February 2, 2015 Legislative Update

In This Issue…

  1. DPI to Post School Grades Februrary 5
  2. General Assembly Convenes 2015 “Long” Session
  3. Bills Filed that Address Curriculum, Calendar, and Health Benefits
  4. Governor McCrory to Deliver State of the State Message
  5. PENC’s Legislative Priorities Approved

DPI to Post School Grades February 5

In compliance with laws enacted by the General Assembly, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will post school performance grades on February 5. Commonly referred to as “A-F Grades” or “School Grades,” the requirement was passed by the General Assembly in 2013 and refined in 2014. DPI was charged with calculating and posting the grades. DPI staff posted background information about the calculations on its website. The actual grades will be made public on Friday.

PENC has been concerned that the calculations will not provide an accurate reflection of schools’ performance. In particular, PENC has been concerned that the overwhelming weight has been given to performance (80%) and not enough to growth (20%). While PENC supported the General Assembly’s one year fix to the grades by changing the scale from 10 points to 15 points, the association notes that reprieve is for one year only and does not address the fundamental issue of the score’s calculation. PENC supports a change in the weighting to a 50/50 split between performance and growth.

General Assembly Convenes 2015 “Long” Session

The NC General Assembly returned to Raleigh Jan. 14 to meet in a one-day organizational session. Both the House and Senate elected leaders for their chambers that day. As expected, Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) was selected by House members to serve as Speaker of the House. Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) was elected to his third term as President Pro Tempore, or leader of the Senate. Other House and Senate Officers who were elected on Jan. 14 are listed below.

The House and Senate returned to Raleigh Jan. 28 to start legislative work in earnest. House Speaker Tim Moore announced committee appointments. Among House Members to receive a gavel – symbolic of appointment as a committee chairperson – was former PENC President Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), who will co-chair the House K-12 Education Committee with Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union.) PENC congratulates Rep. Elmore and thanks him for his service to North Carolina!

Sen. Berger announced Senate appointments Jan. 14. Committees of interest to PENC members are listed below.

North Carolina Senate Leadership – 2015-2016 Session

President: Lt. Governor Dan Forest
President Pro Tempore:  Senator Phil Berger
Deputy President Pro Tempore:  Senator Louis Pate
Majority Leader: Senator Harry Brown
Majority Whip:  Senator Jerry W. Tillman
Republican Caucus Secretary: Senator Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr.
Democratic Leader: Senator Dan Blue
Democratic Whip: Senator Terry Van Duyn
Democratic Caucus Secretary: Ben Clark

Appropriations on Education / Higher Education
Senate Standing Committee
Meets Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. in 421 LOB LB
Bills in Committee: None

Co-Chairman Sen. Tom Apodaca
Co-Chairman Sen. Chad Barefoot
Co-Chairman Sen. Dan Soucek

Members: Sen. David L. Curtis, Sen. Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr., Sen. Bob Rucho, Sen. Smith-Ingram, Sen. Jerry W. Tillman, Sen. Waddell

Education / Higher Education
Senate Standing Committee
Meets Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. in 544 LOB LB
Bills in Committee: None

Co-Chairman Sen. Dan Soucek
Co-Chairman Sen. Jerry W. Tillman
Vice Chairman Sen. David L. Curtis

Members: Sen. Tom Apodaca, Sen. Chad Barefoot, Sen. Tamara Barringer, Sen. Stan Bingham, Sen. Harry Brown, Sen. Angela R. Bryant, Sen. Ben Clark, Sen. Bill Cook, Sen. Warren Daniel, Sen. Don Davis, Sen. Valerie P. Foushee, Sen. Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr., Sen. Joyce Krawiec, Sen. E. S. (Buck) Newton, Sen. Louis Pate, Sen. Ronald J. Rabin, Sen. Gladys A. Robinson, Sen. Bob Rucho, Sen. Jane W. Smith, Sen. Josh Stein, Sen. Jeff Tarte, Sen. Trudy Wade, Sen. Andy Wells, Sen. Mike Woodard

Pensions & Retirement and Aging
Senate Standing Committee
Meets Upon Call of the Chairman
Bills in Committee: None

Co-Chairman Sen. Tom Apodaca
Co-Chairman Sen. Rick Gunn

Members: Sen. Angela R. Bryant, Sen. David L. Curtis, Sen. Warren Daniel, Sen. Louis Pate, Sen. Ronald J. Rabin, Sen. Shirley B. Randleman, Sen. Jane W. Smith, Sen. Jeff Tarte, Sen. Waddell, Sen. Andy Wells

