State legislator lists session highlights
Published 8:47 am Thursday, July 26, 2018
By Julia C. Howard
NC House of Representatives
The adjournment resolution (HB 1101) was passed on Thursday, June 28, adjourning the General Assembly until Nov. 27 at noon. The final week of voting was like a whirlwind as many bills were passed.
• $23.9 billion in net appropriations, approximately $885.6 million and or 3.85% above the amount enacted for FY 2017-18;
• $700 million in additional education funding;
• 99% of North Carolina families will pay less in state taxes in 2019 or pay no state income taxes at all;
• standard deduction increased by $1,000 for married filing jointly the 2017 level and for those filing single, it is increased by $1,500;
• new state income tax rate, 5.25%, the budget cuts taxes on the overwhelming majority of North Carolina families;
• sets a new baseline salary for all permanent state employees, $31,200, a living wage, equates to $15 per hour;
• state employees and state-funded local employees a salary increase of 2%;
• state retirees get a 1% one-time cost-of-living supplement ($30M);
• security and safety improvements in NC Prisons of $15 million;
• pay raise for all corrections officers of 4%;
• state troopers can reach the top pay in 6 years of $64,202, after significant pay raises, new starting state trooper pay $44,000, the new salary should help with retention and recruitment;
• investment in broadband access for rural communities, $10 million;
• $60 million new funds for disaster relief, bringing the state’s total spending to more than $360 million since Hurricane Matthew;
• $2 billion new total balance of the state’s record Rainy Day reserve fund, to assist if and when we endure weather-related natural disasters or tough economic times.
• average state-funded salary increase for teachers and instructional support personnel is 6.5%. The estimated average teacher pay is $53,700;
• average raise for principals, $3,150, minimum principal salary increases from $61,751 to $66,010;
• state-funded salary base for assistant principals will grow by approximately 6.5% or $3,950;
• doubles the number of LEAs that can participate in the Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement Program to help TAs receive training to become teachers that provides tuition reimbursement of up to $4,500;
• lottery funding of $241 million to build or upgrade school facilities;
• $50 million to pay college credit exam fees for families by 2019;
• extends the Virtual Charter Schools pilot for four additional years, will help homeschool families;
• increases $3 million for the special education scholarship grant program;
• school safety budget, $35 million;
• $5 million for a SPK UP “like” app that allows reporting of threats and abuse in a confidential setting, providing full-time support from a team to actively investigate threats;
• $12 million for the school resource officer grant program. For every $2 from the state, there needs to be $1 local match;
• $15 million to provide mental health-related grants for schools to hire school mental health personnel, and training & services for students and parents;
• $3 million school safety equipment grants;
HB 986 Various Changes to Education Laws
• The State of Education and the Department of Public Instructions to report annually on the implementation of the statutory requirements regarding cursive writing and multiplication tables.
• Students who score a level five on end-of-year math tests to be placed in advanced math classes the following year.
• The State Superintendent of Public Instruction to study and make recommendations on ways to reduce testing not otherwise required by state or federal law.
• Department of Instruction to develop a health training program and requirements for suicide risk referrals.
• Fully funds community college enrollment growth by providing $2.7 million.
• Increases funding for continuing education and workforce development leading to industry credentials by $14.7 million.
University of North Carolina System
• Provides $11 million additional funds for implementation of NC Promise, gives students a tuition break at three universities with tuition rates set at $1,000 per year for in-state students and $5,000 per year for out of state students starting this fall: Elizabeth City State University, UNC Pembroke and Western Carolina University.
Health and Human Services
•Increases the Child Care Subsidy Market Rate for Tier 1 & 2 Counties ($3.7M) and Tier 3 ($9.8M), the funding will help keep daycares open in rural areas.
•Reduces the Child Care S ubsidy Waitlist, provides $19.6 million to serve an estimated 3,700 additional children.
• Provides $8.6 million in additional federal funds for the Low income Energy Assistance Program.
• HB 998, Improving NC Rural Health improves access to dental care for residents of rural areas and directs the DHHS to study incentives for medical education in rural areas and assist rural hospitals in becoming designated as teaching hospitals.
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
• $14.7 million for the Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.
• $1 million to the One NC Small Business Fund, and $2.5 million to the Carolina Small Business Development Fund.
HB 711, NC Farm Act of 2018 (Overrode Gov’s veto)
This bill would allow individuals to buy a partial share of an animal for the purpose of acquiring raw milk, also known as cow sharing.
Changes to the nuisance laws, a nuisance lawsuit can’t be filed unless it’s done within a year of the establishment of the agriculture or forestry operation, a nuisance is located within one half mile of the source of the activity or structure alleged to be a nuisance. This bill will help preserve our farming industry.
Justice and Public Safety
Funding for the Governor’s Crime Commission for body-worn camera grants in rural parts of the state.
Creates the Criminal Justice Fellows Program to provide forgivable loans to increase the number of criminal justice professionals.
HB 969, Enhance Prison Security
• Will expand the prisoner conduct classified as malicious; prohibit the possession of a tool for escape by a prisoner; and authorize the Information Sharing Analysis Center to analyze certain threats to public safety, and notify local law enforcement.
• SB 758, Build NC Bond Act of 2018 – would authorize the issuance of Build NC Bonds, a type of special indebtedness in which the proceeds shall be used only for Division Need Projects and Regional Impact Projects in accordance with the Strategic Transportation Investments, Build NC Bonds shall not exceed $3 billion. The funds should speed up the completion of vital projects, many in rural North Carolina.
Constitutional amendments up for a
vote by the people in November
• SB 677, Protect Right to Hunt and Fish. Includes language in the state’s constitution to provide that the people of the state have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, subject to certain limitations.
• HB 551, Strengthening Victims’ Rights. Expands the rights of victims of crime by providing better protections and safeguards to victims.
• HB 913, Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement: removes partisanship from the oversight of elections, ethics and lobbying; prohibits state legislators from serving on boards and commissions.
• SB 75, Maximum Income Tax Rate of 7.0%. The rate of tax on incomes shall not in any case exceed seven percent. This is a 30% decrease from the current constitutional maximum, 10%.
• SB 814, Judicial Vacancy Sunshine Amendment. Will create Nonpartisan Judicial Merit Commissions for the nomination and recommendation of nominees to fill vacancies in the office of Justice or Judge of the General Court of Justice. Does not change the process for the regular judicial elections.
• HB 1092, Require Photo ID to Vote in Person. There is majority bipartisan support for voter ID across the country and the state, residents of North Carolina deserve a chance to weigh in on securing their right to vote. The language of the constitutional amendment is broad for what ID will qualify. Thirty-two states require some form of voter ID. North Carolina is one of 18 that does not.
Legislative Office, 919.733.5904; Mocksville Office, 336.751.8567; email, Julia.email@example.com.