Lawrence Duke Appointed Administrative Law Judge

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

In October, Lawrence Duke, formerly Legal Counsel to the North Carolina Rules Commission, was appointed the newest Administrative Law Judge. Judge Duke was with the Rules Commission for one year and nine months. A graduate of the Campbell School of Law in 2015, Judge Duke clerked at the North Carolina Court of Appeals for almost four years before joining the law firm of McDougal and Worrell. He continued his practice with the McDougal Law Firm concentrating on business, financial, complex legal litigation as well as catastrophic personal injury cases. Judge Duke has also worked in legislative relations and policy analysis.

Please welcome Judge Duke to his new appointment.

Fred Morrison Retires from the Office of Administrative Hearings

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

After over fifty years of service to the State of North Carolina, Fred Morrison retired as the Senior Administrative Law Judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings. Judge Morrison has had a long and distinctive career serving the citizens of North Carolina. He is a graduate of Wake Forest School of Law, where he graduated second in his class. Afterwards, Judge Morrison served as a Solicitor in the courts in Thomasville. Governor Robert Scott selected Morrison to be his Legal Counsel and with this, Fred Morrison started his public service in Raleigh. Judge Morrison is the only individual to serve as Legal Counsel to two Governors from two different parties. When James Holshouser was elected Governor, he sought to have a smooth transition and appreciated the experience Judge Morrison brought to this position. Governor Holshouser appointed Judge Morrison, and when Holshouser left office, Morrison had several opportunities in North Carolina State Government. He chose to be Executive Director of the Inmate Grievance Commission.

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North Carolina Real Estate Commission Welcomes New Members

Kristen, a white woman with brown hair, wears a beige blouse and a black jacket. By Kristen Fetter

The General Assembly recently appointed Robert J. “Bob” Ramseur Jr. and William “Bill” Aceto to the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. Mr. Ramseur and Mr. Aceto were sworn in as new members at the September 13, 2023, business meeting.

Mr. Ramseur is an attorney and a partner at Ragsdale Liggett PLLC in Raleigh, where he focuses his practice on all aspects of residential and commercial real estate. Mr. Ramseur is a graduate of Wake Forest University, where he received both his bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctorate. He is also a member of the NCBA. Mr. Ramseur was previously appointed to the Real Estate Commission in 2015 by Governor Pat McCrory and served as a past Commission Chair. His term with the Real Estate Commission ends June 30, 2026.

Mr. Aceto is a partner at Blue Ridge Realty & Investments in Boone. He has been a licensed real estate broker in North Carolina since 2007. Mr. Aceto graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minors in business and criminal justice.  Mr. Aceto is also a public member on the North Carolina Building Commission. His term with the Real Estate Commission ends July 31, 2026.

The 2023 Legislative Review CLE Program: Stay Informed and Excel in Your Practice!

Amy, a white woman with blond hair, wears a red and black flowered blouse and a black jacket.By Amy Fitzhugh

Join us on Thursday, November 9, 2023, for an informative and comprehensive event at the Bar Center in Cary. This program, planned by the NCBA Administrative Law Section, offers a deep dive into legislative updates and key legal topics that are essential for administrative and governmental lawyers. Offering 6.00 MCLE hours, including 1.00 Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit hour and 1.00 Technology Training credit hour, this program is an invaluable opportunity to enhance your legal knowledge.

What to Expect:

Legislative Update (9:00-10:00 a.m.): Get insights from leading lawyers as they review legislation from the 2023 Long Session, discussing its impact on administrative and governmental law. Gain a forecast of what to expect in the 2024 Session.

Ethics-AI and Hot Topics (10:10-11:10 a.m.): Discover the latest CLE requirements and important ethics decisions and requirements, including AI. Stay updated on essential information for navigating the current practice of law.

Employment Issues (11:20-12:20 p.m.): This session covers crucial employment-related topics that are relevant to administrative and governmental lawyers.

Rules Review Update (1:20-2:20 p.m.): Learn about recent changes in rules, especially those related to rulemaking, and how they impact your practice.

Local Government Lawyering (2:30-3:30 p.m.): Ideal for both new and seasoned attorneys, this session covers various topics relevant to local government law practice.

IT Presentation (3:40-4:40 p.m.): In today’s world, lawyers must understand and manage IT programs. This session equips you with the knowledge to meet IT challenges effectively.

