Weekly Legislative Update - Friday, April 29, 2017

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.


Legislative Update

April 29, 2017



Cecilia Holden, Director of Legislative Affairs

This week, the State Board of Education welcomes Cecilia Holden, our new Director of Legislative Affairs.  Cecilia’s most recent role was serving as Chief of Staff at the Department of Commerce.  Prior to that, she held leadership roles with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Public Instruction.  Cecilia also excelled in a private sector career with IBM before joining state government.  She holds an MBA from Duke University and an undergraduate degree from UNC-Wilmington.  We are very glad that she has joined our team and look forward to working with her.  Cecilia’s contact information is included at the end of this week’s Update.

The Week In Review

Marathon sessions and lengthy committee meetings were par for the course this week as legislators rushed to pass bills before the all-important crossover deadline on Thursday.  Below are some of the higher profile education bills that crossed from one chamber to the other before the deadline’s arrival (not an exhaustive list):

Relevant Bills with Action

NC Elementary Classroom

HB 13:  Class Size Requirement Changes

A modified version of HB 13 was signed into law by the Governor this week.  HB 13, now State Law 2017-9, was intended to provide school systems with greater flexibility to implement the General Assembly’s reductions in class sizes.  The new compromise measure phases in the class size requirements effective in the 2018-19 school year and requires LEAs to submit reports to the General Assembly on teacher allocation and class size.  For more information on the details of this newly-minted state law, please consult this bill summary.

HB 21:  Driver Instruction/Law Enforcement Stops

In order to give North Carolina drivers more information on how to properly handle a traffic stop by law enforcement, HB 21 directs the State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement groups to develop a description of protocol for drivers to follow when stopped by the police.  This information would be included in the driver license handbook.  Furthermore, these protocols would be incorporated into the Driver Education curriculum to help teen drivers understand how to protect their safety, and that of the officer, when they are pulled over.  The bill passed the House on Wednesday and now moves to the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 285:  Suicide Prevention/Awareness School Personnel

This bill attempts to address the tragic issue of youth suicide by directing the State Board of Education, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, to develop a youth suicide prevention program and a model risk referral protocol for use in public schools.  School personnel who work directly with students would be required to complete the training within 12 months of initial employment, and once every two years thereafter.  The training program is to include “[at] least two hours of evidence-informed instruction to increase awareness of suicide, risk factors and signs, and information for referral to resources and support.”  HB 285 passed the House on Monday.

HB 299:  State Health Plan Administrative Changes.-AB

Covered in prior Legislative Updates, HB 299 passed the House on Monday and will next be under consideration in the Senate.

NC High School Teacher and Students

HB 514:  Permit Municipal Charter School/Certain Towns

HB 514 would allow the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill to operate charter schools.  It passed the House Thursday and is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 534: Computer Coding Course Elective

Acknowledging the ever-increasing importance of technology to student success, HB 534 authorizes the State Board of Education to identify and develop courses in computer programming and coding to be offered as electives in middle and high schools across the state.  The bill passed the House Tuesday and now resides in the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 556:  Study Early Childhood Education

This bill, originally titled “Office of Early Childhood Education,” is now a study bill.  Rather than establishing an Office of Early Childhood Education at DPI, the revised HB 556 creates the Task Force on Early Childhood Education to “study the governance of State government-wide management and provision of services for early childhood education and development and the role of a centralized agency or office that would be responsible for early childhood related issues.”  HB 556 gained the House’s approval Wednesday and now awaits action in the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 634:  Private Alternative Teacher Preparation

This bill would provide additional options for lateral entry teachers who are working toward a teaching license.  HB 634 authorizes the State Board of Education to approve “alternative, private, nonprofit, or for-profit lateral entry educator preparation programs.”  The bill also directs the State Board of Education to develop criteria for approving such programs, and to approve between one and four programs that meet the criteria.  The House greenlit HB 634 on Monday, and it was then assigned to the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 670:  Protect Educational Property

This measure makes threatening mass violence on educational property a Class H Felony.  HB 670 passed the House on Wednesday and is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 826:  Modify Low-performing School Definition

Amends the definition of a low-performing school to exclude schools that have met expected growth.  HB 826 strikes language establishing that schools that meet or fail to meet growth qualify as low-performing if they also receive a school performance grade of D or F.  Instead, low-performing schools would be those schools that did not meet growth and have a school performance grade of D or F.  Having passed the House, HB 826 awaits action in the Senate Rules Committee.

NC High School Classroom

HB 833:  Driver Education Oversight/Lane Departure

HB 833 establishes the Office of Driver Education Services within the Department of Public Instruction.  The State Superintendent would “organize and administer” the driver education program through this office in accordance with “criteria and standards” developed by the State Board of Education.  Furthermore, the bill allows for the transfer of funds out of the driver education allotment only “for the purpose of supporting driver education in other local school administrative units.”  After an amendment adding language directing the Department of Public Instruction to explore adding lane departure to the driving portion of the driver education curriculum.  HB 833 passed the House Tuesday.

math teachers

SB 448:  Professors In The Classroom

As covered in a previous Legislative Update, Senate Bill 448 allows local school districts to contract with faculty members at institutions of higher education to serve as adjunct instructors of core subjects in grades K-12.  The proposal cleared the Senate on Wednesday and is currently in the House Rules Committee.

SB 531: School Boards Can't Sue Counties

SB 531 passed the Senate on Wednesday. This bill would disallow local school boards from suing their county when they believe they were appropriated insufficient county funds.  The bill’s sponsors created the legislation as a means of maintaining good working relationships between local school boards and county commissioners.  A study conducted by the General Assembly’s nonpartisan Program Evaluation Division (PED)  is underway,  examining the effects of these lawsuits on counties.  However, this bill is moving independently of the study.  The measure is now in the House Rules Committee.

DPI Logo

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

Legislative Calendar

Monday, May 1, 2017

  4:00 PM Session Convenes (SenateSenate Audio

  4:30 PM Session Convenes (House)   House Audio

North Carolina General Assembly 



    • Martez Hill  –  Executive Director, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3404
    • Cecilia Holden  –  Legislative Director, State Board of Education  |  919-807-4035
    • 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.

     The NC Department of Public instruction offers a number of topics for subscription.

    • To subscribe to the Weekly Legislative Update, click here.
    • To subscribe to other NC Department of Public Instruction topics, click here.