NCSBA Legislative Update – August 20, 2021

 

Budget Negotiations

Budget negotiations began this week with the appointment of House and Senate conferees. There is a total of 44 House conferees (plus 3 advisory, non-voting conferees) and 24 Senate conferees. While a majority of conferees are Republicans, Democrats who voted to approve their chamber’s budget were also appointed (9 representatives and 4 senators). As a reminder, the Senate voted 32-17 to approve its version of the budget, and the House voted 72-41 to approve its version of the budget.

According to a news source, Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said that the goal is for the two chambers to reach a consensus by the end of August, followed by collaboration with the Governor and final floor votes around September 9. NCSBA Editorial: that’s an ambitious goal.

In case you missed it last week, click here for NCSBA’s comparison of House and Senate budget education appropriations.

Education-Related Bills with Action This Week

Statewide Bills

The Senate voted 46-0 to adopt the Conference Committee Report for HB 84: Sex Offender Premises Restrictions (primary sponsors: Representatives Harry Warren, R-Rowan; Allen McNeill, R-Randolph; Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance; Sarah Stevens, R-Surry), followed by presentation to the Governor. The bill does the following:

  • Extends premise restrictions for sex offenders to include those convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Clarifies that a registered sex offender is prohibited from knowingly residing within 1,000 feet of any property line on which a school or childcare center is located (language from SB 52)

SB 693: Expedite Child Safety and Permanency (primary sponsors: Senators Steve Jarvis, R-Davidson; Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth; Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson) passed the House 72-30 and has been sent to the Senate for a concurrence vote. Section 6 of the bill requires public schools to provide students in grades 6-12 with information and resources on child abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse. The information and resources must be distributed to students in a document at the beginning of each school year, displayed in visible/high-traffic areas in the school, and include warning signs of abuse and how to report it. The bill does not appropriate funds for this mandate. Section 6 of SB 693 incorporates language from HB 205, which passed the House 119-0. Click here for an official bill summary.

Local Bill

HB 353: Winston-Salem/Forsyth and Wake Bds. of Ed. (primary sponsors: Representatives Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth; Lee Zachary, R-Yadkin) passed the House and was sent to the Senate. This bill staggers the terms of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and Wake County boards of education. Click here for an official bill summary.

Bill Chart

Click here for a chart of all education-related bills that NCBSA is tracking.

 

NCSBA has created a chart tracking local school boards’ policies/resolutions on school mask requirements. Click here to access the chart. In the past few weeks, 23 school boards have reversed their decision of allowing masks to be optional to now mandating masks. Currently, 80 school districts require masks and 35 allow masks to be optional.

For a majority of students, the school year starts on Monday, August 23. As your school district finalizes its mask policy, please email information to Richard Bostic at rbostic@ncsba.org, as well as any corrections to the chart.

 

The Board met in a called meeting on Thursday to approve contracts, including a three-year $49.7 million contract with Voyager Sopris Learning, Inc., to provide Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training to teachers. This training is part of the science of reading changes made to the Read to Achieve program by SB 387: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021/SL 2021-8.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rbostic@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – August 20, 2021