Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas & Holiday Greetings

Best wishes to you and your family for a Merry Christmas and a cheerful Holiday Season. I also hope you have a happy and prosperous New Year. Be safe if you travel and enjoy the holidays!

Memorable Christmas Quotes

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
- President Calvin Coolidge

"Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends."
- Margaret Thatcher

"A good conscience is a continual Christmas."
- Benjamin Franklin

Once again, best wishes to you and your family for a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!

Rep. Jon Hardister

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Files for Reelection

December 1, 2015

For Immediate Release

Greensboro, NC - Today Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) filed to run for reelection to the NC House. Hardister said that his passion for public service was a primary factor in his decision to seek reelection. He also cited a successful track record of problem solving and providing constituent services as reasons for seeking another term in office.

"It would be an honor to continue serving the citizens of Guilford County," Hardister said. "As a legislator I have focused on solving problems, increasing government efficiency and providing good constituent services. I would be humbled by the opportunity to continue working to move North Carolina in a positive direction."

Hardister has passed numerous bills during his first two terms in office. He has passed bills that reduce regulations on small businesses, protect school choice and enhance child identity protection. He has also supported efforts to reform North Carolina's tax code, control state spending and promote efficiency in government operations.

"North Carolina is now one of the most business-friendly states in the nation," Hardister said. "We have reformed our tax code, kept state debt low and invested responsibly in the core services of government. It is important that we continue working to strengthen our economy and provide citizens with more opportunity to succeed."

In addition to his track record, Hardister cited his work ethic and political independence as attributes to warrant his reelection.

"Although I remain dedicated to conservative principles, I do not make decisions based on partisan politics," Hardister said. "The decisions that I make are based on what I believe is in the best interest of our citizens. I put a lot of effort into this job and I take it very seriously."

Hardister, who was first elected to the NC House in 2012, will be seeking his third term in office.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Best wishes to you and your family for a healthy, happy and safe Thanksgiving. This is a time to reflect on the positive aspects of life and give thanks to the people who are important to us. I hope you will find time to celebrate with your friends and family.

Be safe if you travel and enjoy the holiday!

Thanksgiving Proclamation - Calvin Coolidge

"The season again approaches when it has been the custom for generations to set apart a day of thanksgiving for the blessings which the giver of all good and perfect gifts has bestowed upon us during the year. It is most becoming that we should do this, for the goodness and mercy of God which have followed us through the year deserve our grateful recognition and acknowledgement."

- An excerpt from President Calvin Coolidge's 1928 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Once again, best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Rep. Jon Hardister

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Announces Effort to Memorialize Howard Coble

November 7, 2014

For Immediate Release

Greensboro, NC - Today Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) announced his intentions to lead an effort to memorialize Howard Coble. He is working with Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson on the effort.

Ideas for memorials include the naming of a road, the naming of a bridge, and the installation of a statue in Southeast Guilford County. It is possible that one or all of these ideas could come to fruition.

Hardister said that he would like to raise private money to pay for a statue. Transportation memorials, such as the naming of a highway or bridge, would be funded by taxpayers at a relatively low cost through the N.C. Department of Transportation.

"It is my honor to work on this project," Hardister said. "There are not many people in our community more deserving of a memorial than Howard Coble. He dedicated many years of his life to public service and he is admired by people on both sides of the political aisle."

Hardister said that he will provide more details on the effort as they become available.

Rep. Jon Hardister and Howard Coble in 2014.

Rep. Jon Hardister


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Releases Statement on Passing of Howard Coble

November 4, 2015

For Immediate Release

Greensboro, NC - Today Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) released the following statement on the passing of former Congressman Howard Coble:

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to "Our Congressman" Howard Coble. He was a true public servant and a statesman, but most importantly, he was a good friend. I am proud to call him my mentor in politics. He will live forever in our memories and his legacy will stand the test of time. 

When he was a senior at Greensboro College in 2006, Hardister had the opportunity to work as an intern for Howard Coble in his local congressional office. Hardister said that this experience taught him the importance of being accessible and responsive to the needs of constituents. He also said that this experience helped inspire him to run for public office.


Rep. Jon Hardister

Monday, November 2, 2015

2015 Legislative Review

The 2015 session of the North Carolina General Assembly came to a close on October 1st. We now stand adjourned until April 2016. Now that this year's session has come to an end, I wanted to take a moment to update you on some of the work that has been done.

