Legislative Update from Rep. Frank Iler – October 14, 2019
While meetings were going on several days last week in the North Carolina General Assembly, most of the action on the House floor was on Wednesday. We passed parts of the 2019 – 2021 budget, also known as “mini-budgets”. This has been necessary since the Governor vetoed the state budget bill back in June.
Since House Bill 966 – 2019 Appropriations Act was vetoed, the various departments have not had a new budget for 2019 – 2020 or 2020 – 2021. We are four months into the fiscal year, which started July 1st, and the departments are operating on the old budget from 2018 – 2019.
On Wednesday, we passed House Bill 100 – DOT Budget for 2019 -2021 Biennium. This bill includes virtually all the provisions and appropriations that were contained in the transportation budget which we passed in June. This will give the Department of Transportation more certainty of what they should be spending rather than operating with a budget based on 2018 – 2019. It passed 107 – 3 in the House. Since the Senate had already passed it 44 – 0, it was sent to the Governor for his signature on Friday.
We also passed a “mini-budget” for community colleges in the House on Wednesday. Senate Bill 61 – Community Colleges Budget/2019-2021 Biennium had been sent over from the Senate as a license plate bill, but it was changed to reflect the budget provisions and appropriations in the Community College budget passed in June and vetoed by the Governor. It appropriates approximately $1.2 billion in each of the fiscal years, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. However, it does not include the capital funds allocation of $400 million for construction and renovation which were in the capital section of the budget. Of this amount, Brunswick Community College would have been eligible for $2.2 million. These funds can still be allocated if the budget veto is overridden. This bill passed 110 – 0, and it goes back to the Senate for their approval.
One other important bill, Senate Bill 579 – Prison Reform Act of 2019, directs a study of management structures within the Department of Public Safety to find ways to improve the adult and juvenile justice systems in the state. It passed 109 – 0 and goes back to the Senate for their approval.
We expect to conclude most of our work in the General Assembly in the next two weeks. As they say, “Stay tuned.”