May 25, 2018
NCGA Week in Review
Budget preparation took up the majority of business at the legislature this
week. House and Senate budget writers anticipate that the budget will be
passed by both chambers late next week. Also, House and Senate leaders
released preview of key policy initiatives in the budget, which includes
investments in school safety, a broadband grant program, and raises for
teachers and various state employees.
House and Senate leadership have been focused on the budget this week.
According to budget writers in both chambers, the conference report to the
SB 99, is expected to be released late Monday evening in preparation for a joint
House and Senate appropriations meeting Tuesday morning. If all goes to
plan, the House will pass the budget on its second and third readings on
Thursday and Friday, respectively. The Senate will vote on the conference
report on Wednesday and Thursday after it is heard in the Appropriations,
Finance, and Pensions/Retirement committees.
On Thursday, members of the House Select Committee on School Safety
released their plan to include $35 million in the upcoming budget to
address schools safety issues. Lead by committee co-chairs Reps. David
Lewis (R-Harnett) and John Torbett (R-Gaston), members announced a
comprehensive funding initiative that includes $10 million in mental health
grants, $12 million for additional school resource officers, and $3 million
for additional mental health training for school employees. The plan also
includes $5 million for the “SPK UP” app, an anonymous tip app that was
used in a pilot program in various schools across the state. The app will
allow students to anonymously report threatening, bullying, and other
suspicious behavior. Committee leadership intends to pursue $30 to $90
million in Medicaid funds to support behavioral and mental health treatment
for students as well.
Read Speaker Moore’s press release
Raises for State Employees
State employees are expected to receive across the board raises this year.
State budget writers Sens. Harry Brown (R-Onslow), Brent Jackson
(R-Sampson), and Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) announced more than $200
million in the upcoming budget will be allocated to state employee raises.
The plan includes raising the minimum full time salary from $24,332 to
$31,200, and a 2 percent raise to employees whose salary is at or above the
current minimum. Teachers and state law enforcement are two groups of state
employees that legislative leaders identified for raises in this budget.
State troopers will receive around an 8 percent raise, which increases
their base pay from $39,000 to $44,000 annually. Budget leaders plan to
announce teacher raises next week.
Rural Broadband Grants
Legislative leaders announced a new rural broadband grant program that will
be included in this year’s state budget. The $10 million program would
offer grants to internet providers to offset 30 to 55 percent of the
startup costs to install broadband internet in rural areas. The initiative,
which will be known as the Growing Rural Economies with Access to
Technology (GREAT) program, will also be eligible for the state’s portion
of $600 million in federal funding for rural broadband. The new program is
very different from another legislative broadband initiative,
HB 68: BRIGHT Futures Act, which passed the House last year. Instead of grant funding, the “BRIGHT
Futures Act” would allow local governments to build and lease broadband
framework to private service providers. The bill is currently stalled in
the Senate Rules Committee, and is not expected to move forward.
Bills Filed This Week
A list of House bills filed on Monday is available
A list of House bills filed on Tuesday is available
A list of House bills filed on Wednesday is available
A list of House bills filed on Thursday is available
A list of Senate bills filed on Monday is available
A list of Senate bills filed on Wednesday is available
A list of Senate bills filed on Thursday is available
A Look Ahead to Next Week
Monday, May 28, 2018
7:00 PM Session Convenes (House)
7:00 PM Session Convenes (Senate)
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
10:00 AM Joint Appropriations Committee
Wednesday, May 29, 2018
10:00 AM Judiciary IV (House)
10:00 AM State and Local Government II (House)
11:00 AM Health (House)
2:00 PM Regulatory Reform (House)