Lawmakers adjourned the legislative session this afternoon and are returning to their home districts for the summer. The adjournment resolution sets November 27, 2018, as the date they will return to Raleigh. During this post-Thanksgiving session they will likely work on the constitutional amendments that are approved on November 6 and define them/write them up in the appropriate form. They could also take up any of the remaining bills that are eligible this session, including bills that have been vetoed but have yet to receive override votes (such as HB 131 and HB 1055, see below).
NCSBA will be holding a legislative webinar July 2 at Noon that includes a review of the 2018 session. Register here!
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT – SB75 LOWER THE TAX CAP
The Constitutional Amendment lowering the income tax cap, SB 75, was revised and passed this week Instead of the cap being lowered to 5.5%, as the amendment originally proposed, the maximum rate under the amendment will be 7%. The amendment will appear on the November 2018 ballot.
SB 75 with the max rate of 5.5% was originally on the House calendar for Tuesday and then Wednesday. At the behest of House leadership, the amendment was pulled from the Wednesday calendar and sent back to the House Finance Committee, where the revision was made to increase the cap from 5.5% to 7%. This cap will be less restrictive. The amendment went back to the House floor Wednesday and narrowly received the necessary three-fifths support (73-45). Despite some concerns, Senators followed suit and approved the amendment on Thursday (34-13).
SB 75 was the topic of discussion on the latest episode of the NC Public School Forum’s Education Matters television program. Richard Bostic, NCSBA Assistant Director of Governmental Relations, was a featured speaker on the panel. You can watch the episode here.
You can read more coverage of the tax cap amendment here.
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION NOMINEES
A House-Senate joint session was held Thursday to take action on Governor Cooper’s 3 nominees to the State Board of Education. Two of the nominees were rejected: Ms. Sandra Byrd of Asheville (nominated to replace Wayne McDevitt representing the Western Region); and Mr. J.B. Buxton of Raleigh (nominated to take Trish Willoughby’s at-large seat).
Gov. Cooper’s 3rd nominee was a re-appointment- Mr. Reginald Kenan (representing the Southeast Region). Mr. Kenan is a member of the Duplin County local board of education and has been on the State Board for 9 years. His re-appointment was approved.
With two nominees having been voted down, Gov. Cooper will now have to resume the process of searching for new nominees. The terms of both Mr. McDevitt and Ms. Willougby expired in March 2017 but both of them have been continuing to serve through their expired terms while replacements are sought. Mr. McDevitt and Ms. Willoughby are the longest serving members of the State Board, having both served for 16 years.
You can read more coverage here.
NOTABLE BILL ACTION THIS WEEK
Vetoed by the Governor
Overridden by the General Assembly
Have Become Law
- HB374- Regulatory Reform Act of 2018 (S.L. 2018-114)
- Section 26 repeals a section in a different bill that got rid of protections for public schools where road improvements are occurring. The protection prevented cities from putting conditions on zoning or permit request approvals from schools to get around the requirement that they reimburse LEAs, charter schools, or private schools for road improvements around schools. A budget technical corrections section repealed this protection. Section 26 restores the original budget language.
- Section 27(b) directs the SBE to put all its policies through rule-making; policies not put through rule-making expire May 30, 2019. Section 27(a) directs the SBE to repeal a couple policies setting out its authority in relation to the State Superintendent.
- HB 382- DOI Omnibus – AB (S.L. 2018-120)
- Part 6 amends the bail bonds law to relieve sureties of their financial obligations solely because a defendant is arrested in another jurisdiction at any point before final judgment of forfeiture (up to 150 days after the failure to appear). The prior law allowed for relief of the financial obligation only when the defendant was arrested in another jurisdiction on the day they failed to appear.
- This relief does not provide any incentive to sureties that will make defendants’ return to court more likely, nor does it represent an appropriate excuse for missing court in the first place. The only purpose of this change is to reduce the financial burdens on sureties when they fail to uphold their end of the bail bond contract. The changes fly in the face of well-settled court precedent and provide no benefit whatsoever to the State.
Vetoed by the Governor
Override Vote Has Yet to Occur
- HB 131
- This is another bail bonds bill which the NC Council of School Attorneys, on whose behalf we lobby, had opposed.
- It would further expand the situations where a surety is relieved of their financial obligations.
- It has been sent to the House Rules Committee and could be taken up when lawmakers reconvene in November. You can read the Governor’s veto message here.
- HB 1055
- This makes changes to the Teachers’ and State Employees retirement system. Gov. Cooper vetoed HB 1055 because he believed it unnecessarily takes away retirement options from teachers/state employees. It has been sent to the House Rules Committee and could be taken up when lawmakers reconvene in November. You can read the Governor’s veto message here.
Signed By Governor/Enacted Into Law
- HB1031- Local Ed. Funding Dispute Process (S.L. 2018-83)
- Removes the option for local school boards to file lawsuits over current expense if mediation fails. It would continue the mediation process but if the mediation is not successful instead of the board filing suit, an automatic funding formula would be triggered.
- The formula is: Per-student local appropriations from the previous school year X 1+ the Employment Cost Index (ECI) for primary and secondary education X the ADM for the upcoming year. If this formula is used 3 years in a row there would be an additional 3% added to the ECI. It would not alter any existing local funding formulas.
- Creates a working group to study a mechanism to resolve disputes related to capital outlay, which will include representatives from NCSBA and the Association of County Commissioners.
- HB611- Employment Contract Exception (S.L. 2018-26)
- HB670- Protect Educational Property (S.L. 2018-72)
- HB986- Various Changes to Education Laws (S.L. 2018-32)
Resolutions That Passed
NCSBA Bill Tracking: click here.