Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly we had a new group of bills giving Highway Patrol, correctional officers, and other state employees their budgeted raises, reducing testing for our public school students, and combating election fraud.
Last Wednesday was a big day for many of the state employees, who have been wondering about the raises that were budgeted by the General Assembly in June and vetoed by the Governor. Four House bills were approved by the House and the Senate Wednesday and presented to the Governor the same day. House Bills 126, 777, 609, and 226 give the same raises as were in the state budget to the State Highway Patrol, SBI and ALE officers, correctional officers, and a variety of non-certified workers in our schools. The raises for teachers will be considered soon in other bills. Three of these bills passed unanimously 114 – 0 in the House and 46 – 0 in the Senate. House Bill 609 passed 113 – 0 and 43 – 0.
On Monday, Senate Bill 621 – Testing Reduction Act of 2019 was on the House floor for a vote to adopt the changes in the conference report worked out with the Senate. It reduces the end-of grade test requirements and the requirement for a senior project for graduation. It passed 105 – 12. Having passed the Senate, it was sent to the Governor for his signature.
Senate Bill 683 – Combat Absentee Ballot Fraud tightens the requirements as to whom can submit absentee ballot requests by another person and the requirements for submitting the completed ballot itself. Another important provision would require that all early voting sites be open on the last Saturday of early voting rather than only the county election office site. The hours that day would be 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The bill passed the House 112 – 1 and was sent to the Senate for their concurrence.
One additional important bill last week was Senate Bill 553 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2019. It has 17 pages and 28 different sections, too many to list here. I recommend that is there is interest in it, please go to the General Assembly website, www.ncleg.net , where it came be read in detail. It passed the House 71 – 31 and the Senate 30 – 15.
As this is being written, Labor Day is ahead of us on Monday. Labor Day was one of the first federal holidays, being made official in 1894. It now marks the end of summer vacations for many, and a return to school or jobs. The writer hopes you had a good weekend with family and friends.