As the 2019 session of the North Carolina General Assembly gets into full swing, legislators convened this week to addresses a number of bills. Key legislation included, the Governor’s proposed FY19-21 budget, school bond proposals and a bill to look at televising House sessions. The House also passed bills related to school safety.
Legislators will reconvene Monday, March 11th.
State and Legislative Issues
Governor’s Budget Proposal
The Governor unveiled his 2019-21 budget proposal on Wednesday. Highlights of the proposal include:
- 9.1 percent raise for teachers over two years;
- Additional $55 million for programs enhancing school safety;
- Expanding Medicaid; and
- Asking voters for approval of a $3.9 billion bond to be allocated as follows:
- $2 billion for public schools,
- $800 million for water and sewer projects,
- $500 million for the UNC System,
- $500 million for the Community Colleges System, and
- $100 million for the Museum of History and the NC Zoo.
The proposal was criticized by the Chairs of the Appropriations Committees in both chambers who described it as “not a serious budget proposal” and a “political game.”
House Bond Bill
H 241, Education Bond Act of 2019, moved quickly through four House committees this week. The bill would ask voters to approve a $1.9 billion bond in a referendum to be held in 2020 at the time of the Presidential primary. The proceeds of the bond would be allocated between public schools ($1.5 billion), the university system ($200 million), and the community college system ($200 million). The bill is scheduled for votes on the House floor next week.
The proposal is more modest than a similar proposal included in the Governor’s budget recommendation this week. The Senate has a separate proposal that would fund capital projects on a pay-as-you-go basis. That bill (S 5, Building North Carolina’s Future) passed the Senate on February 20, but has had no action in the House.
Televised Legislative Sessions
On Wednesday, the House passed H 218, Broadcast NC House of Reps Sessions. The bill would require The University of North Carolina Center for Public Television to broadcast daily sessions of the House of Representatives that are of particular public importance.
In addition, the bill calls for a study of the feasibility of creating a new channel for use by The University of North Carolina Center for Public Television to broadcast all legislative sessions of the House of Representatives. Similar legislation has not been filed with respect to the sessions of the North Carolina Senate.
Local Issues – Charlotte
Alliance CEO Named
The Charlotte Regional Alliance this week announced Janet LaBar as President and CEO to lead the newly formed organization. LaBar was selected after a national search to lead a new organization formed in December as the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and Charlotte Regional Partnership merged. LaBar currently serves as the President and CEO of Greater Portland Inc, an economic development public-private partnership tasked with recruiting businesses to the Portland metropolitan region. She will join the Charlotte Alliance beginning in April.
- Big step taken toward new light rail mega-line from Matthews to Belmont. Here’s what still needs to happen (Charlotte Agenda)
- NC sets dates for election redo forced by ballot tampering, as candidates line up (Charlotte Observer)
- School safety, mental health bills get legislative support (WRAL)
- Cheri Beasley sworn-in as first African-American woman Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court (WTVD)
- NC superintendent releases budget wish list, including 5-7% teacher pay raises (WRAL)