Baskerville Newsletter


August 2014

The

Baskerville Bulletin

Representative
Nathan Baskerville

House District 32
Vance, Granville, Warren

16 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
919-733-5824

Greetings from the North Carolina General Assembly!  The Short Session is finally over!  We have just ended one of the longest short sessions in North Carolina’s History.  This newsletter will highlight some of the biggest changes to the law including budget provisions.

THE “NOT SO SHORT SESSION”

 

The North Carolina General Assembly meets during the odd numbered years for a “short session.”  Typically, the short session is the time to make adjustments to the budget to account for differences between estimated and actual tax revenue.  The short session usually lasts 6 weeks.  We have been in session now for over 14 weeks.  This is important because it cost the taxpayers $50,000 every day that we stay in session.  The list of items eligible for introduction in the short session are below: 

 

 

  • Budget bills
  • Bills amending the Constitution of North Carolina
  • Crossover bills (bills from House to Senate or Senate to House)
  • Study committee bills
  • Local bills
  • Appointment bills
  • Pension or retirement bill
  • Joint resolutions, House resolutions, and Senate resolutions
  • Redistricting bills
  • Vetoed bills
  • Election law bills
  • Adjournment resolutions

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE ACTION

 

 

Medicaid Reform

 

HB 1181 (a bill for Medicaid Modernization), and HB 1083 (a bill to expand Medicaid to include all below 133% federal poverty level), are among the many bills introduced this session to address the State’s Medicaid shortfall. State opted not to accept 500 million dollars in federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act. As a result, we are scrambling to figure out ways to provide health care coverage for over 500,000 low-income adults who are currently uninsured. The federal government would have paid the full cost of the expansion for the first three years and more than 90 percent of the tab after that. Medicaid expansion would have brought in $13 billion dollars for hospitals over the next ten years and created as many as 25,000 jobs in the state, according to a study by the N.C. Institute of Medicine.  To date, there is still no legislation to deal with our Medicaid issues.

 

Joel Martinez/The Monitor, via Associated Press

 

 

Tax Law Changes

 

HB 1050effectively changes how the municipalities collect fees from the business privilege tax.  The new law requires municipalities to cap the tax at $100, leaving the state and municipalities at a $62 million dollar loss. This change will place local municipalities scrambling for funds that would have come from the privilege tax.  Business located throughout the municipalities will each pay the same fee, for example Wal-Mart would pay the same amount as the local corner store.  Municipalities use the privilege tax income to provide public transportation, public school capital, as well as make capital improvements or finance special projects for that area.

 

Photos.com

 

Young Offenders Rehabilitation Act

 

HB 725raised the age from 16 to 18 for a minor child to be tried as an adult for committing misdemeanor offenses. This bill allows lawmakers to place youth offenders in juvenile court instead of adult court, where the emphasis is on punishment as opposed to rehabilitation. This change is important because research has shown that offenders under 18 are not mature enough, nor have they developed fully to truly comprehend their actions or the consequences. Only 11 other states charge juveniles under 18 as adults.  House Bill 725 passed House but must pass the Senate before it becomes law.

 

www.theguardian.com

 

Energy Modernization Act

 

Fracking is no longer a concept but now a reality.  SB 786  allowscompanies to apply for permits to frack in North Carolina and was signed into law on June 4, 2014.  Fracking is the process by which companies drilling deep into the ground using toxic chemicals to search for natural gas.  This bill makes the toxic combination of chemicals used in hydraulic fracking a “trade secret.” That means that only the Mining and Energy Commission and Department of   Environment and Natural Resources will know the concoction. Disclosure to anyone else of these “trade secrets” is punishable as a Class I felony. The new law also forbids local cities from drafting ordinances to prohibit or impair fracking activities.

 

www.climatedesk.org

 

Coal Ash

 

Members of the House and Senate finally reached a “compromise” on the Coal Ash debacle – 200 days after the major spill.  The Coal Ash spill has been a source of contention with both houses since it happened and although this legislation puts into place some rules to begin the cleanup, it’s more of a Band-Aid than a solution.  Click here for Coal Ash article. Because there are multiple problem coal ash sites, the bill mandates that Duke Energy rank the sites as high, intermediate, or low risk, and must be attended to accordingly. I voted against the HJR 1276 bill, because I did not feel that it dealt with who would shoulder the cost.  During the short session I introduced an amendment to the Coal Ash Bill, prohibiting DukeEnergy from passing along to its customers the costs of coal ash cleanup.  Unfortunately it was defeated by a procedural maneuver.  Click here to view my remarks.

 

www.huffingtonpost.com

 

 

Inter-Basin Transfer

 

I introduced a bill that increases the amount of water currently flowing to Kerr Lake from other river basins.  This legislation was necessary to accommodate residential growth and makes Vance, Warren, and Granville counties more attractive and able to sustain commercial development.