Good News

Our state legislature has worked hard to be responsible with tax dollars and to increase government efficiency. As a result, we have the 16th lowest debt in the nation and we are one of only 15 states that have a AAA credit rating.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, we rank 10th in the nation for job creation and growth in per-capita income over the last year.

Forbes Magazine recently ranked North Carolina second on their list of "Best States for Business and Careers." We have also received favorable reviews from the Tax Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.

Our goal is to make North Carolina the best place to do business in the country. This will lead to job creation and more opportunity for citizens, which is what we need. As more jobs are created, we will generate the revenue necessary to fund the core services of government such as education, transportation and public safety.

State Budget Update

This year the state legislature passed a responsible budget that funds the core services of government efficiently. The House and Senate were at odds on several portions of the budget, which required a great deal of work to reconcile. We ultimately agreed on a $21.7 billion spending plan for the current fiscal year.
  • Here are some highlights:
  • Reduces the personal income tax rate to 5.5 percent (maintains flat rate)
  • Increases standard tax deductions
  • Allows the corporate tax rate to drop to 4 percent
  • Reinstates the Medical Tax Deduction
  • Reforms various state regulations and promotes transparency
  • Increases K-12 education funding by over $400 million
  • Increases starting teacher pay by 6 percent
  • Funds teacher pay steps, which allows for pay increases
  • Preserves funding for all teacher assistant positions
  • Preserves funding for Driver's Education
  • Enhances pay for Highway Patrol Officers
  • Protects Highway Trust Fund revenue
  • Continues modernization of the DMV
  • Provides a $750 bonus for all state employees
  • Provides funds to modernize the judicial system
  • Increases funds in the State Savings Account
This is a responsible budget and it was a good compromise between the House and Senate. Spending is kept within TABOR limits, which means it doesn't exceed changes in population or inflation. Although we were not able to secure an increase in base pay for state employees, I am confident that this will be done in next year's legislative session.

In addition to the highlights listed above, we also implemented Medicaid reform. This is intended to make the system more efficient and cost-effective. So far the reforms appear to be working, which is evidenced by the fact that Medicaid came in under its projected budget this year.

Legislative Work

Three bills that I filed this year have become law:

HB 126 - Streamlines laws and provides regulatory relief for small businesses in the mortgage processing/underwriting industry.

HB 607 - Allows parents and guardians to place a security freeze on their child's credit, protecting children from identity theft.

HB 651 - Reduces regulations and financial costs on small business in the real estate appraising industry.

There are other bills that I worked on this year, but these are three that I filed as a primary sponsor. I am honored that these bills have become law.

In Our Community

The best part of my job is having the opportunity to speak with constituents and meet new people. Here are a few photos from when I have been out and about in the community:

Speaking at a ceremony to honor the service of Robert Douglas Junior, who recently turned 103 years old. He is an Eagle Scout, former FBI agent and a licensed attorney. I had the honor of presenting him with a N.C. House Resolution and a flag that was flown over the State Capital.

Meeting with the principle of Aycock Middle School. I visited campus to speak with the students about state government and why they should get involved. They asked good questions about politics and public policy.

It was my honor to sign a "Reviving Downtowns" Proclamation that was made by Governor Pat McCrory. This was done at a press conference in downtown Burlington. We have many historical assets in our State that should be preserved.

With Governor Pat McCrory in a local music shop. The store owner was kind enough to let us play music for a few minutes. McCrory played the drums and I played bass guitar.

Reelection 2016

A few months ago I announced that I will be running for reelection in 2016. I would be honored to have your support of my campaign. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so online at

Thank you for your support!

Stay Updated

I will be sure to keep you updated concerning any developments related to the legislature. We are out of session until April of next year, but there is still activity when the legislature is adjourned. As always, don't hesitate to contact me with questions or comments. 

Quote to Remember

"The highest calling of leadership is to unlock the potential of others."
- Carly Fiorina

Friday, September 18, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Presides Over House During Budget Debate

For Immediate Release

September 18, 2015

Raleigh, NC - Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) presided over session on the House floor for nearly an hour during debate on the 2015 Appropriations Act on Thursday, September 17, 2015. This marks the first time in which Hardister has presided over session in the House.

"It was an honor to preside over the House during debate on the budget," Hardister said. "It was a great experience and I am humbled by the opportunity."

