Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly we passed the bill known as the “class size fix” for elementary schools, we continued to hold dozens of committee meetings, I was able to attend meetings back here in the district and candidate filing started all over the state.
After filing for office Monday, I left in mid-afternoon for Raleigh, due to an early session Tuesday morning. A very important bill, House Bill 90 was on the calendar. This bill was passed in the Senate the previous Friday by a bipartisan vote of 37 – 5.
House Bill 90 – Changes to Education and Election Laws came to the House floor at 10:00 last Tuesday morning. This bill changes the implementation of class size reductions in Kindergarten – 3rd grade, phasing it in over four years, and provides an additional $245 million for teachers over the four years. It also provides funding to the county schools in the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline by diverting the “slush fund” that had been set up by the Governor and the pipeline builder through a Memo of Understanding. In addition HB 90 provides funds to take care of the backlog in Pre-K education slots, fully funding this program for early childhood education.
The last provision in the bill provides a ninth member to the State Board of Election, an unaffiliated or third party member appointed by the Governor. This gives him five of the nine members, and we believe meets the standard approved by the court in its recent decision. HB 90 passed the House Tuesday on a bipartisan vote of 104 – 12, and was presented to the Governor the same day. It is expected that he will let it become law without his signature, rather than sign or veto it.
Many committee meetings were taking place last week both in the House and Senate. I attended the Environmental Review Commission where the members heard about and discussed what is being done about electronic waste to keep it out of our landfills. There are components and elements that can be recycled and others that are toxic and must be disposed of in an environmentally clean manner.
Back in the district Thursday morning, I was able to attend the meeting of the Southwest Brunswick Mayors in Shallotte, where they share ideas and common interests on a monthly basis.
Thursday afternoon I was double-booked at the Brunswick Community College Board of Trustees retreat and the Brunswick County Schools – Teacher Advisory Committee (TAC). I was able to slip away from BCC at 5:00 and speak to the TAC about House Bill 90, the class size bill we had just passed. The TAC is a committee composed of the Teachers of the Year from our 19 BCS schools and chaired by the Brunswick Teacher of the Year, Carolynn Phillips.
As mentioned, candidate filing for office began last Monday at noon and ends Wednesday, February 28th at noon. As of the first week, at least 15 candidates had filed for the various elected county and state offices.
I expect to be back in Raleigh for at least two committee meetings this week.