Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly we had a one day session with committee meetings and votes on the class size bill, we had movement in the Senate on the GenX/Emerging contaminants bill, and I was also able to attend some meetings in the district.
Monday of last week we were informed that we would be in Raleigh Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday for voting sessions. This changed several times, but I still went to Raleigh Wednesday afternoon, although no votes were actually held that night.
On Thursday we held a Joint Appropriations Committee meeting to review House Bill 90 – NC Truth in Education. It had been revised so that it became the bill to fix the class size issue and address the Atlantic Coast Pipeline “slush fund” issue. It will delay the implementation of Kindergarten – 3rd grade class size reduction beyond the 2018-2019 school year and phase it in over four years. It also appropriates an additional $240 million over the four years to make sure it is implemented without undue financial burden on local teachers and administrations.
The bill also addresses the $68 million fund set up by a Memo of Understanding between the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the state. Rather than a “slush fund” for the Governor to administer, the money will go into a fund for the counties affected by the pipeline to be used for their schools. This is similar to the fines and forfeitures funds that go to the schools.
The Senate adopted the bill on Friday by a vote of 37-5. According to House rules, it was determined that it was a “three day” bill and we will vote on it Tuesday.
On Friday the Senate also adopted a version of House Bill 189, the GenX bill. It will be on the House floor this Tuesday.
Prior to leaving Wednesday, I had two events here in the district. Monday at noon the Brunswick Community College Board of Trustees hosted a lunch meeting for the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners. We had a good presentation and discussion of current issues and future plans. As a member of the Board of Trustees, I believe our relationships with the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education should be strong, for the benefit of the students, parents, and educators in the county.
The second event was a ribbon cutting Wednesday at the new District Office in Shallotte which I have established for the Southwest side of the district. As I live on the Southeast side in Oak Island, this gives the citizens in the district two points of contact instead of one, closer to where they live. They can schedule an appointment with me, check their voter registration, register to vote, and pick up literature at the office at 4745 Main Street in Shallotte. The ribbon cutting was well attended by citizens, elected officials, and business leaders from the area. This included 6 of our mayors, 5 from the Southwest area and one from Leland. Food from Art Catering was enjoyed by many in the crowd of 50 or 60 citizens. I immediately had to leave for Raleigh Wednesday afternoon.
This week, filing for office starts at noon Monday. I expect to be in Raleigh Tuesday for the final vote on House Bill 90 and consideration of the Senate version of House Bill 189.