Last week at the North Carolina General Assembly was a lot like the previous week. We had bills coming through both the N.C. House of Representatives and the Senate that had passed one or both chambers and came to final votes before being sent to the Governor for his signature or veto. At the same time, our House and Senate leadership appeared to have reached agreement on the issues previously in controversy in the state budget for 2021 – 2023.
One bill that is significant to the state education system and its staff/employees was Senate Bill 695 – Various Education Changes. This bill makes changes to the principal licensing rules, allows more teachers to choose to receive their pay in 12 installments if teaching a regular school calendar of 10 or 11 months, and allows some more accounting flexibility in local public school units. It passed the House unanimously 92 – 0 and goes back to the Senate for their concurrence with the House changes.
Speaking of the Governor’s vetoes, here are some of the bills vetoed during the past month: Senate Bill 360 – Prohibit Collusive Settlements by the AG; House Bill 805 – Prevent Rioting and Civil Disorder; House Bill 324 – Ensuring Dignity and Nondiscrimination/ Schools; and Senate Bill 636 – Donor Privacy. This last bill related to privacy of donations to non-profits and charities, not political candidates.
Last week also saw the last three of the public hearings on redistricting take place at UNC Pembroke, UNC Wilmington, and Fayetteville Technical Community College. These public hearings took place during September in all thirteen Congressional districts across North Carolina. The joint committee on redistricting of the House and Senate is charged by the Constitution with drawing new district maps for Congressional districts and state legislative districts, based on the 2020 census. We expect that all the census data and public input will be used this week to begin drawing district maps.
On a “point of personal privilege”, we had a colleague pass away from cancer last week. Representative Dana Bumgardner served in the House from Gaston County over eight years. He was an effective legislator as Chair of the Insurance Committee and a Chair of the Appropriations Committee, which makes top budget decisions. Rep. Bumgardner was a personal and political friend during his tenure and has occupied the seat on the House floor immediately behind me during this term. He was strong in his beliefs and was relatively silent until he felt those beliefs were challenged. With his experience and sense of humor he could make his points very well. He will be seriously missed in the legislative “family”.
This week we expect to begin the redistricting mapping process and may be able to see a final budget for our approval in the House and Senate. More information is available at the General Assembly website at www.ncleg.gov , where you can look up bills, our voting records, etc.