Newsletter from the office of Representative Mary Belk.
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Representatives John Autry, Christy Clark, Mary Belk, Wesley Harris, Rachel Hunt, and Nasif Majeed.


Sometimes the hardest question to answer is “What does a Representative do at work?” My favorite part about being a State Representative is having the chance to meet with people - concerned citizens and advocates on all kinds of issues - and talk about what kind of progress they’d like our State to make in the future. My ‘average day’ in Raleigh, however, is usually a range of legislative activities in approximately 15 to 30 minute increments.

Instead of trying to describe an ‘average’ day, I’d like to share what I did on Tuesday, February 12th. 

Tuesday, February 12th - A Day in the Life of Representative Belk

7:30 am - ARC of North Carolina Legislative Breakfast - On most days that we are in Raleigh, advocacy groups will host an educational breakfast and present their legislative agenda or annual report to legislators and staff. Founded in 1953 by frustrated families and caregivers, the ARC of NC advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in areas such as health & safety, housing, and supported employment. They recently lost program funding due to the State’s shift to the Local Managed Entity - Managed Care Organization (LME-MCO) model. Local affiliates, like the one in Mecklenburg County, have been shut down.

8:45 am - Review official schedule & correspondence with Legislative Assistant - When I first arrived in Raleigh, I could not believe how quickly the official schedules of the legislature shift around. Between our session times, caucus times, workgroup presentations, and committee schedules, we still need to make time for stakeholder meetings and to speak with constituents. 

9:15 am - Primary Sponsor Signature for School Calendar Flexibility (H47) - Before each bill is filed, the Primary Sponsors must initial a hard copy of the ‘bill jacket,’ which is what the House Clerk uses to enter the bill into the official record. Ahmed Ameen, Rep. Kelly Alexander’s intern, dropped by my office to get my initials on H47, which will allow the Mecklenburg School Board to set their own days for the opening and closing of the school year. Ideally, this will allow mid-year testing to occur in CMS schools before the holiday break in December, as it does in many local charter and private schools.
My constituent, Lauren Dunlap, visited with Matt Igelman on Rare Disease Day.
9:30 am - 11:00 am - Constituent & Stakeholder Meetings 

Occasionally, my personal experience directly informs my conversations. I met with several patients, including my constituent, Laura Dunlap, who was visiting the legislature on Rare Disease Day. They talked about what we can do to make sure our policies aren’t accidentally excluding people who suffer from diseases that only affect a small number of patients. As a breast cancer survivor, I felt an immediate kinship with Laura and the challenges she encounters daily. 

I met with a group of mothers who have children with disabilities to talk about social services funding and access. They were in town in conjunction with the ARC of North Carolina and told me stories about families who are providing home care for disabled people, without adequate funding.

Representatives of local Mecklenburg AFL-CIO affiliates dropped by my office to talk about our mutual support for a $15 minimum wage here in North Carolina, as well as some legislation they’d like to see to encourage growth of call center jobs in the Mecklenburg County region.

11:00 am - Mentor/Mentee Meeting - Each new legislator is assigned a mentor by the Caucus Chair. This year, my mentee is Rep. Terence Everitt of Wake County. Terence and I were both initially elected from purple districts in large counties, so we talk about the challenges and rewards of making sure we represent all of our constituents with an open mind and a willingness to listen. We met on Tuesday about the nuts and bolts of gathering primary sponsors for bills that are important to us.

12:00 pm - Lunch - It’s a red letter day when I can actually eat lunch at lunch time. My friend and fellow Mecklenburg County legislator Rep. Autry joined me and Ralph, my Legislative Assistant, to catch up and preview some of the work we are prioritizing this session.

1:00 pm - Strategy Session for Opioid Opt Out Act - We received our new draft of the Opioid Opt Out Act, so it was time to gather our primary sponsors. I worked with my staff to create an action plan to summarize changes from the 2017 version and to communicate with sponsors of the previous bill.
Melinda Plue from the ARC of NC with Representatives Belk, Clark, Harris, and John.  
2:00 pm - Meeting with Rep. Carney on Expunctions - One of the great community success stories in Mecklenburg is the work the Council of Elders has done with local District Attorney Spencer Merriweather to organize Expunction Clinics. We hope to sponsor legislation later this year that will make those clinics easier to organize, and make sure they’re available in communities across the State.

3:00 pm - Meeting with Mecklenburg Delegation Chair - Rep. Kelly Alexander is our new Mecklenburg Delegation Chair. I thanked him for organizing our first listening session in Charlotte the previous week, and for sharing the opportunity to sponsor legislation - like the School Calendar Flexibility Bill - that comes to our delegation from local government in Mecklenburg County. I’m looking forward to the regular ‘listening sessions’ that Rep. Alexander is planning this year.   

4:00 pm - Democratic Caucus Meeting - Our caucus meetings are closed, but generally we often invite subject matter experts from the Executive Branch to give us the ‘lay of the land’ on issues that will be of interest in the coming session.

5:00 pm - Session - There were no votes taken at Session that day, so there was very little official business besides the daily prayer, announcements, and the first reading and committee assignment of bills that were filed since the last session. I did use the opportunity to speak individually with previous sponsors of my Opioid Opt Out Act from last year, and invite them to be primary sponsors again this year.

5:30 pm - Office Work - I used the time to review legislation on my Dashboard that was available for co-sponsorship, which gave me a chance to co-sponsor H46, the Economic Security Act of 2019, which aims to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2024. After that, I spent a bit of time catching up on emails and messages from colleagues and constituents.

