Legislative roundup for week of July 8-12
Legislative Update for the Week of July 8-12
Republican lawmakers in Raleigh spent last week attempting to find the votes to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of the budget passed at the end of June. So far, there has been no override or compromise, and the state continues to function without a shutdown, operating on last year’s spending levels.
HB111: Supplemental Appropriations Act – The House unanimously passed this stop-gap measure to provide funding for some programs that would go unfunded during the new fiscal year without a budget. The bill includes some funding for increases in average daily membership public schools, the NC Promise Tuition plan, in-state tuition for veterans and their families, suicide prevention, 2018 disaster recovery funds and state debt service, among other items. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration this coming week. Read the text of the bill here.
SB354: Sam’s Law – The House passed this Senate bill, also known as the “Seizure Safe Schools Act of 2019.” The bill allows parents of a child with a diagnosed seizure disorder to request their child’s school develop a seizure action plan for their child. The plan would be kept on file and any teachers or volunteers responsible for supervising the student would have access. Each school would be required to have at least one employee on staff who is trained to administer medication under the action plan. The vote in the House was 111-1 in favor, with all local representatives voting in favor. The bill now goes back to the House to reconcile changes made in Senate subcommittees. Read the text of the bill here.
SB621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019 – The House passed this Senate bill designed to reduce the number and length of tests public school students in NC are required to take. It would eliminate End of Grade tests for grades 3-8, replacing them with the NC Check-ins, which are three shorter tests given throughout the school year. It would also eliminate the high school End of Course tests, replacing them with nationally standardized tests like the ACT. The bill makes other, smaller changes to school testing requirements. Read the text of the bill here. The bill passed the House on a 104-13 vote, with Reps. Chris Humphrey (R-Lenoir) and Pat McElraft (R-Carteret) voting in favor. Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne) was absent for the vote. The bill now goes back to the Senate for approval of changes made in the House.
SB498: Facilitate Response to Disasters – The Senate approved this bill designed to streamline disaster response efforts on a unanimous 46-0 vote. The bill would exempt non-resident businesses and employees who come to NC to help with disaster-related repairs to infrastructure from income taxes, franchise taxes, unemployment taxes and other regulatory requirements. Only businesses and employees who would not otherwise need to file an NC tax return would qualify and the exemptions would only apply to repairs to critical infrastructure in the period immediately following a disaster declaration. Read the text of the bill here. Sens. Don Davis (D-Greene) and Jim Perry (R-Lenoir) both voted in favor. Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) was absent for the vote.
HB362: Fifteen-point Scale for School Performance Grades – The Senate also approved this House bill which codifies the current fifteen-point scale for grading school performance. The fifteen point scale has been in use for several years, with lawmakers repeatedly pushing back implementation of the originally intended ten-point scale. That scale would have gone into effect for the coming school year, altering schools’ grades without their actual score changing. This bill keeps the fifteen-point scale permanently. It passed the Senate on a unanimous 49-0 vote, with all local senators voting in favor. The House then voted to approve changes made in the Senate, and the bill was sent to the governor for his signature. Read the text of the bill here.
Check back with Neuse News for more updates on the legislature later this week.