When the Senate convenes for its last Monday before the session gavels to a close, lawmakers will take up three of the more controversial bills of the year. Here’s what’s on tonight’s agenda:
House Bill 539 would shift funds from traditional public school to charter schools. Sen. Chad Barefoot is advocating that the money should follow the child, giving charter schools a fairer share of state funds.
If approved, this will allow charter schools to receive funding for services and costs borne exclusively by local public schools. Critics say these changes will deprive local public school of funding at a time when they can least afford it.
House Bill 318, Protect North Carolina Workers Act, would permanently bar North Carolina’s ability to suspend SNAP’s three month time limit for childless adults who are working fewer than 20 hours per week.
SNAP benefits are limited to three months out of every three years for childless, nondisabled adults unless they are working at least half time, participating in a qualified job training program or certified volunteer placement for 20 hours a week, or in workfare. This time limit applies regardless of whether these individuals are actually able to find employment or training opportunities.
Tazra Mitchell of the NC Budget & Tax Center explains how this could adversely impact more than 100,000 North Carolinians.
Policy Watch’s Rob Schofield weighs in on HB 318 here.
Finally House Bill 765, known as the Regulatory Reform Act of 2015, is also up for concurrence.
Environmentalists say HB 765 has many flaws including a provision exempting businesses that voluntarily report environmental violations from civil penalties.
The good folks at Clean Water for North Carolina note this bill would also:
* Significantly reduce the number of state air quality monitors
* Relax the requirements for controlling stormwater pollution and resort development on the coast
* Reduce public access to information about air pollution in their neighborhood
* Allow the destruction of intermittent streams
The full fact sheet on HB 765 complied by CWNC can be found here.
The Senate goes into session at 10:30 a.m. this morning, then reconvenes at 7:00 p.m. for the final votes of the day.