NC General Assembly Leaders Unveil State Budget Investments in Schools, Economic Development, Infrastructure

North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) today announced a budget agreement.
 
The total spend of the budget is $27.9 billion and includes significant investments in teacher and state employee raises, infrastructure, economic development, and water and sewer.
 
Some highlights include:
 
  • Teachers will receive a 4.2% average increase in FY 22-23 and will receive a 9.1% total increase over the biennium.
  • School employees will receive the greater of 4% or an increase to $15/hour.
  • State agency employees will receive a 3.5% pay increase.
  • State Retirees: will receive an additional 1.0% one-time retiree supplement (total of 4% over biennium).
  • Economic Development: $876 million to supplement major projects.
  • School Safety Grants: $32 million for Safety Equipment, Students in Crisis, and Safety Training.
  • Mental health programs: $14.8 million.
  • Water and sewer: $600 million additional and $2.5 billion over the biennium.
 
In a joint statement, Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore said, “This is a responsible budget that responds to our current needs and plans for an uncertain economic future. This budget takes into account the strain of runaway spending from our federal government that is stretching North Carolinians’ budgets thin, and the burden of skyrocketing fuel prices and inflation. It’s imperative that we stay on track and continue the good work we’ve done in North Carolina to strengthen our economy, meet the needs of our citizens, and secure a bright future for our state.”
 
The budget can be read in full here.
 
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NC House Speaker Tim Moore Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs Ruling

Today the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
 
House Speaker Tim Moore said, “Today’s decision from the United States Supreme Court is long overdue and a major win for protecting life! The end of Roe v. Wade rightfully returns authority back to the states to determine abortion law.”
 
He continued, “While I remain unequivocally pro-life, the short budget adjustment session does not afford us sufficient time to take up the issue. However, North Carolinians can rest assured that we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that current restrictions on the books will be enforced. North Carolinians can also expect pro-life protections to be a top priority of the legislature when we return to our normal legislative session in January.”

U.S. Supreme Court Rules 8-1 to Allow the NC General Assembly to Intervene in Voter ID Case

Today the United States Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the North Carolina General Assembly can intervene in the federal voter ID case.
 
House Speaker Tim Moore said, “North Carolinians overwhelmingly support voter ID, and they deserve nothing less than the strongest representation from those who would uphold the will of the voters and our constitution, not a tepid defense by an attorney general who has a record of opposing voter ID. As stated in today’s decision, ‘More than once a North Carolina attorney general has opposed laws enacted by the General Assembly and declined to defend them fully in federal litigation.’”
 
He continued, “The U.S. Supreme Court has rightfully agreed with us that, without the participation of the General Assembly in defending voter ID, ‘important state interests would not be represented.’ Also, ‘ … while serving as a state senator the attorney general voted against an earlier voter-ID law and filed a declaration in support of a legal challenge against it.’ I am proud of our General Counsel and legal team for their diligent work on behalf of the voters. Rest assured, I will continue to fight to defend the will of the people for voter ID to become law as decided by the voters.”

House Health Committee Will Hear “Rural Healthcare Access and Savings Plan”

Tomorrow, June 23, the House Health Committee will hear SB 408, the “Rural Healthcare Access and Savings Plan.”
 
Among other things, the bill would:
 
  • Establish a Legislative Medicaid Rate Modernization and Savings Oversight Committee (“Oversight Committee”).
  • Increase access to healthcare in rural areas of the State and help preserve hospitals in rural areas of North Carolina.
  • Direct the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a Medicaid Modernization and Savings Plan (“Plan”) to be presented to the Oversight Committee for a vote on December 15, 2022.
  • Give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the necessary authority to negotiate with the federal government to alter Medicaid eligibility, subject to a vote by the General Assembly, and would set certain guardrails to ensure no net cost to the state.
  • If the Oversight Committee approves the Plan presented to committee for legislative approval, legislation implementing the Plan would be voted on by the General Assembly on or after December 16, 2022.
Benefits to the State include:
 
  • Roughly $1.5 billion over 2 years in federal Medicaid receipts from the ARPA enhancement that will enable the State to re-direct General Fund dollars to other priorities.  $1 billion of this total would be used to address substance abuse and mental health.
  • As much as $3.1 billion in additional HASP reimbursements to support hospitals without spending additional General Fund dollars.
  • Up to $60 million in additional gross premiums tax from the HASP reimbursements would go into the General Fund.
  • An additional $4.5 – $5 billion annually in federal Medicaid receipts to support the new eligibility category.
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Rep. Erin Paré of Wake County Launches Women in STEM Task Force

Raleigh, NC— Today Rep. Erin Paré (R-Wake) announced the formation of The House Select Committee on Advancing Women in STEM, which has been established by the Speaker of the House of Representatives pursuant to G.S. 120-19.6(a1) and to Rule 26(a) in Section 1 of the Rules of the House of Representatives of the 2021 General Assembly.
 
The Committee will study issues related to developing future generations of women leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The 12 members of the committee are:
 
Representative Erin Pare, Chair
Representative Donna White, Vice Chair
Representative Alison Dahle
Representative Jon Hardister   
Representative Dean Arp
Representative Amos Quick
Representative Kristin Baker M.D.
Representative Diane Wheatley
Representative Hugh Blackwell
Representative Matthew Winslow
Representative John Bradford 
Representative Shelly Willingham
 
Rep. Erin Paré said, “Imagination, creativity, and curiosity are essential to innovation. Women who pursue careers in STEM not only bring greater diversity to the ideas and solutions in these fields; they innovate and pave the way for future generations of women to follow in their footsteps and drive progress even further.”
 
