Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly was short, but as intense as the heat outside in Raleigh. There was controversy over public schools, over sports betting, and over appointments to various boards and commissions. We also continued debating in committees about healthcare, school safety, and insurance for public schools. The Governor’s veto of the state budget has yet to be overridden, but remains on the calendar.
Many Senate bills were on the House calendar last week for approval. Senate Bill 438 – Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019 seeks to improve the Read to Achieve program so all children can read at grade level by third grade. It was well debated and passed the House by a slim margin of 58 – 51.
Senate Bill 154 – Allow Sports/Horse Race Wagering Tribal Lands approves betting on sports events and horse racing on Cherokee tribal lands. This is in line with federal law, but my concern was the possible spreading to other parts of the state in future legislation. With my No vote it still passed the House by 90 – 27, and was sent to the Governor for his signature.
Senate Bill 686 – Appointments Bill 2019 contains the appointments of the House Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tem to dozens of boards and commissions across the state. It received wide support from both political parties and was approved 79 – 37, after some debate, and became law. The main appointment from Brunswick County is Tom Adams’ reappointment to the N.C. Ports Authority. He resides in Ocean Isle Beach and is former Chairman of the N.C. Ports Authority. Also, I was reappointed to the Justus – Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Task Force for a second two – year term.
In addition, I would like to publicly thank the Brunswick County Board of Education for reappointing me to the Brunswick Community College Board of Trustees. It is fulfilling work with dedicated trustees and staff members at BCC, and I have been there for longer than I have served in the N.C. House.
Many committees were meeting last week, including Finance, Insurance, Health, and Education K-12 committees. Some of the bills we were considering included House Bill 922 – Enhance Insurance Coverage/Education Buildings, Senate Bill 315 – N.C. Farm Act of 2019, and Senate Bill 5 – School Safety Omnibus.
We will continue meeting until the budget is approved, and we are not yet sure when that will be accomplished, since the Governor’s veto occurred.