Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In Other News...7-31-06

Additional Help For Teachers

Earlier this week, Governor Easley signed into law HB 1151, sponsored by Rep. Maggie Jeffus, which requires all North Carolina public schools to give teachers duty-free lunch periods as well as instructional planning time, with the goal of at least five hours per week. With this new law, North Carolina becomes the first state in the nation where a team of teachers decides how and when to establish planning time, according to the National Governors Association. The new law mandates that the School Improvement Teams, which include classroom teachers and administrators at each school, put into writing a policy to provide weekly planning time for teachers.

Only one-third of elementary teachers, according to the 2006 Teacher Working Conditions Survey, say they have adequate time for planning. Many teachers say they have no breaks between the beginning and end of the school day. As a result, teachers have little time to interact and learn from their colleagues in the same subject or at the same grade level in order to individualize instruction for each student.

There are 94,000 full-time public school classroom teachers in North Carolina, 47,000 of whom teach kindergarten through 8th grade, who will benefit from this new law. The provisions will start with the 2007-2008 school year.

Governor Signs Identity Theft Bill to Protect Veterans, Military, National Guard & Reserves

Governor Easley has signed into law HB 2883, which protects veterans, active military, and members of the National Guard and Reserves against identity theft.

The new law says that members of the military and veterans who may have been victims of a computer security breach in Washington, DC will not have to pay the typical $10 fee to have personal financial information withheld from release by credit reporting agencies. The bill was drafted after a laptop computer belonging to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs containing sensitive information on up to 26.5 million people was stolen in May. The computer has since been recovered and investigators say the personal data has not been compromised, but veterans remain concerned about the integrity of their personal financial information.

Affected individuals need to submit a copy of the notification they received from the VA with their request to freeze their financial information to the credit reporting agency to avoid the fee. The law is effective immediately and continues until July 1, 2007, or when the federal government implements its own program to pay for the credit reporting freeze for those veterans and others.

Information on what the Veterans Affairs Department is doing concerning the data security breech can be found on the web at: http://www.firstgov.gov/veteransinfo.shtml or calling 1-800-333-4636 (FED INFO).

More information on how to avoid identity theft can be found in the web at: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft.


It has been a privilege to serve as your House member during these two sessions of the General Assembly. Please feel free to contact me anytime you have comments or questions.



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