She continued, “As more tech companies flock to North Carolina, the need for workers in STEM has increased dramatically in our state. My hope is that this committee can find tangible ways to support the women who are interested in these fields and encourage more women to pursue STEM careers in the future.”
 
The Women in STEM Task Force will begin meeting after the legislative short session ends.
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Flash Cards Depicting Pregnant Man Used in WCPSS Preschool Classroom in House District 37

This week Rep. Erin Paré (R-Wake) received an email from a concerned constituent alerting her to the use of LGBTQIA+ themed flash cards, including a card with the depiction of a pregnant man, to teach colors to children in a preschool class at Ballentine Elementary School, part of the Wake County public school system. Rep. Paré received images of the cards from her constituent. (pictured above)
 
Rep. Paré immediately contacted the principal of the elementary school to alert her of this constituent concern and to confirm the use of the flash cards in the classroom. The principal of the school took swift action to investigate and respond to the information.  The principal found the stack of cards in a preschool classroom and verified with the teacher that they had been used by the teacher in the classroom to teach colors. The principal confirmed that the flash cards were not part of approved curriculum and that she was unaware that they were being used. The principal immediately took possession of the cards, contacted the WCPSS area superintendent, and engaged human resources.  The principal expressed appreciation for the constituent’s information via Rep. Paré, as she would not have known about the flash cards otherwise.
 
In a poll released this week, North Carolina voters (57%) overwhelmingly supported the idea of passing legislation that would “make parents the primary decision-makers regarding their child’s health and medical decisions and provide parents with opt-out options regarding controversial surveys or age-inappropriate classroom materials.”
 
The members of the North Carolina General Assembly are currently reviewing legislation to address this very concern. Parents deserve to know exactly what and how their children are being taught.
 
“I am grateful that a concerned constituent reached out and that this issue is being addressed in a swift and professional manner by Ballentine Elementary School,” said Rep. Erin Pare (R-Wake). 
 
“Schools should only be using age-appropriate materials, and these flashcards clearly do not meet that standard for a pre-school classroom. I hope schools across Wake County and the State of North Carolina will follow the example of Ballentine and respond swiftly when a parent expresses concern and ensure that materials like this are not being used to teach young students.”
 
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Speaker Moore and Sen. Berger Joint Statement on Consensus Revenue Forecast

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement about the consensus revenue forecast released today:
 
“Today’s forecast highlights the General Assembly’s winning formula of low taxes, reasonable regulations, and responsible spending. Our state continues to experience growth and record-breaking economic development coupled with regular revenue surpluses.
 
“While this is promising news, we must be cognizant of the national economy and the precarious position the Biden administration has put the American people in thanks to rising costs and runaway inflation. It is crucial that we continue on this track of responsible and disciplined spending in light of the potential for a recession as we begin the short session budget process.” 

President Biden’s North Carolina Visit: A Statement from House Speaker Tim Moore

Today, President Joe Biden is visiting Greensboro, North Carolina to address rising inflation and highlight the recent influx of businesses to our state.
 
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore said, “Although I am glad President Biden is visiting North Carolina today, what he is here to sell North Carolinians is nothing more than snake oil. While he continues to overspend, inflation continues to skyrocket with no end in sight. Gas prices are soaring. The strain on taxpayers and businesses is greater than ever, and each of us feel the impact of bad Biden policies on our daily lives.”
 
He continued, “In North Carolina, we have taken a different approach, and it’s working. We cannot spend our way to prosperity. Instead of rising debt, our state has a surplus thanks to responsible spending. Because of this, and despite the hardships caused by bad Biden policies, businesses are flocking to our state, and taxpayers have more money in their pockets. Maybe the president can take a few pointers from North Carolina.”

North Carolina House Page Program Relaunches After Two-Year COVID Hiatus

On Monday, applications opened for the NCGA House Page Program for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The House page program offers young men and women the opportunity to learn about, and participate in, the legislative process of our state. It is a four day long experience that allows high school students to observe firsthand how our laws are made. It provides them the unique privilege of working in the House Chamber in the midst of legislative action.
 
High school students interested in applying can do so online.
 
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, said, “The House Page Program offers high school students the unique opportunity to experience the legislative process firsthand.”
 
He continued, “Thanks to this program, young men and women are given the privilege of not only learning about, but actually participating in how we make laws in North Carolina.”

NCGA Files Notice of Appeal Following Three-Judge Panel Decision Granting Voting Rights to Felons

Today, attorneys for the North Carolina General Assembly filed a notice of appeal and a motion for stay with the trial court following a decision by a three-judge panel that would permanently allow any convicted felon who is not currently sitting in prison to vote in any election.
 
Sam Hayes, General Counsel for House Speaker Tim Moore, said, “The people of North Carolina are sick and tired of leftist judges who ignore the law to achieve their desired outcomes. The constitution could not be any clearer: convicted felons are to repay their debt to society before having their civil rights restored. Granting convicted felons, including rapists and murderers, the right to vote is an affront to every law-abiding voter in our state, and it will not stand.”
 
He continued, “We now seek a stay pending appeal to stop this order from going into effect, and we will continue the General Assembly’s fight to preserve the security of our elections.”