North Carolina House Leadership – 2015-2016 Session

Speaker:  Representative Tim Moore
Speaker Pro Tempore:  Representative Paul Stam
Majority Leader: Representative Mike Hager
Deputy Majority Leader: Representative Marilyn Avila
Majority Whip:  Representative John R. Bell, IV
Conference Chair: Representative Charles Jeter
Joint Caucus Leader: Representative Pat B. Hurley
Majority Freshman Leader: Representative John A. Fraley
Majority Freshman Whip: Representative John R. Bradford, III
Democratic Leader: Representative Larry D. Hall
Deputy Democratic Leader: Representative Susan C. Fisher
Secretary: Representative Bobbie Richardson
Executive Liaisons: Representative Henry M. Michaux, Jr., Representative Michael H. Wray
Democratic Conference Chairs: Representative Grier Martin, Representative Garland E. Pierce
Freshman Caucus Co-Chairs: Representative Graig R. Meyer, Representative Robert T. Reives, II

Appropriations, Education
House Standing Committee
Chairman Rep. Blackwell
Chairman Rep. Bryan
Chairman Rep. Holloway
Chairman Rep. Horn
Vice Chairman Rep. Gill
Vice Chairman Rep. Glazier
Vice Chairman Rep. Stam
Vice Chairman Rep. Whitmire

Members: Rep. L. Bell, Rep. Brockman, Rep. Conrad, Rep. Elmore, Rep. Fraley, Rep. Hanes, Rep. Lucas, Rep. Michaux

Education – K-12
House Standing Committee
Chairman Rep. Elmore
Chairman Rep. Horn
Chairman Rep. L. Johnson
Vice Chairman Rep. Cotham
Vice Chairman Rep. Hanes

Members: Rep. Ager, Rep. Baskerville, Rep. Bryan, Rep. Cleveland, Rep. Dixon, Rep. Farmer-Butterfield, Rep. Fisher, Rep. C. Graham, Rep. Hardister, Rep. Hurley, Rep. Iler, Rep. Jones, Rep. Lambeth, Rep. Langdon, Rep. Malone, Rep. Meyer, Rep. Riddell, Rep. Stam, Rep. R.Turner, Rep. Whitmire

Pensions and Retirement
House Standing Committee
Chairman Rep. McNeill
Chairman Rep. Ross
Vice Chairman Rep. Michaux

Members: Rep. L. Bell, Rep. Bishop, Rep. Blust, Rep. B. Brown, Rep. Elmore, Rep. Farmer-Butterfield, Rep. Gill, Rep. Hurley, Rep. Langdon, Rep. Waddell

Bills Filed That Address Curriculum, Calendar, and Health Benefits

Lawmakers wasted no time Jan. 28 and filed bills that address issues of interest to PENC members. Some of those bills are listed below. These bills were merely filed and are eligible for consideration. They have not been acted upon as yet. Among those bills is S6, State Health Plan/Rehired Retiree Elibility, which addresses problems facing rehired retirees and compliance with the Affordable Care Act and S3, Repeal Public Employee Payroll Deduction for Payments to Employees’ Associations.

An Act to Restore the School Calendar Educational Purpose Waiver to Provide Flexibility to Local Boards of Education for Calendar Modifications Necessary to Accommodate Specific Programs for a Reasonable Educational Purpose, as Recommended by the House Study Committee on Education Innovation.

An Act Requiring Each Child Presented for Admission into the Public Schools for the First Time to Submit Proof of a Recent Health Assessment and Requiring the Health Assessment Transmittal Form to be Permanently Maintained in the Child’s Official School Record.

An Act to Allow Community Colleges to Teach Universal General Education Transfer Courses During the Summer Term and Earn Funding for Those Courses Year-Round.

An Act to Provide for a Planning Year for Establishment of Cooperative Innovative High Schools, as Recommended by the House Study Committee on Education Innovation.

An Act to Restore the Teaching Fellows Program.

An Act to Reenact the Sales and Use Tax Holiday for School Supplies.

An Act to Make Organizational and Technical Changes to the Courses of Study Statutes.

An Act Repealing Public Employee Payroll Deduction for Payments to Employees’ Associations.

An Act to Allow Retirees Who Return to Work for the State in Nonpermanent Positions to Retain Their Coverage Options Under the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees Rather Than Limiting Such Retirees’ Coverage Options to the “Bronze Level” High-Deductible Health Plan Necessitated by the Affordable Care Act, as Recommended by the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee.

Governor McCrory to Deliver State of the State Message 

The only business lawmakers addressed January 28 and 29 was the adoption of S4, State of State. The bill invites Gov. Pat McCrory (R-Mecklenburg) to address a joint session of the General Assembly in the House Chamber at 7 PM Feb. 4 to present his State of the State message. The speech will likely be covered statewide on UNC-TV as well as by other media outlets.

PENC’s Legislative Priorities Approved 

The PENC Board approved the 2015-2017 Legislative Priorities at its meeting Jan. 17. The Priorities includes a platform developed based upon feedback from PENC members’ response to a biennial survey distributed in December. To read the Legislative Priorities, please click here.

What do you think?

If you have questions or concerns, please share your thoughts and ideas with us.
Contact us at penc@pencweb.org.

Submitted by Evelyn Hawthorne

For more information about the North Carolina General Assembly, click here.
To identify and contact your legislators, click here.

For information about specific issues, please contact PENC government relations consultant Evelyn Hawthorne at lobbyist@pencweb.org.