This was the first time in at least five years in which a member from Guilford County has presided over the House. 

Rep. Jon Hardister


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

NC House Update - September 2015

State Budget Extension

The General Assembly passed a Continuing Resolution to extend the budget discussions through September 18th. This means that we are running off of last year's budget while we work to reach an agreement for the current fiscal year. Not only does the Continuing Resolution keep us running on last year's budget (there is no government shutdown), it contained an increase in education funding (to account for growth in enrollment) and a six percent increase in starting pay for teachers.

The state budget is due each year on July 1st. If the budget is not done in time, then the General Assembly can pass a resolution to delay the deadline. Historically, it is not uncommon for the budget deadline to be extended. This is the longest that we have been overdue in more than 10 years, but there have been times when the General Assembly did not complete a budget until November or December.

At this point, we are still engaged in discussions between the House and Senate to reconcile differences in the state budget. Although we have yet to reach an agreement, I believe we are very close to doing so. I am cautiously optimistic that we will reach an agreement within the next few days.

Conferring with Rep. Jay Adams on the House floor before session.

Protecting Child Identity

It is my honor to be a primary sponsor of HB 607 - Allow Protected Consumer Security Freezes - which was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory last month. The bill, which passed both the House and Senate unanimously, allows parents to freeze their child's credit in order to prevent identify theft, which has become a serious problem for children. The same protections will be allowed for disabled adults who have a legal guardian.

With Rep. Graig Meyer at a press conference on HB 607.

Regulatory Reform Bill Advances

It is my honor to be the lead sponsor of HB 651 - Appraisal Board Record Keeping & Background Checks - which provides regulatory relief for small businesses and independent contractors in the real estate appraisal industry. The bill passed with strong support in both the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory.

Attending a bill signing with Governor Pat McCrory.

Facts About Public Education Funding

There has been misinformation in the media about state spending on public education. Some people have claimed that the legislature has cut the education budget and reduced spending on public schools, which simply isn't true. We spend 55.9 percent of our state budget on education with an increase of nearly $1.2 billion over the last four years.

Last week I wrote a guest editorial in the Rhino Times to explain what the facts are related to education spending. Click on the link below to see my editorial, which includes graphs to help explain how revenue is spent:

Other Issues Under Consideration

Aside from the state budget, there are a few other issues that may or may not be taken up before we adjourn the 2015 legislative session. These issues include Medicaid reform; the Connect NC Bond; economic incentives; and changes in the local sales tax distribution formula. As of now, it is uncertain as to whether we will vote on these topics this year or wait until next year's legislative session.

2016 Presidential Race

There has been a lot of focus lately on the Republican presidential primary. Personally, I believe we have a strong field of contenders on the Republican side. It will be fascinating to see what happens in the race over the next few months.

We need a president who is willing to work hard and remain dedicated to solving the major problems that are facing our nation, such as the national debt, excessive regulations, and a frivolous tax code.

On the Democratic side, it looks like Hillary Clinton is in trouble. She is under investigation for misuse of her private email server while she was Secretary of State, which has become a serious liability for her campaign. As of now, it seems likely that Vice President Joe Biden will enter the race. Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, has been gaining traction in some of the early primary states.

Move Presidential Primaries to March 15th?

There has been an effort in the legislature to move the presidential primary in North Carolina to March 15th, which will allow our citizens to have more input in the presidential primary process (it would be in effect for the 2016 elections). The bill that would make these changes is currently in conference committee between the House and Senate. The major question is if the regular primaries (congressional, state and local offices) will remain in May, or be moved up to join the presidential primaries in March.

Happy Labor Day

Here's hoping that you and your family had a happy and safe Labor Day. I hope you had a fun and relaxing holiday!

More Updates Soon

That's it for now. I will provide more updates in the near future. As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

Quote to Remember

"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it."
- Margaret Thatcher

Rep. Jon Hardister

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Public Education Funding: What's The Truth?

There has been a fair amount of misinformation in the media about public education policy in North Carolina. Honest disagreement on policy is good and should be welcomed by everyone. But false, baseless attacks are unfair to our citizens.

Case in point: The editorial column published in the News & Record on Sunday, August 23, “The War on Public Education,” by James Hogan, a former teacher.

