Weekly Legislative Update - Friday, June 30, 2017

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Legislative Update

June 30, 2017

The Week In Review - The Budget is Finalized


Senate Bill 257, the budget for the 2017-2019 biennium, became law this week with the legislature’s override of the Governor’s veto. Read our special budget update for a summary of budget provisions affecting education, or check section F of the General Assembly's Money Report for a summary of each education line item in the budget. 


HB 528, a budget technical corrections bill, passed both chambers of the General Assembly last night and will next be on the Governor’s desk.  In addition to the education items contained in HB 528, this bill also has ten amendments, some of which are related to education. These include an amendment specifying that $5 million received by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) under the Excellent Public Schools Act will no longer revert at the end of the fiscal year. These funds may be used to purchase technology for use in reading assessments.  Furthermore, an amendment clarified the date of employment necessary for teachers with 25+ years of experience to qualify for the veteran teachers' bonus.  Such teachers will need to be employed as of October 1 of the year the bonus is awarded.


With the budget now law, the General Assembly has adjourned until August 3, 2017, when they will reconvene to deliberate matters including redistricting and technical corrections to non-budget items.

Bills Signed Into Law This Week

SB 64/SL 2017-65:  Veterans’ History Awareness Month

Senate Bill 64 establishes November as Veterans' History Awareness Month for public schools and directs the State Board of Education (SBE) to develop programs on the service and contributions of veterans, especially North Carolinians.  

HB 256/SL 2017-75: 2017 Appointments Bill

HB 256 contains appointments to state commissions and boards. Lindalyn Kakadelis of Mecklenburg County, Joseph A. Maimone of Rutherford County, and Lynn Kroeger of Union County were appointed to the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board for terms expiring on June 30, 2021, effective July 1, 2017. Phyllis P. Gibbs of Guilford County, Alan Hawkes of Guilford County, and Sherry T. Reeves of Pamlico County were appointed to the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board for terms expiring on June 30, 2020, effective July 1, 2017. Senator Chad Barefoot was appointed to the Education Commission of the States for a term expiring on December 31, 2017, to fill the unexpired term of former Senator Daniel Soucek.

Exceptional Children

SB 312/SL 2017-67:  Surplus Computers for Low-Income Students

This bill, now Session Law 2017-67, allows the State Surplus Property Agency to distribute state surplus computers to nonprofits who donate the machines to low-income students and families.  

HB 447/SL 2017-61:  Lexington City Bd. of Ed./City Council

This bill, as covered in last week’s newsletter, makes changes to the Lexington Board of Education. The bill changes the Lexington City Board of Education from nine appointed members to seven members elected on a nonpartisan basis in odd-numbered years. The House agreed with an amendment on the composition of the Lexington City Board of Education made by the Senate early this week.

HB 520/SL 2017-63:  Union Co. Bd. of Ed./Partisan Election

House Bill 520, now Session Law 2017-63, changes the method of election of the Union County Board of Education from nonpartisan to partisan and alters the process for filling vacancies on the Board, beginning in 2018. 

HB 393/SL 2017-82: Mebane Charter/Alamance-Burlington Board of Education Exchange 

This bill revises the articles of incorporation of the City of Mebane and allows the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education to sell or exchange the property containing Elon Elementary School. The Alamance-Burlington Board of Education requested this authority in a resolution passed by the Board on June 19, 2017. Elon Elementary School is virtually surrounded by the campus of Elon University, and the University has expressed a desire to purchase the property.

This Week's Bills on the Governor's Desk for Signature

Driver's Education

HB 21:  Driver Instruction/Law Enforcement Stops

This bill would require the Division of Motor Vehicles to include a description of law enforcement traffic stop procedures and appropriate driver actions and interactions with law enforcement officers within its driver license handbook.  It would also require DPI to include these topics in the driver education curriculum.


HB 135:  Technical Changes to Course of Study Statute

This bill reorganizes existing education statutes as covered in last week’s newsletter.  The Senate passed the bill this week after making a clarifying change on alcohol and drug use prevention education. 

Exceptional Children

HB 149:  Students w/ Dyslexia and Dyscalculia

This bill directs SBE to define dyslexia as part of its policies for specific learning disabilities. The bill also ensures that ongoing professional development opportunities are made available to teachers and other school personnel on the identification of and intervention strategies for students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other specific learning disabilities.  More information on this bill is in a prior edition of this newsletter. 

NC Elementary Classroom

HB 155:  Omnibus Education Law Changes

HB 155 was originally centered on educator licensure requirements, but the Senate Education/Higher Education committee added provisions from other education-related bills last week. The omnibus bill makes various changes to education related statutes, as covered in a previous update. On Monday, the bill passed the Senate with an amendment that directs the State Board of Education (SBE) to provide notice of Parts IV and V of the bill to local school administrative units. These parts direct the State Superintendent to convene a workgroup to study effective and positive intervention measures or policy changes to address risky behaviors in students and delay implementation of SBE’s policy on School-Based Mental Health Initiatives. The amendment also allows local school administrative units to withdraw from the “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child” pilot program at their discretion. 

HB 159:  Charter School TSERS Election

House Bill 159 extends the time a charter school has to elect to become a participating employer in the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS) from one year to two years.

 HB 532:  Modify UNC Laboratory Schools

This bill, as covered in a prior newsletter, increases the number of allowed UNC System lab schools from eight to at least nine, among other changes.

