NCDP Clips for April 12, 2013

  • The deadline for non-appropriations bill filings passes in the House, as education and the City of Asheville take a big hit. Friday’s clips:


NEWS & OBSERVER – House bill limits pre-kindergarten eligibility
A new House bill would limit eligibility for the state’s pre-kindergarten program so for a child to get in next year, families couldn’t make more than half what the do now.
The bill would reduce income eligibility from about 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 100 percent. If the income limit was in place this year, a family of three could not make more than than $19,530 a year to have a four-year-old qualify for N.C. Pre-K. Some of the other ways to qualify, such as having developmental needs or being a child in a military family, remain in the bill, although a child with limited English proficiency would no longer meet the guidelines.

WRAL – Atkinson concerned by Senate school grading plan
State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said Thursday that legislation moving forward in the Senate that would assign letter grades to each North Carolina public school would provide a misleading picture of their annual performance.

Senate Bill 361, which is also known as the "Excellent Schools Act of 2013," would use a points system based on achievement test results and other measures, such as graduation rates, to arrive at a final grade of A through F.

NEWS & OBSERVER – GOP lawmakers to begin push for private school vouchers
House Speaker Pro Tem Paul “Skip” Stam said he plans to introduce a $90 million plan to provide vouchers that will allow many parents to send their children to private schools.
Stam said the bill will offer a maximum $4,200 “equal opportunity scholarship grant” per child for those who meet income eligibility requirements, he told the Carolina Journal.

NEWS & OBSERVER – McCrory changes language to urge UNC system change
Gov. Pat McCrory told the UNC Board of Governors on Thursday that the status quo is no longer acceptable in the operation and funding of education in North Carolina.
“My goal is to continue to have the brand of our university system be the first rate brand in the nation and in the world,” he said. “It’s going to be crucial to our economic development, but that also means we’ve got to change some things. And that’s not change for the sake of change. It’s change just like the private sector has to do with their customers and their products every single day.”

THE DAILY TAR HEEL – Dartmouth College’s Carol Folt is UNC’s chancellor pick
For the first time in 224 years, UNC’s top leadership role will likely be held by a woman.
According to three sources familiar with the chancellor search, UNC-system President Thomas Ross will nominate Carol Folt, the interim president at Dartmouth College, for the chancellor position today.


WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL – Bill would drop N.C. corporate income tax from highest to lowest in Southeast
A group of four North Carolina House Republicans, including Forsyth Rep. Debra Conrad, have introduced a bill that would make the state’s corporate income tax the lowest in the Southeast for most companies.


ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES – Water bill moves forward
A bill that would force the transfer of Asheville’s water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District passed the N.C. House this afternoon on a second reading.
The bill, called “Regionalization of Public Utilities,” doesn’t mention Asheville by name, but the effect is a transfer of Asheville’s water system to MSD. The city would receive no compensation for its assets.


WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL – Senate OKs hiking maximum NC speed limit to 75 mph
An effort to raise the maximum possible speed limit on North Carolina roads to 75 mph has raced through the state Senate.
The chamber voted overwhelmingly Thursday to give the state Department of Transportation authority to set speed limits that high for some interstates and other limited-access highways. The bill now goes to the House.


Clay Pittman
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @ClayPittman