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Six things to have on your agenda this week

mapping our futureNew Year, old concerns – The New Year gets underway with some legislators back in Raleigh discussing transportation needs and funding solutions. This afternoon at 1:00 p.m. members of the Select Committee on Strategic Transportation Planning and Long Term Funding Solutions will hold their first meeting of 2016. Among the issues they’ll discuss: Governor McCrory’s 25 Year Vision for transportation and federal funding.

Paying more at the DMV – On the subject of transportation, North Carolina drivers visiting their local DMV office this week will find fees much higher than they were a week ago.MC-DMV

While the DMV was closed last Friday for the New Year’s holiday, this week they will find driver’s licenses have jumped to $40, up from $32. The fee for vehicle registration has also increased from $28 to $36. The new fee structure was passed by the General Assembly and approved by Gov. Pat McCrory last year in the state budget.

On the bright side, the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel has dropped by one penny a gallon.

Energy opportunities – The possibility of tapping offshore energy was one of big stories in 2015, and this week members of the Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy waste little time discussing new opportunities for 2016. The committee, co-chaired by Rep. Mike Hager, Rep. John Szoka, and Sen. Andrew C. Brock, will meet Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. in Room 544 of the Legislative Office Building.

Board of Education focuses on dropouts, charter schools – The North Carolina State Board of Education holds its first meeting of the new year this Wednesday and Thursday. Items on the two-day agenda include:
*  Pilot Program to Raise the High School Dropout Age from Sixteen to Eighteen
*  A new policy establishing the North Carolina Virtual Public School Advisory Council
*  A proposed Study on Charter School Closure Funds
The agenda for both days is available here.

FORECASTForecasting the 2016 economy – On Wednesday, the N.C. Chamber and the North Carolina Bankers Association host the 14th Annual Economic Forecast Forum. The forum begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center, Durham. Governor Pat McCrory will address the group at 1:40 p.m. A full agenda is available here.

On a related note, this Thursday the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce holds its 2016 Economic Forecast. Speakers include: Jeffrey Lacker, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and Jay Bryson, managing director and global economist at Wells Fargo.

Rubio rallies Raleigh – And Republican Senator Marco Rubio brings his presidential campaign to Raleigh on Saturday. Rubio, who has the backing of former state budget director Art Pope, will appear at the event from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Find more information on Rubio’s website.

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