2009 LEGISLATIVE SESSION MEMO #6

Monday began with snow and that seemed to slow things down a bit. The Governor has set up an American Recovery website, http://www.ncrecovery.gov/ to access current information on the federal stimulus funds available to North Carolina. Concerns were raised last weekend over Governor Perdue’s reallocating Education Lottery funds to fill a budget hole. There were also news reports of Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s contract with the state’s health plan and that they are charging 18 times what the state pays EDS to process Medicaid claims. The contract goes through 2013 and doesn’t appear there are any options for changing the contract.

On Tuesday morning Joint Education Appropriations heard from President Erskine Bowles and Dr. Hope Williams of the Independent Colleges and Universities. President Bowles said his two priorities for the budget included $47 million for enrollment growth and increased funding for “Need Based Aid.” He was questioned for more than 45 minutes on issues of graduation rate program cuts. Dr. Williams provided an update on information regarding the private colleges, including the number of students degrees awarded in various programs, grant support, and the savings to NC for support of the private colleges. She requested additional funding to maintain current grant levels.

The Senate approved the Governor Perdue’s bill to allow her to bring in Dr. Bill Harrison as the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Public Instruction and Chairman of the State Board of education. She signed the bill into law, at a ceremony at the Capital on Wednesday morning, and Dr. Harrison was sworn in at the State Board meeting on Thursday morning.

Governor Perdue will address the House and Senate on Monday, March 9. Her budget release planned for later next week, will be yet another week. Hopefully, it will be finished by March 18. The delay will likely push the timeline out for the Senate to finish their budget.

The pace on the number of bills being filed has increased substantially this week. Several bills of a rather contentious nature have surfaced, everything from home-school and charter school students participating in interscholastic events, charter schools county funding, school calendar flexibility for some counties, and corporate taxes for public school construction redirected.

Bills Introduced:

House

HB 354 Funds for School Health Centers

HB 357 Conform County School Board Vacancy Statute

HJR 363 Invite Governor Beverly E. Perdue to Address a Joint Session of the Senate and House of Representatives-March 9th

HB 364 State Board of Education Confirmations

HB 365 Joint Session for State Board of Education Confirmations

HB 372 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Credit

HB 386 LEA Sales Tax Refund

HB 387 School Nutrition Program Funds

HB 417 Drivers License Changes/Young Drivers

HB 418 Drivers License Changes/Older Drivers

HB 427 Counties May Fund Charter Schools

HB 429 Retirement System Colas

HB 433 Change Corporate Income Tax

HB 437 Modify Requirements for School Admission

HB 438 State Health/Calendar Year

HB 439 State Health Plan Taxpayer Recovery Act

HB 440 The Nicholas Adkins School Bus Safety Act

HB 441 No Sunset Teacher Personal Leave Provision

HB 442 Parental Involvement on School Discipline

HB 443 Increase Class Size in the Public Schools

HB 444 Pay Teachers for Second Master’s Degree

HB 470 Calculation of the Dropout Rate

HB 482 Reinstatement of Sick Leave/School Employees

HB 483 School Calendar Flexibility Some LEAs

HB 499 School Calendar Flexibility/2 LEAs

HB 509 Funds for Academically Gifted Children

Senate

SB 337 NC Illegal Immigration Reform Act

SB 355 State Health Plan/Local Government Retiree Contributions

SB 358 Teacher Assistants in Special Education Classes/Personal Leave

SB 362 Retired Teachers Return to Work

SB 363 Positive Behavior Support Position Funds

SB 375 Insurance/Cover Hearing Aids

SB 378 Counties May Fund Charter

SB 379 Remove Cap on the Number of Charter Schools

SB 386 Make Best Use of Corporate Tax Revenue

SB 396 Assignment of Twins to Charter Schools

SB 397 Increase Cap on Charter Schools

SB 406 Classroom Experience for School Personnel

SB 424 Reorganize Schools with High Dropout Rate

SB 427 Restore Contract Rights to State/Local

SB 451 Strengthen Driver Education

SB 455 School Calendar/Some LEAs

SB 462 Restore Public Schools’ Sales Tax Refund

House Committees:

Joint Appropriations Education/Higher Education

UNC of NC /Private Colleges Brief Update Included in Summary Notes Above.

Pre-K Programs –Cancelled

Financial Aid Escheats Fund-Cancelled

Education:

HB 42 Science Safety in Public Schools PULLED for changes

HB 65 Students Under 16 May Attend Community College Favorable Report to Proposed Committee Substitute. Lengthy Debate. Re-referred to Appropriations.

HB 187 Encourage Policies to Facilitate Graduation Favorable Report to Committee Substitute. Re-referred to Judiciary II. Members had many concerns about policy development.

Education Subcommittee on Community Colleges

HB 199 Salary Funds/Community College Staff and Faculty Favorable Report and referred Appropriations

HB 228 Community College Sales Tax Refund Assigned to Subcommittee on Community Colleges, Favorable Report and referred to Appropriations.

Education Subcommittee on Universities

HB 83 Modify Out of State Tuition Exemption No Vote was taken. Lots of discussion from members on both sides on this issue. State will need $13+ million in 2009-2010 to fund the original legislation giving out-of state students in-state tuition for academic and athletic scholarships

HB 256 UNC/Calculation of In-State Students No Vote, this bill changes the rules on how students from out-of-state under scholarship are counted as in-state for purposes of the 18% cap on out-of-state students.

Local Government II:

HB 193 Electronic Notice of Public Hearing Favorable Report. Re-referred to Judiciary I.

Health:

HB 2 Prohibit Smoking in Public & Work Places Favorable Report to Committee Substitute. Re-referred to Judiciary I.

HB 21 Eugenics Program-Support and Education Favorable Report and referred to Education

Judiciary I:

HB 81 Notice of Special/Emergency Meetings Favorable Report

Judiciary II:

HB 43 School Board Members/Failure to Discharge Duty Favorable Report

Pensions and Retirement:

HB 94 Clarify Definition of Retirement Favorable Report to Committee Substitute

Senate Committees:

Finance: An Evaluation of NC’s Economic Development Incentive Programs, Brent Lane, Executive Director, UNC Center for Competitive Economies

State and Local Government:

SB 248 Conform County School Board Vacancy Statute Favorable Report

Note: House bills are usually assigned to two committees for review. You can view the committee assignments by linking to the bill.

House Floor:

HB 43 School Board Members/Failure to Discharge Duty Passed second and third reading and sent to the Senate.

HB 79 Extend School Formula Study Committee Passed second and third reading and sent to the Senate.

Senate Floor:

SB 198 State Board of Education/Membership Restrictions House Committee Substitute Concurred with House and sent to the Governor. Signed into law Wednesday March 4,

SB 248 Conform County School Board Vacancy Statute Passed second and third readings and sent to the House.

HB 363 Invite Governor Perdue to Address a Joint Session of the Senate and House of Representatives. Ratified.

Bills in Committee Next Week:

SB 287 State Health Plan $/Good Health Initiatives

HB 88 Healthy Youth Act

HB 185 Communities in Schools Funds

HB 188 Study Raising Compulsory Attendance Age

HB 357 Conform County School Board Vacancy Statute

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