During Thursday’s House session, Speaker Tim Moore stated that House and Senate budget leaders are in their final hours of negotiations. The budget adjustments are expected to be released and voted on next week. When the budget is released, it will be in a conference report, which means that it cannot be amended. We expect it to include salary increases, school safety provisions, and school capital funds. We will send out a legislative alert when the budget is released, highlighting key education provisions, followed by a more comprehensive summary in next Friday’s legislative update.
With the goal of wrapping of the legislative short session by July 1, we can expect next week to be busy at the legislature. The Senate is scheduled to start its week with a voting session on Monday at 7:00 pm. Speaker Moore said that he does not anticipate votes being taken in Monday’s House session, but if necessary, the House will also have a voting session at 7:00 pm.
Education Bill in Committee Next Week
HB 1173: Elect SBE Members/Super as Chair of SBE (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; Lee Zachary, R-Yadkin) is scheduled to be heard in the House Education K-12 Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 28, at 1:00 pm (livestream). This bill is a constitutional amendment that would require the election of State Board of Education (SBE) members and make the Superintendent of Public Instruction the chair of the SBE.
The SBE currently has 11 members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly for eight-year terms (eight members are from each of the State’s education regions and three members are at-large). Currently, the State Superintendent is elected to a four-year term and is the Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer of the SBE.
This proposed constitutional amendment would require SBE members to be elected from each of North Carolina’s 14 congressional districts and serve four-year terms. If HB 1173 becomes session law, it will be on the ballot in November. Over the years, NCSBA has heard concerns from states with a similar structure/method as the one being proposed in this bill.
Statewide Education Bills with Action This Week
House conferees for SB 671: Virtual Educ./Remote Acad./Virtual Charters (sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes) were appointed earlier this week and negotiations on a compromise bill are underway. The House conferees are Representatives Jefferey Elmore, R-Wilkes; Jason Saine, R-Lincoln; and John Torbett, R-Gaston. The Senate conferees are Senators Michael Lee, R-New Hanover; Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga; and Don Davis, D-Pitt.
SB 671 contains virtual/remote instruction provisions, including, for the 2022-2023 school year,
- Allows public school units (PSUs) to continue providing remote instruction for severe weather and other emergencies
- Allows PSUs that were assigned a separate school code by May 1, 2021, to continue providing virtual instruction
- Allows PSUs that submitted a virtual instruction plan to DPI for the 2021-2022 school year to continue providing virtual instruction according to that plan
The bill also creates a new type of remote academy for all PSUs, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. Click here for an official bill summary.
HB 159: Education Law Changes (sponsored by Senator Michael Lee, R-New Hanover) failed to concur in the House, and House conferees were appointed: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes; and David Willis, R-Union. On the House floor, Representative Torbett explained that the House did not concur with HB 159 because it will become a K-12 education omnibus bill, and the House has several items it would like to add. The Governmental Relations team is working to find out what provisions will be added.
In its current form, HB 159 makes various “technical” changes to education laws, including extending the principal licensure waiver from August 31, 2022, to August 31, 2024. This extension was a request of DPI based on a 2021 session law that provided the waiver for certain individuals in the process of becoming a licensed principal and exempted principals granted a license for any school year from 2010-2011 to 2020-2021 from certain statutory licensure requirements. Click here for an official bill summary.
SB 496: DOI Omnibus Bill.-AB (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson; Tom McInnis, R-Richmond) failed to concur in the Senate last week and House and Senate conferees were appointed. Section 6 of the bill requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner of Insurance with a list of all its insurable buildings, equipment and contents of the building, and their insurance values by October 1 each year. Section 6 also requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner with copies of insurance policies when purchasing insurance from an authorized company. Click here for an official bill summary.
Retirement Bills with Action This Week
HB 177: Extend Spiking Moratorium/LGERS Surety passed the Senate 37-0 and has been sent to the House for a concurrence vote. Prior to Senate approval, the Senate Pensions and Retirement Committee replaced the original contents of the bill with a bill that extends the pension-spiking litigation pause and the report deadline established in a 2021 session law. The report will include recommendations from NCSBA, the NC Department of the State Treasurer, and other organizations that will reduce the number of pension spiking cases and lawsuits. The bill does not allow the Treasurer’s Office to intercept funds during the litigation pause that would have otherwise been directed to a LEA. NCSBA supports HB 177. Click here for an official bill summary.
HB 1056: Ret. & Treasury Admin. Changes Act of 2022.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill, R-Randolph; Carson Smith, R-Pender) and HB 1058: Ret. & Treasury Tech. Corrections Act of 2022.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill; Carson Smith) both passed the Senate 37-0 and have been sent to the Governor for his signature.
HB 1058 makes technical corrections and HB 1056 does the following:
- Clarifies that the Local Government Commission can decline to review a LEA’s borrowing request under a guaranteed energy savings contract if the LEA did not submit procurement documents prior to sending out the request for proposal
- Under the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS), allows the Retirement System to correct errors for the “transfer benefit” to allow monies to be returned to supplemental retirement plans (the reversal would include lost earnings)
- Makes changes related to the treatment of inactive employers and deadlines for reactivation under TSERS
- Makes changes related to the establishment of a default option for employing units that fail to select an option for the transfer for remaining assets upon the discontinuation of the Department of State Treasurer-sponsored 403(b) plans
- Makes changes related to the clarification of the eligibility for long-term disability benefits under TSERS
Local Education Bills with Action This Week
HB 1169: Elect Thomasville City Schools Board Members (primary sponsor: Representative Sam Watford, R-Davidson) passed the House 103-0 and has been sent to the Senate. This bill would change the Thomasville City Schools Board of Education from appointed to (nonpartisan) elected members, beginning in 2023. Click here for an official bill summary.
HB 995: Greensboro Deannex/Weldon City Bd of Ed Pay (primary sponsor: Representative Jon Hardister, R-Guilford) was modified and approved by the Senate Finance Committee and referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The modified version of the bill increases the compensation of the chair and members of the Weldon City Board of Education, allows the board to increase the monthly compensation of its members, and allows the board to establish an expense allowance for its members. Click here for an official bill summary.
NCSBA Bill Tracking Chart
Click here for a list of education bills that NCSBA is tracking for this legislative biennium.
Monday, June 27
5:30 pm – Senate Rules Committee – Legislative Building, rm 1027/1128 (livestream)
Tuesday, June 28
9:00 am – House Finance Committee – Legislative Offices Building – rm 643 (livestream)
1:00 pm – House Education K-12 Committee – Legislative Offices Building – rm 643 (livestream)
- HB 1173: Elect SBE Members/Super as Chair of SBE
- SB 346: Emergency Management Act Revisions. (PCS)
- SB 593: Special Education Due Process Hearings. (PCS)
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association