HB 704: Divide School Systems/Study Committee

This bill establishes the Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Division of Local School Administrative Units (LEAs) to study the feasibility of dividing LEAs. Ultimately, the Committee would submit a report outlining their findings to the Office of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, and the Legislative Library.

NC Student in a Digital Learning Environment

HB 800: Various Changes to Charter School Laws

This bill, summarized in a recent update, makes several changes to statutes governing charter schools. This week, the bill was changed by the Senate Rules Committee. The new version of the bill increases the amount of enrollment growth not considered a material revision of a charter to 25% for the 2017-18 academic year, and 30% for the 2018-19 academic year, for schools not identified as low performing. Enrollment growth beyond these percentages requires approval from the State Board of Education. While the prior version of the bill would allow the SBE to approve enrollment growth of beyond 20% in charter schools identified as low performing under certain conditions, the new version restricts the enrollment growth allowed in a low performing charter school to 20% altogether. 

School Bus

SB 55:School Bus Cameras/Civil Penalties

SB 55 gives local boards of education the option to install automated school bus safety cameras to capture photos of vehicles passing stopped school buses. The bill directs the State Board of Education to, upon the request of local boards, enter into regional or statewide contracts with private vendors to install and operate the cameras, and to develop a model request for proposals and contract for use by local boards. The bill also authorizes interlocal agreements aimed at enforcing school bus traffic laws with the cameras, and allows county boards of commissioners to adopt ordinances imposing civil penalties for passing a stopped school bus when the violation does not cause injury or death and is not criminally prosecuted. 

SB 78: Cost to Comply/Fed Ed Funds/PED Study 

This bill directs DPI to study, report, and provide data to the General Assembly on the costs incurred by LEAs of compliance with federal education funding mandates by January 15, 2018. 

NC Students in a Digital Learning Environment

SB 169: Teaching Excellence Bonus Expansion

This bill, as covered in a prior newsletter, addresses the issue of teachers who qualified for a bonus under the pilot programs initiated last session (3rd grade reading, AP/IB, CTE) but did not receive them due to changing grades or courses involuntarily.

SB 468: QZAB Use Modification

Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) were created by Congress in 1997 to help low-income school districts. The bill, summarized here, makes changes to the approved uses for QZAB funds, and an amendment made by the House added other changes to the bill. 

NC Middle School Classroom

SB 599:  Excellent Educators for Every Classroom

As covered in previous newsletters, SB 599 replaces the current lateral entry system of alternative teacher certification with “residency licensure.” The measure passed the House on Friday with a few amendments. One amendment expands the reimbursement of teacher licensure fees, included in the budget, to teachers applying for a residency license through the system established in SB 599. 

Other Action This Week

H482: County Commissioners' Role in School Building Acquisition

This bill clarifies that the amount spent on acquiring school buildings is subject to the approval of county boards of commissioners. The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday with three amendments, but the House did not concur with the amendments. A conference committee was appointed to work out those differences between the two chambers’ versions of the bill.

HB 894: Veterans/Health Care/Youth Suicide Prevention

HB 894, originally a bill creating a health care pilot program for veterans in Cumberland County, was altered by the House Appropriations Committee this week to include language in HB 285 that directs the State Board of Education to develop a youth suicide awareness and prevention training program for all school personnel who work directly with students. The bill specifies that applicable personnel should be trained within the first 12 months of employment and every 2 years after the first training. In addition to the state program, the bill allows local school administrative units to develop their own versions of the program, as long as certain requirements are met. The bill passed the House on Wednesday, and will next be considered by the Senate Rules Committee.

Bills Affecting the State Health Plan, Retirement System, and Pensions

Several bills affecting the State Health Plan, Retirement System, and Pensions have had action this week. Click on the bill number or name to read a summary of the bill written by the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division. After following the link, click the most recent summary available.

HB 176: Pensions Integrity Act of 2017.-AB

Presented to the Governor on 6/28/2017



HB 183: Retirement Admin. Changes Act of 2017.-AB

Presented to the Governor on 6/28/2017

HB 299: State Health Plan Administrative Changes.-AB

Presented to the Governor on 6/28/2017

Draft of North Carolina's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan

The latest draft of the Consolidated State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is now available online. ESSA, signed into law in 2015, is the federal replacement to No Child Left Behind. The Consolidated State Plan addresses issues of school accountability, student assessments, and support for struggling schools, among other elements. As ESSA continues to be implemented across the country, the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction are working to make sure our state remains in compliance and is able to maximize its benefit from this sweeping legislation. The public and other stakeholders of North Carolina's public schools are invited to provide feedback on the draft via email to Lou Fabrizio at lou.fabrizio@dpi.nc.gov or Donna Brown at donna.brown@dpi.nc.gov.

DPI Logo

See this link for a complete list of bills impacting K-12 education.

North Carolina General Assembly 



    • Martez Hill  –  Executive Director  |  919-807-3404
    • Cecilia Holden  –  Director of Legislative Affairs and Special Initiatives  |  919-807-4035
    • Robb Jansen  –  Policy Development Analyst  |  919-807-3407
    • Anne Murtha  –  Legislative Specialist  |  919-807-3403
    • Dylan Blackburn – Legislative Intern

    To view previous 2017 Weekly Legislative Updates click here.

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