In this piece, Mr. Hogan asserted that public education spending comprises only one-third of the state budget. He said, “Public education, including higher education, consumes about a third of North Carolina’s budget.” Not only is this statement inaccurate, it is irresponsible.

The truth is that public education comprises 55.9 percent of the state budget. That breaks down to 38.5 percent being allocated to K-12 education with the rest going to community colleges and the UNC system. Either Mr. Hogan didn’t do his homework on the state budget, or he is deliberately misleading the public.

Despite this and other inaccuracies, Mr. Hogan’s column received widespread coverage. In addition to the News & Record, it was also published in the Washington Post and on several popular education websites. It is unfortunate that the misinformation in this article was not corrected before it proliferated in the media.

To their credit, the News & Record ran a correction in the Tuesday, August 25 edition of the paper.

The overarching problem is that the public has a right to know what the facts are, especially as it relates to how their tax dollars are spent. It is perfectly fine to disagree on policy decisions, but it is wrong to spread false information in order to promote a point of view.

Not only did Mr. Hogan’s article contain false information on the state budget, it was full of sensational claims that are not based in reality. He accused the state legislature of embarking on a “war against public education” and “taking aim at teachers.” Statements like that are irresponsible and inflammatory.

Here are a few important facts related to public education in North Carolina:
  • There are three sources of funding for public education – federal, state and local. When it comes to education funding as a percentage of the state budget, North Carolina ranks among the highest in the nation. In most other states, local governments fund education at a higher level than they do in North Carolina. As mentioned earlier, over half of our state budget is allocated to public education.
  • The former Democratic majority in North Carolina cut the education budget in fiscal years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Republicans took control of the legislature in 2011 and we have increased education spending every year since. In fact, education spending has increased by over $1.2 billion since Republicans took the majority in North Carolina.
  • The legislature provided teachers with a pay increase in 2014 and reinstated teacher pay steps, which were frozen by Democrats in 2009. Starting pay for teachers was increased by 7 percent in 2014 with another 6 percent increase planned for this year. Our long-term goal is for teachers in North Carolina to be among the best paid in the nation.
When you consider these facts, it is irrational to conclude that there is a “war on public education.” If that were the case, would we spend over half of the state budget on education and increase funding several years in a row? That would make no sense whatsoever.

The real war on education is when people like Mr. Hogan make false, outlandish claims, such as accusing the state legislature of cutting “budgets to the bone” and “dealing a devastating blow to public school.” Such statements do nothing but create confusion and make it difficult to have a serious conversation.

Our legislative leadership and Gov. Pat McCrory care deeply about public education, and we are committed to building and maintaining a strong education system. It is unfortunate that our political detractors often resort to attacks, misinformation and scare tactics in order to promote their political agenda. Our citizens deserve better than that.

Note: Below I have provided charts that support the information in this article.

This chart shows where the public education budget was cut in FY 2009-10 and FY 2010-11 (when Democrats were in the majority), but has increased every year since.

This pie graph, which was created by the NC General Assembly's Fiscal Research Division, confirms that education spending comprises 55.9 percent of the state budget.

The chart below, which came from NC DPI, shows that 62.1 percent of education funds come from the state. Note that North Carolina ranks 9th in the nation for education spending as a percentage of the state budget. This is down from 5th, but still very respectable.

Finally, the graph below shows where teacher pay was raised in 2014 along with the reinstating of a pay step system. Starting pay was increased from $30,800 to $33,000 (a seven percent increase) but this year it will be increased to $35,000 (which is an additional six percent increase). This is just the start; our goal is to continue increasing teacher pay until we have among the best paid teachers in the nation. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Passes Consumer Protection Bill

August 12, 2015

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - Today Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) held a press conference along with Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange) to discuss the importance of HB 607 - Allow Protected Consumer Security Freezes - which was recently signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory. Reps. Hardister and Meyer are the primary sponsors of the bill.

The bill is designed to prevent identity theft for children and disabled adults who have a limited ability to monitor their own credit. It would allow the parent or legal guardian of a minor (under 16 years of age) to freeze a child's credit to prevent loans or services (such as a credit card account) from being approved in the child's name. The same protections would be allowed for an adult who has a legal guardian, such as someone who is disabled or incapacitated.

This would extend the general procedures that are in place for an individual "consumer" through the Identify Theft Protection Act of 2005 to children and disabled adults.