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Perseverance in Challenging Times

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

In “Leadership In Turbulent Times,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin examines four American presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Lincoln faced a severely divided nation struggling with the wretched stain of slavery. The Civil War was killing Americans in unimaginable numbers. Lincoln had lost two of his sons to illness and war. President Lincoln and his wife, Mary, experienced depression in the face of perhaps the most challenging time in United States history.

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Employment and Regulation Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

Is there a right to employment? Does Administrative Law prohibit an individual’s right to employment or only limit it in some circumstances?

The United States Constitution states in the preamble:

We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and or Prosperity, do ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States.

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House Committee on Regulatory Reform

Fred, a man with dark brown hair, wears a pale blue shirt, grey plaid tie, and dark grey blazer.By Fred Moreno 

Now that the 2023 legislative session is underway, numerous House and Senate committees are meeting to discuss current legislation along with studies and issues of concern by members of the public, state agencies, and trade groups. One such committee, the House Committee on Regulatory Reform (“HCRR”), is of particular interest to this section. The HCRR met on Wednesday, March 15, and invited the John Locke Foundation along with the Rules Review Commission to give presentations to its committee members.

Jon Sanders, on behalf of the John Locke Foundation, gave a presentation entitled “Occupational Licensing.” Sanders started his presentation off by noting that the North Carolina Constitution states that “enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor” is among a North Carolina citizen’s inalienable rights. He went on to say that occupational licensing is an “entry barrier to someone seeking work in a desired field” and that licensing is North Carolina’s most restrictive occupational regulation, which should be used only when risk to the public welfare is highest. Sanders noted that the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s database shows 931 licenses, which include privilege licenses and special events permitting. He went on to discuss the benefits of licensure (i.e., to protect health, safety and welfare) along with the costs (i.e, fees and background checks). Sanders explained that these regulations result in higher prices for licensed work, fewer options, and poor or dangerous alternatives. He went on to state that these regulations also result in limited growth in licensed occupations, less competition, fewer economic opportunities and less wealth creation. Sanders did not cite any resources or data for these conclusions. Sanders suggested to reserve occupational licensing only for a significant public harm and to instead explore certification, registration, bonding/insurance, inspections, and stronger laws for consumer protections to combat other public harm. Finally, Sanders suggested that the legislative members consider other reforms such as Universal License Recognition, which has been passed in 19 states, along with an Occupational Licensing Consumer Choice Act. The latter would allow unlicensed persons to provide a non-license disclosure form to consumers, which would show their lack of licensure, but would list their other training, experience, or certifications. Sanders stated that consumers would be able to sue the “bad actors” for redress in court and could leave bad reviews for them, which would warn other consumers. He also welcomed people in that industry to call out the bad actors in their profession through advertising.

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Ann B. Wall: Recipient of the 2023 Administrative Law Award of Excellence

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

Ann Wall is the 2023 recipient of the Award of Excellence. Ann was admitted to practice law in 1978. She has devoted her career to government service and Administrative Law.  Ann became the General Counsel for the Department of Labor and rendered outstanding service to the people of North Carolina in assuring that labor conditions and workplace conditions were safe.  More recently, she has been General Counsel to the North Carolina Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall. As Secretary of State Marshall has broken the glass ceiling on the Council of State, Ann has been her trusted counsel. Together, they have modernized the Office of Secretary of State, and it is a leader in the United States. Ann works tirelessly to research thoroughly and vet all issues. She works to bring all parties to the table with the common goal of doing what is best for North Carolina. Her efforts to assist the secretary in executing the legislative directive concerning notary publics is the most recent example of Ann’s outstanding work.

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A Balanced Life

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

Our world seems in great turmoil. The United States appears to be challenged by nations with very different political and social objectives. Various outlets blast us with repetitive information about these concerns, and we are left to try to determine what really happened. We are potentially available to others and other groups via cell phones and computers 24/7. The nature of our profession is many times adversarial and too often becomes combative. The desire to be successful, have lots of clients and to win can easily blind our sensibility. Obligations to our families and friends can become a weight on our lives.

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Access to Our Courts

Bain, a white man with white hair, wears a white shirt and black suit.By W. Bain Jones Jr.

This past year, the North Carolina Bar Association focused on access to our courts. The North Carolina State Bar also is evaluating this important subject. As our state becomes more populated and more diverse, it is good to look at how effectively our court system which includes Administrative Process is meeting this goal.

The United States Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment states:

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