Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly we held a very short session to override a veto by the Governor, we were planning upcoming committee meetings, and I was able to go back into our schools.
Last week, October 16th and 17th, the N.C. House and Senate were called back into session for the sole purpose of an override vote of the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 656 – Electoral Freedom Act of 2017. Since it was a Senate bill, they acted first, meeting late Monday and voting to override it by a vote of 26 – 15. The House met Tuesday and voted 72 – 40 to override. SB 656 became law over the objections of the Governor. This law makes it easier for third parties and independents to get on a ballot and does away with primary elections for judges.
We adjourned by noon Tuesday, and plan to return January 10th. However, lots of activities continue on a daily basis. We are constantly planning committee meetings for the upcoming weeks.
- The Justus-Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Task Force, Oct. 25th in Raleigh
- House Select Committee on N.C. River Quality, Oct. 26th in Raleigh
- Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform, Nov. 1st in Raleigh
- House Select Committee on Strategic Transportation Planning and Long Term Funding Solutions, Nov. 6th in Wilmington
- Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee, Nov. 9th in Raleigh
I am a member or Co-Chair of each of these committees, and so will be spending a lot of time there for the next three weeks. There are also many small group meetings back in the county, as well as charity and political events going on.
The last two weeks I have been able to visit schools again, much like I did in 2013-2014. Two of the schools in which I was able to spend a full morning were Virginia Williamson Elementary and Union Elementary. I never fail to learn something on these visits. In one school I saw the great progress that first grade students made their first year working with words and sentences when I compared lessons being taught in kindergarten and first grade. In another, I saw the clever and effective use of technology with Smart Boards and Chrome Books in the fourth and fifth grades. Thank you to the teachers and principals for letting me sit and observe them as they teach our most valuable assets, our children.
As the readers of this column know, I usually publish this update only when we are in session in Raleigh. However, there are so many issues being discussed in our committees that are of interest to our area, that I may attempt to update you as we meet. Some of the issues will be on Education, Transportation, River Quality, and Health. This is also a good time to also thank the publishers of our two county newspapers (affectionately known as the “Pilot” and the “Beacon”) for their interest in keeping the citizens informed as to what their government is doing.