"This bill addresses a serious problem related to the identity theft of children and adults who are disabled," Hardister said. "Children are especially at-risk of identity theft because it can take a while to detect the crime. There have been cases when a parent did not realize that their child's identity was stolen until years after the crime occurred."

Hardister also said that the problem related to child identity theft has gotten worse due to advancements in computer technology.

The bill passed both the House and Senate on a unanimous vote.

"This is a good, bipartisan bill that provides a reasonable way for children and disabled adults to protect their identity," Hardister said. "The passage of this bill allows millions of citizens a new safeguard to protect themselves from fraud."

Rep. Jon Hardister

Rep. Graig Meyer (left) and Rep. Jon Hardister speaking at press conference.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

NC House Update - August 2015

The 2015 session of the NC General Assembly is underway as we enter the month of August. We are working to finalize the state budget and to pass legislation before the session adjourns. There is no set date for adjournment, but we hope to be out of session within the next few weeks.

Finalizing the State Budget

The House and Senate have appointed conferees to work out differences in the budget (I am honored to be appointed as a conferee on the House side). There are a few disparities that we are working to resolve, such as funding for teacher assistants; driver's education funding; Medicaid reform; changes to the state tax code; and changes to the local sales tax redistribution.

It is normal for the House and Senate to have disagreements when it comes to the state budget. When you are dealing with a multi-billion dollar spending plan, legislators are not going to agree on every detail. Our goal is to reconcile our differences and pass a balanced budget that spends taxpayer dollars responsibly.

Completing Committee Work

House and Senate committees are completing their work as we approach the end of session this year. We are working to move bills before the session adjourns. Although a lot of focus is on the state budget, there are numerous bills that are still being considered.

Regulatory Reform Bill

HB 651 - Appraisal Board Recordkeeping and Background Checks - passed the legislature last week and will soon be signed by Governor Pat McCrory. This is a regulatory reform bill that provides relief for small businesses and independent contractors. I am honored to be the lead sponsor of this bill and I am pleased that it passed the legislature with strong bipartisan support.

Note: I have another regulatory reform bill (HB 126 - Mortgage Origination Support Registration) that is currently under consideration in the Senate.

When I ran for office, I cited regulatory reform as a top priority. This is an issue that I will continue to focus on in the legislature. We need to maintain a sound business environment in order to create jobs and grow the economy.

Presidential Primary Moves to March

The North Carolina presidential primary has been moved to March 15th. This was done in order to give us a seat at the table in the presidential primary process. Currently, the presidential primaries are often decided by the time North Carolina holds its primary, which is in May. By moving the presidential primary to March, our citizens will now have an influence as to who the political parties choose to be their presidential nominee.

Connect NC Bond

Governor Pat McCrory is traveling the state to promote his "Connect NC" bond, which would be a roughly $1.5 billion general obligation bond to provide funding for transportation projects. We have not had a general obligation bond since the year 2000 and interest rates are currently low, which means it may not be a bad time to consider this proposal. The legislature is working to see if we can come up with a responsible plan. Any general obligation bond the legislature proposes would have to be approved by voters on a statewide ballot.

Award Recognition

It was an honor to receive the "2015 Charter Champion Award" from the NC Association of Public Charter Schools. This award was in recognition of work that I have done to help support our public charter school system. My belief is that we should support all areas of public education and provide children with more opportunities to learn. 

Historic Gibsonville Caboose Dedication

Earlier this month I had the honor of participating in a ribbon cutting for the historic railroad caboose in Gibsonville. The caboose symbolizes the history of Gibsonvile, which derives its name from Joseph Gibson, who was involved in expanding the railroad system in North Carolina. The caboose also reminds us of the important role that transportation plays in driving economic development. 

More Updates Soon

Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to the end of session. Meanwhile, don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. I hope you are having an excellent summer.

Quote to Remember

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary."
- Vince Lombardi

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Passes Regulatory Reform Bill

July 30, 2015

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - Today Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) passed HB 651 - Appraisal Board Recordkeeping and Background Checks - which provides regulatory relief for the real estate appraisal industry.

The bill eliminates the discovery rule for civil action related to real estate appraisals and establishes a five year statute of limitations, which puts North Carolina in line with the United States Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. This will reduce insurance and compliance costs for real estate appraisers, many of which are small businesses and independent contractors.

