NCSBA Legislative Update – June 23, 2023

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 23, 2023

As we referenced last week, SB 49: Parents’ Bill of Rights is on the move.  Passed by the Senate in the depths of winter, the House has decided to bring it forward for a spring thaw. The House’s version of SB 49, edition 2 is very similar to that of the Senate’s version. They both enumerate certain rights of parents related to education, health, privacy, and safety of their child – many of which are in existing law. While bill sponsors say that SB 49 prioritizes parental involvement and increases transparency, critics claim the bill will cause harm to some students.
Budget negotiations continue between the House and Senate. According to a statement made by House Speaker Tim Moore during session on Thursday, the state budget will not be finalized by July 1.

Education Bills Approved by House Committees

Education K-12

SB 49: Parents’ Bill of Rights (primary sponsors: Senators Amy Galey, R-Alamance; Michael Lee, R-New Hanover; Lisa Barnes, R-Nash)
SB 49 creates additional rights for parents regarding their child’s education and lists numerous existing rights. Below are a few of the provisions included in the 11-page bill.

  • Establishes a process and timelines to address parental requests for information
  • Establishes a process and timelines for a parent to share concerns about a procedure or practice, as well as a process for resolving those concerns
  • Requires public school units (PSUs) to provide parents with a written annual parent’s guide for student achievement
  • Requires PSUs to develop policies to increase parental involvement in schools
  • Prohibits instruction on gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality from being included in K-4 curriculum
  • Requires school staff to notify parents prior to any changes in a student’s name or pronouns or if a student seeks mental health services, with some exceptions, such as the belief that disclosure could result in child abuse or neglect
  • Along with technical changes, the House version exempts security recordings on school transportation from the prohibition on government recordings of minors without parental consent.

Next stop is the Committee on Rules, Calendar & Operations of the House. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 686: Civil Rights Education (primary sponsors: Representatives Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Amos Quick, D-Guilford)

  • Provides comprehensive civil rights education to every student in middle and high school by requiring it to be included in the standard course of study
  • Appropriates $250,000 to Department of Public Instruction for implementation [The House budget (HB 259, Third Ed.) includes a $350,000 one-time grant to the Clarence Henderson Education Foundation to develop and implement a program to teach public school students about NC’s Civil Rights history.]
  • Next stop is House Appropriations Committee
  • Click here for an official bill summary


HB 852: The Rep. Becky Carney Cardiac Arrest Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Cynthia Ball, D-Wake; Timothy Reeder, R-Pitt; Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth; Jeff Zenger, R-Forsyth)

  • Requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules for the installation, use, and maintenance of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in public school units, including:
  • At least 2 AEDs in each school
  • Implementation of an appropriate training course
  • Appropriates $9.2 million in nonrecurring federal ARPA funds to be allocated by DPI on a first-come, first-served basis for the 2023-24 fiscal year
  • Next stop is House Appropriations Committee

Judiciary 2

HB 563: Regulate Hemp-Derived Consumables & Kratom (primary sponsors Jeffrey McNeeley R-Iredell; Wayne Sasser R-Stanly; Tricia Cotham R-Mecklenburg; Ken Fontenot R-Wilson)

  • Requires governing bodies of public school units to adopt a written policy prohibiting the use of hemp-derived consumable products at all times on school property, including school sponsored events at another location when in the presence of students or school personnel.
  • Effective when it becomes law and applies beginning with the 2023-2024 school year
  • Click here for an official bill summary
  • Next stop is House Appropriations Committee

Education Bills Approved by Senate Committees

Pensions and Retirement and Aging

HB 142: Protect Our Students Act (primary sponsors: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Jake Johnson, R-Polk; Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort)

  • An agency bill supported by DPI and the State Superintendent
  • Increases penalties for all sex offenses by school personnel against a student
  • Modifies the definition of a student in cases of sexual crimes against a student by school personnel
  • Increases penalties for failing to report misconduct toward children
  • Requires public school units to show 6th-12 graders age-appropriate videos produced by the Center for Safer Schools which include information on sex abuse.
  • Requires school employees convicted of certain felonies involving a student to forfeit the portion of their state-funded retirement benefits
  • Next stop is Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
  • Click here for an official bill summary

Finance/Rules and Operations of the Senate

SB 99: Bond Referendum Transparency (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Carl Ford, R-Rowan; Eddie Settle, R-Wilkes)

  • Passed 33-12 on Second Reading; Third Reading roll call vote to be held on Monday, June 26
  • Requires additional disclosures on bond applications, the order approving the bond application, and on the ballot
  • Requires the amount of property tax increase on the ballot question if known
  • Requires the Local Government Commission to maintain a database of proposed bond issues approved by the Commission
  • Click here for an official bill summary

Education Bills Passed by the Senate

HB 605: School Threat Assessment Teams (primary sponsors: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Tricia Cotham, R-Mecklenburg)

  • Passed unanimously 46-0, sent back to House for concurrence
  • Requires public school units to have threat assessment teams
  • Requires (was encourages) all public-school units to participate in school safety exercises and programs
  • Encourages private schools to participate in school safety exercises and programs.
  • Requires local boards of education to establish peer-to-peer support programs at all schools with grades 6 and higher
  • Requires the governing body (e.g., school board) to develop policies for assessment and intervention, not just the individual threat assessment teams
  • Adds a referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency if the individual is not a student.
  • Requires the Center for Safer Schools to develop guidance for the threat assessment teams by 12/31/23
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 618: Charter School Review Board (primary sponsors: Representatives Tricia Cotham, R-Mecklenburg; Tim Moore, R-Cleveland; Destin Hall, R-Caldwell; David Willis, R-Union)

