I. For the week of Feb. 22, 2021, among the many committees that met, the Appropriations, Education Committee, of which I am a member, met jointly with the Senate. The Legislature’s Fiscal Research Division provided a budget overview for the committee. During our second committee meeting, overviews of the North Carolina Community College System and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities were discussed.
II. On Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, the House convened to vote on three bills:
HB78: Report on K-12 Computer Science Data
HB79: Student Digital Learning Access
HB82: Summer Learning Choice for NC Families
All three bills passed the House unanimously.
On Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, Gov. Cooper vetoed SB37, In-Person Learning Choice for Families. The Senate attempted to override the veto, but fell one vote shy of the override, 29-20. The State Constitution requires a three-fifths vote to override a Governor’s veto.
III. The week of March 1, 2021, began with various appropriations subcommittees meeting as the House and Senate prepare to put forth a budget for the biennium. The full Appropriations Committee met Tuesday and we passed HB196, entitled, 2021 COVID-19 Response and Relief.
HB196 made its way to the House floor on March 3, 2021, where it passed unanimously. The relief legislation provides over $1.7 billion of funding to North Carolina communities. Highlights of the bill include:
– $600 million statewide for testing, tracing, and prevention needs
– $100 million for K-12 public school needs
– $290 million for higher education emergency relief
– $40 million to support summer learning programs in addition to education funds approved by the legislature last month
As a co-sponsor of HB 128, Increase Access to Sporting Venues in Schools, I was pleased that the bill passed the House by a vote of 77-42. The Senate will now receive the bill for consideration.
This bill would allow spectators at up to 50% capacity for sporting events, graduation and commencement ceremonies, and other outdoor activities hosted by the qualifying school, public and non-public kindergarten-12 schools, community colleges, and constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina. Currently, the governor’s executive orders limit capacity to 30%.
On Thursday, March 4, 2021, my first bill as a primary sponsor, HB81, In-State Tuition Pilot Program, passed the North Carolina House. The bill would allow residents of certain border counties in Georgia to receive in-state tuition to Tri-County Community College. Colleges in Georgia are offering in-state tuition to residents of North Carolina. This bill will allow Tri-County Community College to compete in attracting students. No North Carolina resident will be displaced as a result of the legislation.
Below are a few of the most recent bills that I have either introduced or co-sponsored:
H100: Highway Cleanup Act of 2021
H126: Community College System Salary Increases
H128: Increase Access to Sporting Venues in Schools
H141: Promote North Carolina Sawmills
H182: Increasing Meat Production and Capacity