The bill would also eliminate the necessity for real estate appraisers to submit a separate background check to each AMC they work for. Instead, real estate appraisers would be able to cycle a single up-to-date background check to each AMC. This would streamline the background check process and reduce costs on those who work in the industry.

"This bill provides regulatory relief for small businesses," Hardister said. "It is a good, bipartisan bill that makes sensible changes to laws regulating the real estate appraisal industry. This bill will reduce costs on small businesses and independent contractors across the state."

Hardister expressed thanks to his primary co-sponsors of the bill; Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland) and Rep. Brian Turner (D-Buncombe). He also noted that the bill passed with strong bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate chambers.

"It is great to see a comprehensive regulatory reform bill receive strong bipartisan support," Hardister said. "I am honored to be the lead sponsor of this bill."

The bill was supported by the NC Real Estate Appraisers Association and the NC Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.

Rep. Jon Hardister


Monday, May 18, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Will Replace American Flag Stolen From Gibsonville

May 19, 2015

For Immediate Release

Gibsonville, NC - Today Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) announced that he will order a replacement for the American flag that was recently stolen from the Gibsonville Police Department. The American flag was being flown at half-staff in honor of National Peace Officer Memorial Day when it was stolen.

Hardister announced that he will order an American flag to be flown over the N.C. Capital in honor of the Gibsonville Police Department.

"It is hard to imagine how someone could commit such an offensive crime," Hardister said. "Whoever stole that flag should return it and seek forgiveness for their behavior. The purpose of ordering the replacement flag is to show solidarity against crime and to honor the work of the Gibsonville Police Department."

Hardister said that he will present the new flag to the Gibsonville Police Department as soon as possible.

Rep. Jon Hardister


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

NC House Update - April 2015

The 2015 legislative session has picked up pace as we work to move bills before the "crossover deadline" on April 30th. Bills that don't move from one chamber to the other by the crossover deadline will become ineligible for the rest of session.

Over 1,000 bills have been filed this year in the legislature, but only a small percentage of those bills will become law. I have filed several bills, most of which are related to regulatory reform.

At any rate, I wanted to take a moment to give you an overview of how things are going in the NC House. Here is a brief update:

Economy Shows Improvement

North Carolina's latest unemployment rate is 5.4 percent. That is a strong improvement from five years ago, when the unemployment rate was 11.3 percent. During that same time period, we have added over 300,000 net new jobs, making us a leader in job creation. There is still work to do, but this indicates that we are moving in the right direction.

North Carolina Maintains Low Debt

Some people may not be aware that North Carolina currently has the 16th lowest debt out of all 50 states (total state debt as percentage of GSP). We are also one of only 15 states that have a "AAA" bond rating from S&P. This indicates that we are being responsible with tax dollars and working to prevent future generations from having to pay an excessive amount of debt.

Strengthening Public Education

Several steps are being taken to support our public education system, such as reducing paperwork for teachers; eliminating excessive test requirements; and finding ways to utilize technology in the classrooms. We are also working to provide teachers with another pay increase this session. I cosigned several bills that will help to accomplish these goals.

Future Tax Reform

Ideas on how to implement further tax reform continue to be discussed. We enacted substantial tax reform in 2013, but that was just a start. Our goal will be to get our taxes as low as possible for all of our citizens, which will help to create jobs and grow the economy.

Medicaid Reform

Ideas on how to control the cost of Medicaid are being debated. Although Medicaid expansion has been discussed, the legislature will not support taking this action because it would expand bureaucracy and increase long-term costs. Our focus will be on improving the integrity of the current Medicaid system by making it more efficient and cost-effective.

State Budget Discussions

The NC House is currently working on the details of the state budget. There will be a great deal of discussion between the House and Senate before a final budget is reached. Governor Pat McCrory has released his proposed budget, and we are taking his recommendations into consideration. Our goal is to write a budget that is fiscally responsible and funds the core services of government.

Supporting Our Firefighters

This session it is my honor to be primary sponsor of a bill that provides health care protections for firefighters who are at a higher risk of developing certain deadly diseases. These brave individuals serve to protect the public from danger, and it it our duty to help protect them from illnesses that they are likely to develop in the line of duty.

Education in the NC House

Almost every day we have children visiting the General Assembly from different parts of the State. It is always a pleasure to meet with school students and explain to them how the political process works. We have an obligation to teach children learn the importance of civic duty and public involvement.

