodating and I think that the pride and honor he displayed in representing his constituents, and not only those in Columbus county but across North Carolina, is something that we could all emulate I think and be very pleased at it. Lastly I had an opportunity to work with him on several ?? events and other things of that nature. He took the same kind of pride into that and so I think of the people who served, Leo Mercer certainly stands out among those who’ve served with great distinction and I commend this resolution to you. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you senator. Any further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question for the senate is the passage of house joint resolution 1121 on its second reading. All in favor will vote aye, opposed will vote no. Five seconds will be allowed for the voting. The clerk will record the vote. Bryant, aye. Forty-seven having voted in the affirmative and zero in the negative, house joint resolution 1121 passes its second reading without objection will be read a third time. All members please stand. Is there any further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question for the senate is the passage of house joint resolution 1121 on its third reading. All in favor will say aye. Opposed no. The ayes have it, house joint resolution 1121 passes its third reading and it will be enrolled. At this time upon the motion of Senator Michael Walters of Robeson and Columbus county the Chair is happy to extend courtesies of the gallery to Charles and Gwen Sanderson, son in-law and daughter of Leo Mercer. Mitchell Tyler and Judge Sherry Prince thank you for being with us today, please stand and be recognized. At this time we’d like to introduce our pages for the week. Pages will now come forward to the front of the chamber to be recognized. Got a big group so clerk..

Please start reading the names. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Those serving in the chamber this week: Jordan Boyd, Attenborough. Conna Cochran, Bryson City. Brenna Daniel, Morganton. Darien Evans, Enora. Yule Ham, Huntersville. Benjamin Hebda, Raliegh. Lane Hickman, Lumberton. Jack Emerald, Chapel Hill. Abigail Eisenhower, Albermalls. David Jones, Greensboro. Aviana Lindsay, Reedsville. Trey Matthews II, Raleigh. Sarah Mock, Nebin. Delaney Nance, Hermitville. Taylor Nevicky, Dorada. Taylor Oakley, Jacksonville. Lucy May Rascal, Edenton. Landon Manor, Maple Hill. Scott Stunk, Waynesville. Ania Taylor, Curtisville. Charlotte Thomas, Morganton. Cameron Wade, Hickory. Emily Wtherspoon, Raleigh. Greelin Ray, Walkertown. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It’s good to see such a large group of pages. Pages, thank you for taking time out of your schedules to serve us here in the senate. We look forward to working with you. Thanks so much. (clapping) Do we have any notices or announcements? Senator (??) I ask you to rise. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’d like to make an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator (??) has the floor for an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. Colleagues I want to make sure you are all aware of and reminded of the invitation that is extended to you to attend the sportsmans caucus reception this evening. Mr. President, thank you for allowing us to have that reception at your house down the street. The Lt. Governor’s house. It should begin about now for those who are able to go. It’ll be good food and good fellowship. You’ll have the opportunity to learn and discuss the activities of the sportsman’s caucus. For those of you who are new to the body, you are also invited to join the sportsman’s caucus to focus on outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, and firearms. Things of that sort. We have a good time there and all are welcome. I hope to see you there. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Richard I ask you to rise. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I need to make an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Richard has the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members of the senate, the senate finance committee has a meeting today at 7pm to discuss the bill dealing with (??) bill on taxation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator (??) is to rise. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just need to make an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator (??) has the floor to make an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Quick announcement. The National Guard Association has a breakfast tomorrow at the legislative cafeteria tomorrow. You are invited. It’s at 0700, which may be early for you, but for the National Guard it isn’t. Hopefully, some of you can make it out. Thanks. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator (??) is to rise. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just too an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator (??) has the floor for an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Education committee will meet at 9 o’clock tomorrow, not 10 o’clock. 9 o’clock tomorrow at our regular meeting place. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other notices or announcements? Any further business? Floor of the senate. If not, the chair recognizes Senator Burger for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. I move that the senate be now adjourned subject to the recedent re-referral of messages from the house and the governor, the recedent re-referral of committee reports, and the referral and re-referral of bills. To re-convene on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 11am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The motions of the senate do now adjourn subject to the stipulation made by Senator Burger to re-convene on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 11am. Seconded by Senator Daniel. Everyone in favor say “aye”. Opposed, no. The ayes have it. The senate stands adjourned.