Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Other Legislative Highlights

Below are several bills that have been introduced in the House or Senate during the last week:

  • House Bill 130 would change from October 16 to June 16 the deadline for a child’s fifth birthday in order for the child to attend kindergarten that fall.
  • Senate Bill 82 would create felony counts of “endangering a juvenile” for adults who place children in dangerous situations without intentionally injuring them.
  • Several bills were recommended by the House Select Committee on Public School Construction, which has met in recent months to study ways to meet the growing needs of school systems across the state. It is expected that our state’s school systems need to build $9.8 billion worth of facilities over the next five years. House Bill 66 would allow all 100 counties to levy a one half-cent sales tax with proceeds dedicated to local school construction. House Bill 67 would allow local school districts to seek a refund on sales taxes they pay.
  • Senate Bill 70 would reduce the waiting period for retired teachers to return to the classroom without loss of benefits.
  • House Bill 81 would increase salaries of full-time faculty and staff at community colleges, with an appropriation of more than $134 million over two years.
  • Senate Bill 106 would remove the cap on the number of Charter Schools in North Carolina.
  • House Bill 65 would streamline the approval process of school construction projects and renovation plans.
  • House Bill 66 would authorize counties to levy one-half cent local sales and use taxes, which would be used for public school construction purposes if approved by the voters of that district.
  • Senate Bill 83 would make it a felony for the subject of a domestic violence order to trespass on property considered a safe house for domestic violence victims regardless of whether the person covered by the order is there.
  • Senate Bill 87 would prohibit the sale or distribution of video games and software determined to be graphically violent or sexually explicit.
  • House Bill 119 would include Internet safety instruction for students as part of the school technology plan.
  • House Bill 121 would require local school boards to ensure that high school science labs are equipped with safety gear for students and teachers.
  • Senate Bill 89 would establish a study commission on lethal injection and create a moratorium on executions until June 1, 2009, while the panel completes its study.
  • House Bill 122 would require hospitals to give free influenza vaccines to all employees who have direct patient contact.
  • Senate Bill 66 would create a commission to study the known environmental causes and triggers of cancer.
  • House Bill 77 would set a 20 percent renewable energy and efficiency standard for the state’s electric power generators by 2021.
  • House Bill 125 would dedicate $50 million over two years to the state Division of Public Health to help deliver 10 essential public health services in all counties.
  • House Bill 127 calls for a referendum to authorize issuance of $500 million in bonds to fund wastewater and drinking water projects.
  • House Bill 91 would allow for residents to register to vote at one-stop absentee voting sites and immediately cast a ballot at the site.
  • House Bill 68 would set formal guidelines under which biological parents or other blood relatives could create a written agreement with an adoptive parent to stay in touch with children after adoption.
  • House Bill 69 would change motor vehicle inspections and emissions from annually to once every two years.
  • House Bill 72 would raise the monthly pension for certain firefighters and rescue squad workers from $165 per month to $170.
  • House Bill 85 would extend by one year the grandfather date for some lifetime licenses from coastal recreational fishing license requirements.
  • House Bill 90 would outlaw hidden compartments in vehicles.
  • Senate Bill 92 would require owners of dangerous dogs to acquire liability insurance.
  • Senate Bill 96 would appropriate $2.9 million over two years for 10 family assistance centers for the North Carolina National Guard and armed forces and reserves.
  • Senate Bill 111 would allow adult adoptees or their direct descendants to receive a copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate and other information related to the adoption.
  • The House Study Committee on Abandoned Cemeteries, which met prior to the start of this year’s session, made several legislative recommendations, including: House Bill 107 would clarify state laws related to abandoned and neglected cemeteries so to encourage their care and recast the statutes related to removing graves from property; and House Bill 105 would make it a felony to knowingly and willfully disturb, remove or desecrate human remains interred in a cemetery without consent or by law.
  • Senator David Weinstein has introduced two bills that would make changes to the General Assembly and the compensation and election schedule for legislators. Senate Bill 85 would amend the North Carolina constitution by changing the length of Senate terms from two years to four years and Senate Bill 98 would raise compensation for state legislators, ranging from an increase from $13,951 to $14,718 annually for House and Senate members to an increase from $38,151 to $40,249 annually for the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore.

I hope you will continue to let me know how you feel about the issues that are being debated by the North Carolina General Assembly, and the challenges you and your family are facing each day. By working together, we can make North Carolina a better place to live, work, and raise a family.



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