The General Assembly’s Short Session will begin next week, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The MVA Public Affairs Legislative Report on North Carolina will be distributed weekly to keep you up to date on the latest legislative issues facing the state.
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Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee
The Committee met on Wednesday, May 7, to approve their final report to the General Assembly. The report included three draft legislative proposals that would:
Require local administrative units to provide schematic diagrams and keys to the main entrance of all school facilities to law enforcement,
Clarify the process for review of charter applications by the NC Charter Schools Advisory Board, raise the application fee for charters, require adoption of rules for charter application process, clarify the appeals process for denials of charter applications and subject charter schools to the open meetings/public records laws, and
Require the State Board to identify military connected students using the uniform education reporting system.
In addition to approving their report, the committee heard from Lt. Governor Dan Forest on his proposal to establish an Education Endowment Fund designed to provide additional support for K-12 public schools. The new fund would be funded by the following:
Revenue generated by the sale of special license plates,
Gifts, grants, and other contributions given to the State designated for the Fund, and
General fund appropriations.
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology
The Committee held their final meeting of the Interim on Thursday, May 8. The Committee approved their final report to the General Assembly. Included in the report was draft legislation dealing with 911 service, student privacy and educational longitudinal data.
Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy
The Commission met on Thursday, May 8, for the final time before the Short Session. The Commission reviewed its legislative proposal and report for 2014. The proposal, the Energy Modernization Act, contains a variety of energy related items including extending the deadline for development of a modern regulatory program for the management of oil and gas exploration; enacting certain exemptions from requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act applicable to rules for the management of oil and gas exploration, development and production; creating the North Carolina Oil and Gas Commission and reconstituting the North Carolina Mining Commission; establishing a severance tax and direct studies on various issues.
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance
The Committee met on Friday, May 9. The Committee received an update from the Division of Workforce Solutions on ongoing efforts with respect to local office service realignment and joint efforts with the Division of Employment Security to ensure that recipients of unemployment benefits are receiving appropriate services to assist in securing new employment. The Division of Employment Security gave an update on collections of overpayment amounts, the Division’s backlog in adjudicating claims, and the State’s efforts to reduce the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund’s debt to the federal government. As of today, that debt is down to approximately $1.3 billion. The Committee approved its report to the 2014 Regular Session of the General Assembly and recommended legislation on the following topics:
Adding a requirement that claimants of unemployment benefits submit an acceptable form of photo identification to the Division of Employment Security.
Eliminating the variable range for the unemployment insurance benefits duration period. Under current law, the maximum period over which an individual may claim benefits varies based on both the individual’s work experience and the overall unemployment rate. However, due to a quirk in the statutes, all claimants are allowed to claim benefits up to the maximum time period if the unemployment rate is 8% or below and there is minimal variation thereafter. This recommendation would simplify the current process by basing the maximum duration of unemployment benefits solely on the overall unemployment rate without regard to an individual’s work experience.
Clarification of the confidential nature of information maintained by the Division of Employment Security.
Validation of certain determinations made by the Division of Employment Security prior to the appointment of the Board of Review and changes with respect to how members of the Board of Review are appointed.
Allowing the Division of Employment Security to garnish employer receipts (such as credit card receipts) when the Division prevails in a civil action against the employer to collect unpaid employment taxes.
Technical and administrative changes.
In the News
News & Observer: Berger: Drilling, easing regulations, teacher pay on NC Legislature's to-do list
Observer: McCrory expects his coal ash plan to be part of legislation
Observer: New push launched to end partisan redistricting
WRAL: Fracking recommendations headed for session
AP: Analysts expect $445M NC shortfall
Observer: Democrats elect Jeff Jackson to replace former state Sen. Clodfelter
Observer: Google praises Charlotte’s Google Fiber application
AP: Danville prepares for coal ash spill dredging