 

 

www.ecorpconsulting.com

 

 

SBI Transfer

 

SB 594 and SB 744transfer the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) from The Department of Justice (overseen by The Attorney General’s Office) to The Department of Public Safety (overseen by the Governor).  The SBI has been in existence since 1937 and has always been a part of the Department of Justice because it is the entity that oversees public corruption cases. This move would give the governor his own standing police force and may result in the SBI being in the difficult position of investigation corruption by their own bosses additionally.   The SBI transfer limits openness and transparency.

 

www.wsoctv.com

 

 

2014 – 2015 NC STATE BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS

 

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Public School System

After months of debate, the House of Representatives finally passed legislation to address state employee and teacher salaries.  While something is better than nothing, this legislation is wholly inadequate and irresponsible. North Carolina teachers remain near the bottom of the pay scale nationwide, in part, thanks to funding cuts to the Department of Public Instruction of 10%.  

  • New teachers through those with four years’ experience would make a salary of $33,000, up from $30,800, for a raise of 7 percent, the average in the budget plan.

*At this point, the increase is not a true “7” percent increase*

• At five years’ experience, teacher pay would increase to $36,500.

• At 10 years, it would rise to $40,000.

• At 15 years, it would grow to $43,500.

• At 20 years, it would move to $46,500.

• At 25 years, pay would top out at $50,000.

Those with 30 years’ experience would still receive raises: a $1,000 bonus on top of the previous year’s total compensation.

The largest raises – from 10 percent to 18.5 percent – would go to teachers with five to 11 years’ experience.

The smallest raise, to $50,000 from $49,857, or 0.3 percent, would go to a teacher with 29 years’ experience who is starting his or her 30th year in August.  Longevity pay for educators has been rolled into their pay and not as a lump sum as in past years.

UNC System

The budget eliminates the Teaching Fellows program, and makes a 3.3% cut to the UNC system, which will in turn raise tuition.  The Teaching Fellows program is important because itprepares exceptional teachers for the students who need it most – those in our country’s most disadvantaged communities, where too many children start school behind and struggle to catch up.  The Teaching Fellows program provides training in intensive classroom, expert coaching and personalized training.

 

 

NC Employee Compensation

Employee Group

Local Public School Employees

  1. Educator Raises

– Creates a new 6-step Teacher Salary schedule that increases starting pay to $33,000 per year

– Ends current longevity practices and “rolls” longevity into base pay
– Provides, on average, an 7% increase on top of current salary & longevity compensation, includes the increase for both the step and schedule changes

– Holds harmless educators making more than the new top salary of their lane, gives these educators a $1k non-recurring bonus

  1. School-based Administrators

– Changes the salary schedule, providing, on average, a 2% salary increase

– Provides $809 non-recurring bonus to anyone not getting a pay increase under the new schedule

  1. Noncertified & Central Office Personnel

– Provides a $500 salary increase

 

State and Local Community College Employees

  1. State Employees & NC Community College System

– Provides a $1,000 salary increase for most State employees
– Includes $5m to be distributed at the discretion of the Board of Governors to exempt personnel.

  1. Step Plan Employees (Asst. & Dept. Clerks, Magistrates, and State Highway Patrol)

– Provides an increase to step experience level employees
– Employees who do not receive a step increase receive the $1,000 salary increase

  1. Retirees

– Provides a 1.0% COLA

State employees should begin to see the increase in this month’s pay.  The raises are retroactive from the month of July – which is the start of North Carolina’s new fiscal year.

 

 

THE DISTRICT 32 SPOTLIGHT

 

 

 

 

AKA Sorority visits the Legislative Building

 

 

 

Waddie Ryan (Warren Co), Sarah Baskerville (Vance Co),Rep. Baskerville,

Audrey Davis (Vance Co), members of Rho Tau Omega chapter if AKA sorority, Inc.

 

This annual trip to the Legislature allows the Sorority to reach out to House and Senate members to discuss topics that concern the ladies and their families.  Some of those topics of discussion were:

 

  • Emerging Young Leaders Initiatives
  • Health Initiatives
  • Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
  • Global Poverty
  • Economic Security Initiative
  • Social Justice/Human Rights Initiative

 

I had the opportunity to serve as Grand Marshall for Central Children’s Home Annual parade with a wonderful group of young ladies in my district.  Gracing the float with me are (from the right): Thelma Thornton, Getrude Washington, Bessye McGhee, Rep. Baskerville, Helen Amis and Harriet Morton, all faithful supporters of Central Children’s Home.

 

I would like to thank you for all of for your continued support. 

Please contact me if I can be of assistance to you.

 

Sincerely,

Nathan A. Baskerville

 

 

My committee assignments are

 

Agriculture

Appropriations

Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation

Health and Human Services

Insurance

Judiciary

Judiciary Subcommittee C

Regulatory Reform

Regulatory Reform Subcommittee on Business and Labor

 

 

Office Location: 16 W. Jones Street Raleigh, NC 27601
Office Phone: 919-733-5824
Office Email: baskervillela@ncleg.net

Website Information:
http://www.nathanbaskerville.com/

http://ncleg.net/gascripts/members/viewMember.pl?sChamber=H&nUserID=649

Please remember that you can listen to committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly’s website at www.ncleg.net. Once on the site, select “Audio,” and then make your selection – House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room.

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