Regulatory Reform / Good Government

When I ran for office, I cited regulatory reform and good government as top priorities. These are issues that I have focused on this session. Below is a list of a few bills that I have filed as a primary or lead sponsor, along with a brief description of what each bill does.

HB 126 - Mortgage Origination Support Registration

This bill creates a basic oversight system for third party mortgage underwriters/processors and prevents these individuals from having to comply with burdensome regulations.

HB 289 - NC Money Transmitters Act

This bill streamlines state laws related to electronic money transfer systems, which haven't been updated since 2001.

HB 428 - Permanent Plates/Charter Schools

This bill allows public charter school vehicles to obtain permanent license plates, which will reduce costs on charter schools.

HB 474 - Healthy Out-of-School Recognition Program

This bill creates an optional extracurricular health-and-wellness program for children. It would not have a fiscal impact on the state budget.

HB 564 - Exempt Motorcoach Manufacturer and Distributor

This bill would eliminate unnecessary sales restrictions on motorcoach producers, which will make it easier for these companies to operate and do business.

HB 607 - Allow Protected Security Freezes

This bill would extend security freeze protections to children under 18 years of age, which will help to prevent identify theft for minors.

HB 651 - Appraisal Record Keeping and Background Checks

This bill reduces excessive compliance requirements for real estate appraisers, which will help the industry operate more efficiently.

HB 711 - Prohibit Nonfunctional/Counterfeit Air Bags

This bill would make it illegal to sell nonfunctional, counterfeit air bags, which has become a serious public safety issue in North Carolina.

HB 829 - Automatic License Plate Readers

This bill would set forth laws to protect public privacy and prevent abuse of information related to the usage of LPRs.

HB 849 - Create Debtor Exemptions for Firearms

This bill would prevent debtors from confiscating firearms if the debt owed is less than $5,000, which will help to protect personal property related to the Second Amendment.

Cosponsored Bills

In addition to the bills that I have filed as a lead or primary sponsor, I have cosponsored bills that protect property rights; support military veterans; require zero-based budgeting; promote choice in energy consumption; support the Second Amendment, etc.

Keep Track of Legislative Activity

During session I provide regular updates on the work that I am doing through Facebook and Twitter. You can follow my activity at the links below:

Of course, my door is always open should you wish to contact me directly with questions, comments, or feedback related to public policy.

Quote to Remember

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
- Benjamin Franklin

Monday, March 23, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Files Bill to Streamline Money Transmitter Laws

March 23, 2015

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - Earlier this week Rep. Jon Hardister filed HB 289 - NC Money Transmitter Act - along with Rep. Steve Ross (R - Alamance) and Rep. Charles Jeter (R - Mecklenburg).

The bill would streamline state laws applied to money transmitter services, which haven't been updated since 2001. Since then, the money transmitter industry has evolved to include more online and virtual services. The result of this evolution has made it necessary to update and streamline laws related to the money transmitter industry.

"This bill would streamline state laws pertaining to the money transmitter industry," Hardister said. "Updating these laws, which hasn't been done since 2001, will provide money transmitter businesses with clear guidelines, making it easier for them to operate. It will also reduce regulatory burdens while providing basic rules to protect consumers."

The bill would convert annual licensing requirement for money transmitter businesses into a perpetual license, which would eliminate an unnecessary regulation. It would also establish that annual assessments must be covered by the money transmitter industries, and not by banks, which would provide the industry with predictable cost for budgeting.

"It is important that we update our laws for modern times and ensure that our regulatory burden is limited," Hardister said. "This bill will help to accomplish this goal."



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Files Bill to Extend Legislative Terms to Four Years

March 12, 2015

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - Earlier this week Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) filed HB 180 - Legislative 4-Year Terms - along with Rep. Harry Warren (R-Rowan), Rep. Chris Malone (R-Wake), and Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland).

The bill would offer an amendment to the NC Constitution that would extend legislative terms to four years and institute term limits for leadership positions. The Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate could not serve in those positions for more than two consecutive regular sessions of the General Assembly. If the bill passes, it would be submitted to voters for approval as a constitutional amendment on the general election ballot in November 2016.

"Extending legislative terms to four years would allow legislators more time to focus on their service to the public," Hardister said. "As of now, members of the legislature spend nearly half of their time running for office. This requires us to spend a considerable amount of time raising campaign funds, which makes it difficult to focus on governing."

