Humor unleashed in the General Assembly
By SANDY SEMANS
weather kept most legislators at home a couple of days during this
week's session, but the lone senator who showed up for work decided to
take advantage of being a majority of one.
Observer reports that after Sen. Jeff Jackson's scheduled appointment
fell through, he decided to put his time and situation of being the
only one in the General Assembly to good use.
“I thought I would fix the state,” the first-term Charlotte Democrat told the newspaper.
He then began his imaginary work and kept his constituents up to speed via Facebook.
the time he decided to call it a day, he had expanded Medicaid, pushed
through nonpartisan redistricting, invested in wind and solar energy,
put money back into higher education, and more. He also noted that he
ended a filibuster because he had to leave the chamber to get a drink
“Just came back from the Senate chamber.
All votes were unanimous,” he posted. “This is going to be like ‘Night
at the Museum’ except at the end we’ll have a stronger middle class.”
the end of the week, reality once again prevailed in the legislative
chambers and proposed legislation began moving again.
House Bill 93,
if passed by both chambers and signed by the governor, would eliminate
the tolls on all the state's ferries. The bill also aims to establish
the Ferry Capital Improvement Account. Revenues for the account would
be derived by receipts from advertising, sponsorships, and concessions.
All unallotted and unencumbered balances on the last day of the fiscal
year that were appropriated from the Highway Trust Fund to the Ferry
Division would not revert. Other appropriations and donations from
public and private sources also would go into the fund that would be
used for capital improvements and ferry facilities.
Senate Bill 103
would instruct Boards of Elections officials to notify voters without
identification cards acceptable to the state, that they can apply for
an absentee ballot to use for voting.
Senate Bill 90,
sponsored by Sen. Bill Cook, R-First District, if passed, would mandate
that vehicles have two brake lights in the rear – one on each side -
and that motorcycles likewise have a brake light in the rear.
Senate Bill 105,
if it becomes law, would mandate that all corporations and LLCs report
the total number of veterans in their employ on their annual report
sent to the Secretary of State's Office. That office would compile the
number of veterans employed by such companies and publish the data on
the web by June 1 each year.
Education drew a mix of bills.
Senate Bill 94
is a Constitutional amendment proposed to be placed on the ballot of an
upcoming election. The proposal would abolish the office of State
Superintendent, currently an elected position, and the State School
Board. If passed by voters, the board and superintendents would be
replaced by creating a Department of Education with a secretary
appointed by the governor.
Senate Bill 107 seeks to restore pay for teachers and instructional support personnel who have master's degrees.
Senate Bill 95
proposes a new structure and guidelines for the reduction in school
personnel. The bill states: “In determining which positions shall be
subject to a reduction, a local school administrative unit shall
consider the following:
considerations, such as identifying positions, departments, courses,
programs, operations, and other areas where there are less essential,
duplicative, or excess personnel; job responsibility and position
inefficiencies; opportunities for combined work functions; and
decreased student or other demands for curriculum, programs,
operations, or other services.
Organizational considerations, such as anticipated organizational needs
of the school system and program or school enrollment.
identifying which teachers in similar positions shall be subject to a
dismissal, demotion, or reduction to employment on a part-time basis
under the policy, a local school administrative unit shall consider
work performance and teacher evaluations."
Semans is a retired newspaper editor and reporter who now works as a
free-lance writer. She lives in Stumpy Point. Her update on the
goings-on in this session of the General Assembly will appear weekly in
The Island Free Press, usually on Friday.)
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED 2015 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
First bill filed would prohibit condemning property for economic development
Legislative Update: And they are off -- sort of
Legislative Update: The gold rush in Raleigh is underway
Legislative Update Most Bills Moving At Snails Pace But One Achieves Warp Speed