  • Passed by a vote of 30-18, sent back to the House for concurrence
  • Similar to section 7.39 in the House Budget
  • Converts the Charter Schools Advisory Board into the Charter Schools Review Board
  • Shifts authority to approve or deny charters from the State Board of Education to a legislatively controlled (8 of 11 appointments) Review Board with a right of appeal by an applicant, charter school, or the State Superintendent to the State Board of Education
  • Changes the Superintendent of Public Instruction from a voting member to a nonvoting member
  • Click here for an official bill summary

Education Bills Passed by the House

SB 411: Various Education Changes (primary sponsors Senators Paul Newton R-Cabarrus, Warren Daniel R-Burke, Ralph Hise R-Mitchell)

  • Passed by a unanimous vote 113-0, sent back to Senate for concurrence
  • Allows home school students to participate in the PSAT, the PreACT, AP exams, and any other advanced course examination offered by a local school district if certain requirements are met
  • Allows a school district to charge the cost of the test to the student’s parent
  • Changes made by the House include
  • Added language from HB 172: Samantha Rose Davis Act (primary sponsors: Representative Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, Jon Hardister R-Guilford, Brian Biggs R-Randolph, Celeste Cairns R-Carteret)
  • Requires State Board of Education to adopt rules for PSUs to follow regarding medical condition plans for students that require them
  • Requires each school to have at least one employee trained in lifesaving and first aid techniques
  • Added language from HB 150: School Contracted Health Services (primary sponsors: Representatives John Bradford, R-Mecklenburg; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Kevin Crutchfield, R-Cabarrus; Carla Cunningham, D-Mecklenburg)
  • Allows parents of students who require nursing care under their IEP to choose their nurse, provided:
  • The child’s IEP requires nursing services
  • The child received nursing services from the nurse (i) prior to the nursing services being required by the child’s IEP or (ii) prior to the child enrolling at his or her current school.
  • Issues with HB 150 include: Nursing services for students with disabilities are often paid using federal IDEA funds. Depending on the amount of the expenditure, the federal government may require a competitive bid process to award a contract that will be paid using the IDEA funds. Contracts for services to be provided by nurses chosen by parents will not go through a competitive purchasing process. Therefore, school districts will need to ensure that either (1) the cost of the services falls below the threshold for mandatory competitive bidding; or (2) if competitive bidding would be required, the contract is paid with non-federal (state or local) funds. The bill sponsor stated districts will not receive additional state funding for these nurses.

Statewide Bills Sent to Governor

HB 574: Fairness in Women’s Sports Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Jennifer Balkcom, R-Henderson; Karl Gillespie, R-Macon; Erin Pare, R-Wake; Kristen Baker, R-Cabarrus)

  • Passed by a vote of 31-17, House concurred by a vote of 63-42
  • Prohibits biological male students from playing on middle school, high school, or collegiate athletics teams designated for biological female students
  • Recognizes a student’s sex solely based on the student’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth
  • Creates a civil cause of action for students who are harmed as a result of a violation of the bill or who are retaliated against for reporting violations
  • Creates a civil cause of action for public school units that suffer harm as a result of following the requirements of the bill
  • Removes restrictions on females from participating in male sports
  • Removes collegiate intramurals from sports teams subject to the bill
  • Click here for an official bill summary

Statewide Bills Signed by the Governor

SB 729: CBBC Working Group Changes (primary sponsors: Senators Jim Burgin, R-Harnett; Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth; Carl Ford, R-Rowan)

  • Passed the Senate 42-0 and the House 114-0
  • Amends the anti-pension spiking contribution-based benefit cap (CBBC) law for school systems as brought forward by the working group established by S.L. 2021-72
  • Provides additional tools to resolve disputed applications of the anti-pension spiking laws
  • Note: NCSBA had been in negotiations with the State Retirement System for roughly 18 months to improve the anti-pension spiking CBBC law. This bill is the compromise both sides agreed to, which we believe is a significant improvement to the existing law.
  • Click here to access NCSBA’s summary of SB 729
The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.

June 19, 2023, Weekly Report
Headlines for this edition include:

Education Budget Battle Continues: While a crisis was averted regarding the federal government shut-down, the victory is only temporary as Congress works on the FY2023-24 budget. House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) has indicated that she’d like non-defense spending to remain at FY2022 levels.  She set the level for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee at $60 billion below its FY 2023 level of $207 billion in discretionary funding, a reduction of almost 30%.

While those proposed cuts are troubling, they are also dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The stark differences in the two chambers could lead to another budget stalemate.

The following are recent news articles, reports, and press releases on state and national education-related issues.

State News
Carolina Journal: Senate Passes Bill Barring Biological Males From Females’ Sports
WRAL: Task Force for Safer Schools Explains Latest Data School Shooter Threats, Steps Taken To Prevent Students
WRAL: State Plans 3 Steps – Education, Staff, Understanding to Curb Threats Against Schools
WUNC: North Carolina House Revives LGBTQ+ Education Limits In Final Days of Session

National News
K-12 Dive: House Committee Votes to Yank Federal Funding From Schools Used As Migrant Shelters
New York Times: What the New, Low Test Scores for 13-Year Olds Say About U.S. Education Now
USA Today: Distracted Students and Stressed Teachers: What An American School Day Looks Like Post-Covid

No education-related committees have been scheduled at this time. 
Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association

Christina DavoileNCSBA Legislative Update – June 23, 2023