6:30 pm - AFL-CIO Reception & Dinner - Although a healthy work-life balance is difficult when I live in Charlotte and work in Raleigh, I always try to network and form alliances with people who are pushing for the same reforms and priorities that I am, like the $15 minimum wage. The guest of honor was my friend and legislative mentor, Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe). 
That felt like a typically full day for the “part-time” job of NC legislator - and it didn’t even include official voting! This early in the session, committees have just started to meet in earnest. If you enjoyed this very close look at a day, I promise to do one again when there’s more legislative action to share.
My mentor, Rep. Susan Fisher, was recognized by the NC AFL-CIO.


Last week marked the filing of HB69, the current bipartisan plan to create an Independent Redistricting Commission in North Carolina. I am a sponsor of this bill, along with 66 of my colleagues from both caucuses. That means if we were to hold a floor vote on it tomorrow, it would pass the NC House. The three most ‘important’ names (House Speaker, Rules Chair, & Republican Majority Leader) on the path to that vote, however, are conspicuously missing as sponsors. On a positive note, there’s reason to think they may consider it.   

HB69 creates a commission by which the two largest parties would be guaranteed four seats each. Three unaffiliated seats would bring the total to 11 commissioners. The bill is a big step in the right direction, but does not completely solve the problem of partisan political influence in redistricting. The language provides that after 3 rounds of maps, it is up to the majority party in both chambers to approve or amend a new map. 

If it sounds a bit like a Republican plan, it’s because it was largely copied from a bill filed by Senator Berger, the President Pro Tem of the Senate, when his party was in the minority and much more committed to concept of Independent Redistricting. 

I want to thank the hundreds of activists I’ve met over the past few years pushing for an end to gerrymandering in our State. We need your help to convince the Republican leadership that this is the best way forward to ensure representative integrity for the voters of North Carolina.
Helpful hints on how to interpret a bill information page. 


The General Assembly web site is your one-stop resource for information about legislators, past and current legislation, schedules for each chamber, and information about how you can take an active part in your government. In fact, while there are ‘members only’ parts of our system, my staff and I rely on the tools available on the public web site to a much greater degree for our day-to-day office functions. Especially with the UNC School of Government bill summaries now available to the public, you can easily access just about every resource we have at our disposal as we’re making laws in Raleigh. 

Here are some helpful links to pages of interest:

Find my Representative
Search for Legislation
Search the current General Statutes
View the Legislative Calendar
Find Committee Information & Memberships


Domestic Violence Hotline: If you or someone you know is trapped in a domestic violence or partner abuse situation, please call Safe Alliance at 704-332-2513 and they can help you.

Property Tax values and histories in Mecklenburg County can be searched on this site that includes links to Polaris and information about the reassessments that occurred in 2011. You can find more detailed information on real estate values on the Mecklenburg Modria site. 

Charlotte 311 is your connection to city services, including Animal Control, Street Maintenance, Bulky Trash Pick-up, Parking Enforcement, and all other non-police related matters. Dial 311 or visit their website to fill out a form and have your issue addressed as soon as possible.    

Voter Information: You can find your current information on the NC Voter Lookup page. You can also find interactive versions of the new House & Senate maps HERE.   
Don’t forget! Visit today to see if you have unclaimed property under the supervision of the NC Treasurer’s office.

My office is here to help you navigate any issues you may have with state services. Please call myself or my legislative assistant, Ralph Belk, at 919-733-5607 or email me at with any questions or concerns
Mecklenburg Democrats' Chair Jane Whitley addresses our South End/Dilworth/Meyers Park precinct cluster meeting.


OUR VIEW: It’s time to close N.C.’s health-insurance gap
Wilmington Star News

N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger says Democrats’ views on Medicaid expansion misleading. But experts also question his 'facts.'
Winston-Salem Journal

Would Medicaid expansion bring 40,000 jobs to North Carolina, as state House Democrat says?
PolitiFact North Carolina

Studies mostly support NC governor's claim about uninsured veterans
PolitiFact North Carolina

Governor Cooper Proposes Funding Aimed to Help Schools Recovering from Florence

Republican senators offer alternative to statewide school bond referendum
NC Policy Watch

Governor Cooper Says North Carolina Schools Need at Least $8 Billion in Construction or Renovations

Study finds chronic, growing gap in NC school system funding 'once again'

Gender wage gap remains stagnant in NC, varies widely by county
Carolina Public Press

NC education initiative addresses qualified workforce deficit
Triangle Business Journal

Youth Suicide Up In NC, New Report Finds

Our View: New pact broadens action against GenX
Fayetteville Observer

New Chemours consent order steps up enforcement of GenX, related chemicals

Republicans pitch keeping Court of Appeals at 15 judges
Associated Press

Living wage bill comes from House Democrats
Winston-Salem Journal

Amend the NC constitution to ban gerrymandering? Supporters want it on the ballot in 2020
The News & Observer

One-on-one: Future Chief Justice Beasley talks about ‘a life full of highlights’
NC Policy Watch

Cheri Beasley To Be First African-American Woman Chief Justice Of NC Supreme Court

Our view: A historic new chief justice
Winston-Salem Journal

Editorial: Beasley a good choice for chief justice
Burlington Time-News

Chief Justice Meets Lady Justice
Editorial Cartoon from CBC Opinion
Mecklenburg County NC House Districts Effective for the 2018 Election 
Copyright © 2019 Representative Mary Belk, All rights reserved.

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