As 2015 draws to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to share information on some of this year’s legislative accomplishments. Over the last year, I successfully wrote a number of bills that have since become law. These new laws will enhance the lives of our veterans, help children from low-income families get better education and enable transportation improvements for high traffic corridors. I’m pleased that I delivered for North Carolina in 2015.
Below are a few of the legislative accomplishments that are now law:
1. Education Reform – The Senate passed a landmark education bill which ended the Common Core mandate. The bill includes a provision I wrote that fixes an inequity in federal education funding that for 15 years has not only shortchanged North Carolina’s teachers and schools, but also the low-income students they serve across our state. The funding fix will redirect $24 million each year for school programs and teacher assistants in North Carolina without costing taxpayers more money.
2. Cyber Security Information Sharing Act – This legislation helps protect Americans’ personal privacy by taking steps to stop future cyber-attacks before they happen. It creates an environment that encourages the sharing of information about cyber threats, allowing all participants to get a better understanding of the current threats that may be used against them.
3. Land and Water Conservation Fund – I have been advocating for permanent reauthorization of the program for several years. Funding for this popular program that does not use taxpayer dollars expired in September. I led the fight in the Senate to renew LWCF and Congress passed a three year extension.
4. Highway Improvements – This year, the Senate passed a comprehensive transportation bill. Senator Tillis and I worked to designate the following North Carolina highways as high priority corridors and future interstates:
- Raleigh-Norfolk Corridor from Raleigh, North Carolina, through Rocky Mount, Williamston, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina, to Norfolk, Virginia.
- U.S. Route 70 from its intersection with Interstate Route 40 in Garner to the Port at Morehead City, and U.S. Route 117/Interstate Route 795 from U.S. Route 70 in Goldsboro to Interstate Route 40 west of Faison.
5. Military Sex Offender Reporting Act – I introduced this legislation which requires the Department of Defense to directly report sex offenders convicted or punished under the military judicial process to the National Sex Offender Registry. Previously, some sex offenders were only required to self-report to a local jurisdiction upon their release. Under these new laws, communities can be fully aware of former offenders in their neighborhoods.
I will continue to work hard in the Senate to improve the lives of North Carolina families in 2016. I welcome your feedback. What do you think the Senate should focus on in 2015?
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