Representative Michael H. Wray’s Raleigh Report

The General Assembly has finished its first full week of this session and we continue to make progress. Budget reports for each section of the House budget were introduced Thursday and they fall short of what I believe are the expectations of the people of our community. The public schools will still need to make additional reductions; no progress has been made toward returning any our fired teachers and educators to their positions or mitigating the deep cuts they have been managing; financial aid for the universities is still $30 million below its previous level; and our pre-kindergarten funding continues to lag. I have not had time to fully review all of the proposals, but I will share more information next week. We are expected to have the opportunity to make amendments next week and then vote on the budget. If it is approved, it will be sent to the Senate. The Senate will then approve a budget and if there are differences, they will meet with the House to negotiate a final plan.
This week, we also voted on bills to change the state’s annexation laws (House Bill 5 and House Bill 925), to fill a $200 million gap in the state’s Medicaid budget (Senate Bill 797), to reverse a change in the dates that teachers would have been paid (House Bill 966), to honor fallen veterans (House Resolution 1033) and to recognize the 125th anniversary of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. We also remembered former Alamance County Rep. Bertha ‘B’ Holt (House Resolution 608), who died in 2010 at the age of 93.
You can visit if you would like any additional information about these bills. I also wanted to share some information with you this week about the agenda that I approved along with the other Democratic members of the House. We held a press conference this week to announce our plan, and will use the agenda to guide our work during the session. We are filing specific bills to support each part of our agenda and I will be sharing more information with you about those over the next few weeks.
Our nation is just beginning to climb out of the most devastating recession of our lifetime, but too many people in North Carolina continue to struggle. We must preserve what is special about North Carolina and build a solid future focusing on our award-winning business climate and outstanding education system.
North Carolina has historically had one of the best business climates in the nation. We must help preserve that status by enacting a responsible and balanced budget that protects our AAA bond rating.
Every child in North Carolina deserves a 21st century education taught by qualified and effective teachers. Our community college and university systems are central to our economic recovery and the jobs of the future. Higher education must continue to be accessible and affordable.
To keep our state moving forward, I will focus on four major priorities this legislative session:
1)      Create jobs and protect jobs while enhancing North Carolina’s status as one of the best places to do business.
§  Invest in infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, water, sewer and broadband, that are essential to economic development and job creation
§  Support small businesses with tax incentives to create jobs in North Carolina
§  Fight for community college programs for professional and technical training
§  Promote and invest in clean energy job development
2)      Protect our education system from further cuts that would devastate public education and our children’s future.
§  Fight to restore critical funding and compensation for teachers and teacher assistants
§  Strengthen and restore quality early childhood programs
§  Promote and recognize teaching and academic excellence by restoring money for Teaching Fellows, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, the Teacher Cadet program, Teacher Academies, and Governor’s School
§  Continue to support low-cost federal loans for community college students
§  Fulfill our Constitutional duty to protect access to the UNC system by fighting to keep tuition low and restore financial aid
§  Restore adequate funding to the UNC system so that students can graduate on time and be ready to work in the global economy
3)      Help our most vulnerable citizens. We will fight to preserve the critical services needed as our economy recovers. We will not turn our back on those in our community who are struggling.
§  Support targeted tax relief for working families
§  Support programs to assist our veterans and military families
§  Restore adequate funding for in-home care and mental health services
§  Promote policies to further reduce child abuse and child mortality
§  Support services our seniors need to be healthy and independent
§  Close tax loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying their fair share
4)      Respect and protect the rights of all North Carolinians.
§  Fight to restore women’s rights in the doctor-patient relationship; fund women’s health and family planning programs, including Planned Parenthood
§  Compensate victims of the state’s involuntary sterilization program
§  Protect our air, water and natural resources
§  Fight to protect and defend voting rights and protect early voting period
§  Restore transparency and open government to the legislature
Thank you for your interest in state government. In the meantime, please contact me if I can be of help.
Keep in touch,
Michael H. Wray
NC House District 27
Please remember that you can listen to committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly’s website at Once on the site, select “Audio,” and then make your selection – House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room. A schedule of committee meetings and other events is also available on the website.