Weekly Legislative Update - Friday, April 7, 2017

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Legislative Update

April 7, 2017

Teacher of the Year Named

A kindergarten teacher in Onslow County has been named the 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year.  Lisa Godwin, a third-year teacher at Dixon Elementary School in Holly Ridge, was recognized for her outstanding achievements at an awards luncheon on Thursday.  Governor Roy Cooper, State Superintendent Mark Johnson and North Carolina State Board of Education Vice Chairman Buddy Collins were on hand to congratulate Ms. Godwin for her commitment to excellence. As North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Godwin will serve as an advisory member of the State Board of Education for two years.  We congratulate Ms. Godwin and thank her for the wonderful work she does for her students.

Lisa Godwin TOY 2017

The Week In Review

As the deadline for (most) bills to cross from one chamber of the General Assembly into the other draws near, state lawmakers have been working at a breakneck pace to advance their bills.  While the crossover deadline looms, key bill filing deadlines have passed in the House and Senate, giving a clearer picture of what legislators hope to accomplish in education this session.  Many of the bills covered in previous Legislative Updates have seen action this week, while numerous other education-related bills have also advanced. The next few weeks promise to be an important time for education legislation. 



Relevant Bills with Action

HB 117: Protect Students in Schools

HB 117 made its way to the House Finance Committee this week. This bill would require that any person applying for a teaching license in North Carolina must undergo a criminal background check.  A similar bill was debated in the General Assembly last year in response to a USA Today report giving North Carolina an “F” grade for its teacher background checks, but that bill ultimately failed.  Under HB 117, each LEA would have to create a uniform system that would incorporate the background check into the hiring process. The bill also mandates that a teacher must be notified by the superintendent before the teacher is suspended without pay, unless under extenuating circumstances such as incarceration.  On Tuesday, the House Education K-12 Committee approved HB 117, and it will be heard next by the House Finance Committee.

Graduation Cap and Diploma

HB 132: High Achieving Tuition Scholarships 

Students who graduate from high school in North Carolina with at least a 3.5 unweighted GPA may be eligible to receive academic scholarships to North Carolina community colleges under this legislation. Qualifying students who attend public, nonpublic, and home schools in North Carolina would be eligible to apply. Having received approval from the House Education K-12 Committee on Tuesday, HB 132 will be heard next by the House Education – Community Colleges Committee.

HB 302:  DoDEA/Clinical Educators for Student Teaching

In the last week, HB 302 unanimously passed the House and made its way into the Senate Committee on Rules and Operations.  This bill would allow teachers who work for schools under the Department of Defense to serve as mentors to student teachers as long as they have passed the teacher evaluation standards set by the Department of Defense Education Activity. Past coverage of HB 302 can be found here (link).

NC Elementary Teacher and Student


HB 375: School Calendar Flexibility/Community Colleges

HB 375, covered in last week’s Legislative Update (link), would provide more school calendar flexibility for local LEAs by allowing them to align their calendars with those of community colleges.  HB 375 was heard on the House floor Thursday and successfully passed its second reading.

HB 389: School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program

This bill, as discussed in last week’s Legislative Update (link), would authorize, though not require, LEAs located within twenty counties (listed in Section 2 of the bill) to participate in the three-year calendar flexibility pilot program, starting in 2018-19 or 2019-20.  Exempting year-round schools, the schools in participating counties would open no earlier than the Monday closest to August 10, and close no later than the Friday closest to June 11.  The bill made significant movement this week, clearing the House Commerce and Job Development Committee and receiving approval on the House floor.  A Senate committee will be next to hear HB 389.

Career and Technical Education - CTE

HB 450: Future Ready Student Act 2017

The Future Ready Students Act was covered in last week’s Legislative Update (link). In the time since the last Update, the bill cleared the House Education -- Community Colleges Committee, unanimously passed in the House and has moved to the Senate. HB 450 aims to expand work-based Career and Technical Education (CTE) offerings in public schools through partnerships with community colleges and businesses. The bill would require LEAs to offer at least two work-based, CTE-related opportunities for students in their district.  

SB 78: Cost to Comply/Federal Education Funds/ PED Study

This bill directs the Department of Public Instruction to study the costs of complying with federal mandates on state and local education agencies and report findings to the General Assembly by early 2018.  Federal money often comes to states with conditions attached – this bill seeks to find out the overall cost of those conditions in relation to the amount of federal money received.  SB 78 cleared two Senate committees this week – Education/Higher Education and Rules – and now proceeds to the Senate floor.

Health (apples, tape measure, stethoscope)

SB 218: State Health Plan Administrative Changes.-AB

This bill makes changes to how the State Health Plan program is administered for state employees and their dependents.  Items of note in this bill include a provision allowing the State Health Plan to terminate coverage in the event of an individual providing false information regarding eligibility or enrollment information, as well as language clarifying that children born to currently-covered individuals are covered by the State Health Plan from birth, contingent on certain factors being met.  More details about SB 218 are available in this summary.  The bill passed the Senate Health Care Committee and will now head to the Senate Committee on Appropriations on Pensions, Compensation, and Benefits.

SB 252: North Carolina Teaching Fellows

Last week’s Legislative Update (link) included information on the House version of this bill (HB 339).  The Senate’s companion bill, SB 252, moved this week with some changes from the original.  A significant change is that the Senate hopes to use the North Carolina Educational Endowment Fund to finance the program, as opposed to an appropriation from the General Assembly.  Lt. Gov. Dan Forest spoke to the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee in support of the new Teaching Fellows program and using the North Carolina Educational Endowment Fund for that purpose.  More details on the changes made to the Senate version of the bill are available here.  The committee voted to approve SB 252, and it has now been referred to the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee.

Two Graduates


SB 312: Surplus Computers for Low-Income Students

This bill would allow the state surplus agency to provide computers to nonprofits so they can be refurbished.  These nonprofits would then donate the computers to low-income families with school-aged children. This bill was passed by the Senate Finance and Rules committees this week, and will next be debated on the Senate floor.

DPI Logo

See this link for a complete list of bills impacting education.

Legislative Calendar

Mon, April 10, 2017

  4:00 PM Session Convenes (Senate)     Senate Audio

  5:00 PM Session Convenes (House)      House Audio

Tue, April 11, 2017

10:00 AM | 643 LOB  Education - K-12 (House)

          Students W/Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. (H149)

          Harnett Co. Schools/Exam Window. (H360)

 11:00 AM | 421 LOB  Judiciary III (House)

          State Agencies/Adjust Hiring Practices. (H409)

 12:00 PM | 1228/1327 LB  Insurance (House)

          State Health Plan Administrative Changes.-AB (H299)

          Health Care Sharing Expenses Deduction. (H295)

  1:00 PM |1228/1327 LB  Education - Universities (House)

          Modify UNC Laboratory Schools. (H532)

  1:00 PM | 423/424 LOB  Energy and Public Utilities (House)

          BRIGHT Futures Act. (H68)


North Carolina General Assembly 



    • Martez Hill  –  Executive Director, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3404
    • Robb Jansen  –  Policy Analyst & Legislative Liaison, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3407
    • Anne Murtha  –  Legislative Specialist, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3403
    • Sarah Sturdivant  –  Legislative Intern, State Board of Education

    To view previous 2017 Weekly Legislative Updates click here.


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