Recent Blog Posts

  • Contracting Without a License? Beware.

    Authored by: on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

    You’ve just received bids on a construction project costing $50,000, and discovered that the lowest bidder is not a licensed general contractor.  When you bring this to the bidder’s attention, she tells you that she will be licensed by the time the project is scheduled to start.  Can you accept her bid? Read more »

  • Cyber-Sweepstakes Anyone?

    Authored by: on Monday, October 12th, 2009

    UPDATE September 2013: In December 2012 in the case of Hest Technologies, Inc. v. State ex rel Perdue, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the statute that makes it a criminal offense to conduct video sweepstakes games “through the use of an entertaining display.” (G.S. 14-306.4(b)). See here for an analysis of the implications of the case for local zoning authorities.

    A converted storefront or convenience mart with computer terminals at tables or in booths arranged around the room. Someone at a desk or counter selling computer time. Customers enjoying games of “Wild Berries” on their screens. Is this the new face of video gaming in North Carolina? What are we up to and how has it developed?

    Read more »

  • Local Governments, Public Authorities, and the Red Flags Rule: Does it Apply?

    Authored by: on Monday, October 12th, 2009

    UPDATE August 2013: For more recent information on this topic click here.

    Jill Moore recently blogged about the applicability of the federal Red Flag Rules to local health departments and the appropriate responses by those departments to prevent or mitigate identity theft. As Jill mentioned in her post, the reach of the Red Flag Rules (at least potentially) extends beyond local health departments, though. To what other local programs or activities might the Rules apply? This post provides guidance to local officials in determining if, and under what circumstances, the Red Flag Rules apply to their unit or authority. Read more »

  • Voting by the mayor pro-tem

    Authored by: on Friday, October 9th, 2009

    The mayor is on vacation and therefore the mayor pro tem is presiding at the regular council meeting.  The city is one in which the mayor votes only to break ties.  When a vote comes up, does the pro tem vote as if he or she is still a council member, or does he or she now vote only to break ties?  And if the pro tem does vote as a council member, and the result is a tie vote, can the pro tem now vote as mayor to break the tie? Read more »

  • Monuments in Parks: Government Speech, Not Forum Analysis

    Authored by: on Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

    A recurring subject of First Amendment case law has to do with monuments in public parks. The latest opinion from the United States Supreme Court on this subject holds (unanimously) that the placement of a permanent monument in a public park is a form of government speech and is therefore not subject to scrutiny under the Free Speech Clause. Is this a major departure from prior holdings or a natural and obvious interpretation of the relevant constitutional provisions? Read more »

  • Before You Start Recycling Your Bid Files, Read This!

    Authored by: on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

    Your local government has just awarded a contract.  Now what are you supposed to do with all of the bids, bid tabulations, paperwork, and email generated by the bidding process?  Can you throw any of it away?  Do you have to keep any of it, and, if so, for how long? Read more »

  • Health Insurance for Retired Commissioners – A Constitutional Issue

    Authored by: on Friday, October 2nd, 2009

    S.L. 2009-564 (SB 468) amends G.S. 153A-93, effective October 1, to permit counties to provide health insurance to retired county commissioners.  The new act takes care of a statutory problem that appeared to prohibit providing such a benefit, but there remains a constitutional problem if a county attempts to use the statute to initiate the benefit for commissioners who have already retired from the board. Read more »