As for terms limits for leadership positions, Hardister said that it makes sense to limit power where it is most concentrated. "Most of the power in the legislature is vested in the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Therefore, it makes sense to place limits on how long an individual can serve in those positions."

Hardister also indicated that he is open to ideas on how to amend the bill as it moves through the legislative process.

"This is simply an idea on how to make our government better," Hardister said. "I am open to ideas on how to improve this legislation. I look forward to discussing it with constituents and also with fellow legislators."

Rep. Jon Hardister


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Releases Statement on Governor McCrory's Proposed Budget

March 10, 2015

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - Today Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) released the following statement regarding Governor Pat McCrory's budget proposal:

"I'm still looking over the details, but overall, I think the governor's budget looks good. It doesn't raise taxes, it keeps spending growth below inflation and population, and it provides an increase in base pay for teachers. Having said that, I still need to study the details and determine if we are able to make any improvements. Our focus should be on passing a budget that is fiscally responsible and funds the core services of government. We also need to be sure that we keep our debt low and maintain our Triple A bond rating. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to pass a budget that accomplishes these goals."

Rep. Jon Hardister


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Files Bill to Reinstate Historic Preservation Tax Credits

March 7, 2015

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - Earlier this week Rep. Jon Hardister filed HB 152 - New Historic Preservation Tax Credit - along with Rep. Steve Ross (R-Alamance), David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland).

The bill would reinstate portions of North Carolina's historic preservation tax credits, which expired last year. It would allow a 15 percent credit for qualifying projects under $10 million, and a 10 percent credit for projects between $10 million and $20 million. There would be an additional 5 percent credit for projects in counties that are categorized as poor.

"The purpose of this bill is to generate economic investment and create jobs while preserving our history in North Carolina," Hardister said. "As a fiscal conservative, I am not a fan of tax credits, but I believe this tax credit plays an important role in our economy. It is appropriate for the government to promote historical preservation, especially when it increases property value and encourages economic investment."

Governor Pat McCrory and Lt. Governor Dan Forest have also expressed support for reinstating the historic preservation tax credits. In his 2015 State of the State address, Governor McCrory said, "We have got to pass the historic preservation tax credits. Now is not the time to pull the plug on a strategy that has created new jobs and new investment, and revived small towns throughout North Carolina."

Hardister pointed out that President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of historical preservation tax credits. "President Reagan was a free market conservative, but he understood the virtue of allowing tax credits for historic preservation projects," Hardister said. "He supported these tax credits during his tenure as president."



Thursday, March 5, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Files Legislation to Streamline Oversight of Independent Mortgage Processors and Underwriters

March 5, 2015

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - Earlier this week Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) filed HB 126 - Mortgage Origination Support Registrants - along with Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland) Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange) and Rep. Steve Ross (R-Alamance).

HB 126 would create a new registration system for mortgage processors and underwriters who work do contract work for lenders and brokers. The bill would ensure that North Carolina is in compliance with federal law, which requires state governments to provide basic oversight of independent mortgage underwriters and processors. Absent of this bill, independent mortgage processors and underwriters would be required to register as a mortgage broker or lender, even though they do not transact loans.

"This bill creates a simple oversight system for independent mortgage processors and underwriters,” Hardister said. “It is important that we provide basic oversight of our mortgage support system while ensuring that our laws are business-friendly. This bill would help to accomplish that goal."

The NC Commissioner of Banks office worked with Rep. Hardister in writing this legislation.

Rep. Jon Hardister


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Press Release: Rep. Jon Hardister Files "Honest Lottery" Act

February 26, 2015

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - This week Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) filed HB 109 - Lottery Act Clarified - along with Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) and Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland). The bill would require state lottery ads to be more clear and promote transparency in lottery operations.

The highlights of the bill are as follows:
  • Requires lottery advertising to list the value of the lowest prize and the odds of winning the largest prize.
  • Prohibits lottery advertising at high school events.
  • Requires state agencies to disclose receipts and usage of lottery proceeds.
  • Requires the state legislature to approve gaming techniques that are not scratch-off or draw-style games.
"The purpose of this bill is to ensure that the lottery is authentic and transparent in how it operates," Hardister said. "If we are going to have a state lottery, then we have a duty to ensure that it is operated responsibly. This bill would help to accomplish that goal."