Monday was a holiday for the Legislature, but they returned on Tuesday to begin again on the budget. House Education Appropriations met Tuesday morning to release an updated budget spreadsheet for Education. There were some major and minor changes. After their meeting with the Full Appropriations Chairs they had to cut another $100 million from public schools to replace the $100 million from the five day reduction they were not allowed to take in the budget. They cut another $50 million from At-Risk with a new total of $70 million. They cut another $10 million from transportation increasing that to $29 million and another $10 million from Textbooks ($50 million). There were some other miscellaneous cuts totaling $100 million. Meanwhile, House and Senate committees continued their meetings to pass bills. The House Education Committee met and passed several bills, but got bogged down in debate over SB 526 School Violence Prevention Act (requires enumerated categories in policy on bullying prevention). They returned to pass the bill on Thursday in House Education and sent it to Judiciary I, after it received a Favorable Report voice vote, and after a very boisterous and contentious debate by the Republicans. The Education Committee members who opposed the bill were not happy.
On Wednesday morning the House Appropriations Chairs had breakfast with the Governor who is continuing to work on a rewrite of her budget. She presented her first budget in March, but it did not have enough cuts and the State revenues continue to decline. Senator Basnight and Speaker Hackney had a meeting with the Governor Wednesday afternoon before Session. The talk around the building continues to be we need some new revenue, but the House is not willing to consider it. Even if the House were to accept the $500 million in increased taxes the Senate proposed, the word from Rep. Michaux is that those funds would need to go into the Rainy Day Fund and there still wouldn’t be enough money to offset the deep cuts to Education and Health. The Education Appropriations Subcommittee had agreed to meet and review budget special provisions, but cancelled until Thursday. House Appropriations Subcommittees continued working and presenting to the Big Chairs throughout the week. Education is bad and DHHS (Dept. of Health and Human Services) is worse. Education was cut $1.3 billion and so was DHHS. As part of their budget they cut school nurses $1 million and Medicaid, which were among a few of the 12 pages of cuts. The Health budget has so many small moving parts it takes cuts from many small allotments just to begin to make a difference. Also on Wednesday, the Senate Mental Health and Youth Reform Committee began discussing HB 88 Healthy Youth Act (sex education). Everyone anticipated, including the bill sponsor that the bill would be voted out of Committee, but Senator Rand advised the Chairs to have discussion only. The bill has not been rescheduled for next week yet.
The Education Committee met on Thursday to review the budget special provisions and most of the members seemed exasperated with what was being proposed. Not so much with the provisions, but the entire funding portion of the education budget. The House Appropriations chairs and subcommittee worked most of the Thursday into the evening to try and get a handle on less revenue and more cuts. It’s hard to say where this is going to end.
The House is still trying to keep to their schedule to finish their version of the budget by June 18th.
HJR 364 SBOE Confirmations Favorable Report to Proposed Committee Substitute and re-referred to Rules.
SB 526 School Violence Prevention Act Favorable Report and re-referred Judiciary I.
SB 689 Modify DPI/SBE Reporting Requirements Favorable Report and re-referred to Appropriations.
SB 708 Amend the Compulsory School Attendance Law Favorable Report and re-referred to Appropriations.
Energy and Energy Efficiency:
SB 457 Add Definition of Biodiesel Favorable Report and re-referred to Finance.
SB 754 Changes for Bonds Authorization Under ARRTA Favorable Report and re-referred to Appropriations.
SB 871 Pre-Stimulus Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for Medicaid Hold Harmless Favorable Report and re-referred to Appropriations.
HB 589 Insurance/Cover Hearing Aids Favorable Report to Proposed Committee Substitute and re-referred to Insurance.
SB 957 Special Enrollment Period/Group Health Insurance Favorable Report and re-referred to Insurance.
SB 1030 After-School Child Care Programs Favorable Report to Proposed Committee Substitute and re-referred to Education.
SB 738 Diabetes Control Plan in Charter Schools Pulled
HB 42 Science Safety in the Public Schools Favorable Report and sent to the Senate Floor.
HB 96 Local Government Surplus Property Donations Favorable Report to PCS and sent to the Senate Floor.
HB 218 Parent & Student Education Involvement Act Favorable Report and sent to the Senate Floor.
HB 223 No High School Graduation Project Required Favorable Report and sent to the Senate Floor.
HJR 365 Joint Session for SBOE Confirmations Favorable Report and sent to the Senate Floor.
HB 1504 Transfer NCCAT to SBE Favorable Report and sent to the Senate Floor.
SB 375 Insurance/Cover Hearing Aids Favorable Report
HB 43 School Board Members/Failure to Discharge Duty Favorable Report and re-referred to Appropriations.
HB 1327 Schools Notified of Criminal Intelligence Information Favorable Report.
HB 440 the Nicolas Adkins School Bus Safety Act Favorable Report to PCS and re-referred to Appropriations.
Mental Health & Youth Services:
HB 88 Healthy Youth Act No Vote, Discussion only
Pensions, Retirement and Aging:
HB 642 Retirement Technical Corrections Favorable Report and sent to the Senate Floor.
HB 1221 Develop State Employee Benefits Statement Favorable Report and sent to the Senate Floor.
State and Local Government:
SB 427 Restore Contract Rights to State & Local Not Heard
HB 316 Assignment of Multiples to Charter Schools Rescheduled for June 4.
HB 42 Science Safety in the Public Schools Passed second and third reading and sent to the Governor.
HB 96 Local Government Surplus Property Donations Passed second and third reading and sent to the House for concurrence.
HB 218 Parent and Student Educational Involvement Act Passed second and third reading and sent to the Governor.
HB 223 No High School Graduation Project Required Passed second and third reading and sent to the Governor.
HJR 365 Joint Session for State Board of Education Confirmations Passed second and third reading and Ratified.
HB 642 Retirement Technical Corrections Passed second and third reading and sent to the Governor.
HB 1221 Develop Employee Benefits Statement Passed second and third reading and sent to the Governor.
HB 1504 Transfer NCCAT to SBE Senate decided Re-refer this bill to Appropriations.
Bills in Committee Next Week:
SB 386 Make Best use of Corporate Tax Revenue
SB 498 Affordable Housing for Teachers/Edgecombe Co.
SB 583 Tuition Reciprocity/Community Colleges
SB 509 Revenue Laws, Technical, Clarifying, & Administrative Changes
SB 204 Retired Nurse Return to Work
SB 468 Authorize Insurance for Former Employees
SB 863 Purchase Service/Certain Employment
SB 738 Diabetes Control Plan in Charter Schools
SB 712 State Surplus Property/New Recipient
HB 659 Study Existing Children/Youth Programs