Friday, July 4, 2008

NC Legislative Update: Friday Wrap Up

Happy 4th of July.

Here is what happened before we all took the weekend off to celebrate and watch fireworks.

Rumors buzzed all week around the budget negotiations. On Thursday it was announced that a budget agreement had been reached. Votes on the budget will take place on either Monday and Tuesday of next week or Tuesday and Wednesday.  

Bills on The Arc of North Carolina’s Agenda:

HB 12: Students with Disabilities & Special Education Changes.
This legislation passed the House last year with unanimous support. Over the last two weeks this bill made it out of the Senate Committee on Education and the Senate. On Wednesday, July 2, the House voted to concur with 115 yes and 0 nays. HB 12 is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
House Bill 12 restores a protection for students who have not yet been identified as needing special education services, but whose behavior clearly indicates the need for such services. This bill will now head over to the House chamber for concurrence. We are expecting to see this legislation on the Governor’s desk for his signature within the next week.

HB 1366: School Violence Prevention Act

The House and the Senate passed this legislation during last session. However, the House version included enumeration and the Senate version did not. On Tuesday, July 1, House Judiciary 1 recommended the full House not concur with the Senate version of the bill. On Wednesday, July 2, after a long and passionate debate the House voted 60 to 56 to not concur. We appreciate the work of our dedicated advocates who made phone calls and wrote emails to House members requesting they not concur with the Senate. We are now working on getting this bill to a conference committee.
HB 1366, better known as the Bullying Bill, would establish a state wide anti-bullying policy for our schools. The enumerated categories, which include students with disabilities, were created to express to administrators and teachers the categories of students who are most vulnerable to bullying.

HB 2523 Autism Committee Recommendations
This bill passed the House last week. On Wednesday this bill passed the Senate with a vote of 43 Yes to 0 Nays. This legislation removes the age limit on our State’s Silver Alert system. It also includes two provisions to address the need for training of law enforcement, court and judicial personnel on effective communication with people who have Autism.

Preview of Next Week:

Look for a vote on the budget early in the week.

Bills of Interest:
HB 93: Transportation of Individuals in Wheelchair Study.
This bill passed the House last year and the Senate this week. It will be returning to the House for a concurrence vote. This bill will study the safe transportation of people who use wheelchairs.

HB1366: School Violence Prevention Act
This legislation should be in committee this week. It will then travel back through both chambers for a final vote.

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