Halifax, Nash, Vance, Warren and Wilson Counties
District – 4
Senator Angela R. Bryant
Volume 14, Issue X
July 21, 2016
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NEWS FROM RALEIGH…
I always welcome your comments, project updates, suggestions, and visits. My office door and electronic door are always open to you! You are also invited to attend any and all Sessions and Committees. Visit the website for Session and Committee meeting times. As always, thank you for your support!
· EDUCATION NEWS: Warren County School -Summer Meals For Youths: Volunteers Needed; Halifax County Hosts Mock County Commissioners Meeting; Spend The Summer At Home With These Stem Activities: 30 Minutes Or Less; NC Stem Learning Network; Summer Meals For Youth- Volunteers Needed
· SIDE NOTE: Senator Bryant’s 2015-2016 Standing Committees
Senator Bryant’s 2015-2016
Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources Committee
Appropriations/Base Budget Committee
Appropriations on Natural and Economic Resources Committee
Education/Higher Education Committee
Judiciary I Committee
Pensions & Retirement and Aging Committee
Workforce and Economic Development Committee
EVENTS AROUND THE DISTRICT AND MORE:
· On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!: Warren County Memorial Library: Now through Thurs. August 4th, at the Warren County Memorial Library readers of all ages will explore all things sports and fitness this summer. Readers from preschool through adult will celebrate our theme, “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read,” with related stories, programs, crafts, games, and more. Registration is open throughout the program. READ! READ! READ! For more information, call the library at (252) 257-4990 or visit our website, www. wcmlibrary.org.
· Community Academy Educational Session: Fri., July 22nd at 5:30 pm and Sat. July 23rd at 9:00 am at OIC’s Community Health Education Center (CHEC), 1060 Pinehurst Drive, Rocky Mount, NC. As the Twin Counties Visioning and Strategic Plan moves into action and implementation, come get this information, education and skills needed to help shape the decisions being made about the future of YOUR community. To register, please call 252-443-4659 ext. 106 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Dementia Workshop: Tue., July 26th from 2pm-5pm, at the Creedmoor Senior Center, 614 Douglas Drive, Creedmoor, NC. Upcoming Dementia Workshop hosted by Melanie Bunn, from Alzheimer’s North Carolina. For more information or to reserve a spot, call Cheryl Carrier at 919-528-0848. Space is limited.
· Back to School Festival: Sat., July 23rd 11am-3pm at The Boys and Girls Club, 475 W. Belvoir Rd., Greenville, NC. Celebrate and welcome the 2016-17 school year at The Association of Mexicans in North Carolina’s (AMEXCAN) Back to School Festival. All area residents are invited to attend and admission is completely free. The festival will have arts and crafts, free food, free school supplies, giveaways and much more. For more information, call 919-920-1108, for information in Spanish, call 252-258-9967.
· Fatherhood Program Information Session: Sat., July 23rd, Thurs. July 28th, and Mon. August 1st, 2016 Family Resource Center will host fatherhood information sessions regarding connecting with children, jobs and money, and getting along with mom. Light refreshments will be served at each session. The sessions will be held respectively at the following locations: Now is the Time at 118 W. Harlem St. Pinetops, NC; Edgecombe County Memorial Library at 909 Main St. Tarboro, NC; and St. Mark AME at 1150 Tarboro St. Rocky Mount, NC. To register please contact Day 2 Day Dads via telephone at 919-384-9300 Ext. 210 or via email at Dads@frcoraleigh.org.
· New Teacher Bag Donations: Help is needed to welcome new teachers to Vance County. Snacks, gum, candy, water bottles, notepads, pens, pencils, coupons, etc. are needed to pack in the bags. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Melanie Mann at 252-438-8414 or email@example.com. Deadline for donations is August 3rd.
· Eastpointe Community Collaborative Youth Forum: Mon., Aug. 5th from 9am-2pm at the Wilson County Agriculture Center, 1806 Goldsboro St. S., Wilson, NC. Registration and other information can be obtained from Cotina Thorne, SOC Specialist, at 910-298-7187 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This event is free and aimed at youth ages 14-18. Food will be provided for those who register by July 22nd, 2016.
· Statewide Pipeline Strategy Gathering: Sat. and Sun. August 13 & 14, 2016, for all groups and local activists interested in working on local, regional and national strategy on pipeline. Rocky Mount area or north along the pipeline route. More details coming soon!
· Lunch Break to Educate: Tues., Aug 16th 11:30 am – 1:00 pm in the Chamber conference room. 414 S. Garnett St., Henderson, NC. Educational session will feature speaker Dr. Brandon Taylor of Henderson Wellness Center. To RSVP, please contact Melanie Mann at 252-438-8414 or email email@example.com. Lunch will be provided for a cost of $5.00. Deadline to RSVP is Monday, August 15th. For more information about Henderson Wellness Center, please visit them at www.hendersonwellnesscenter.com
· Annual Awards Banquet: The Annual Awards Banquet will be held on Thurs., September 22, 2016 at the Henderson Vance Farmers Market, 210 Southpark Drive, Henderson, NC. Nomination forms can be found on our website, www.kerrtarcog.org, and forms must be back to Gina Parham no later than Monday, August 15th. If you have any questions please contact Gina Parham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Gregory B. Davis Foundation (GBDF): PLEASE JOIN the Gregory B. Davis Foundation (GBDF) in partnership with Collier Harley Davidson on Sat., August 20, 2016 for the 10th Annual Bike Ride which will benefit Caregiver Support Initiatives. Ride begins at 10:00 a.m. at Collier Harley Davidson, 316 Premier Blvd., Roanoke Rapids, NC. For more information, please call 252-535-3718. Please visit our website at http://www.gbdf.org/ and visit and “LIKE US” on our face book page here!!! See flyer below and attached. See you at this year’s Ride…..LIVE TO RIDE…RIDE TO LIVE!!!
· Book Bag and School Supplies Giveaway: 617 East 11th Street, Scotland Neck, NC. Sat., August 27th sponsored by Scotland Neck Education and Recreation Foundation, Inc. The deadline to donate is August 21, 2016. For more information contact Mildred Moore at 252-836-2080 or email@example.com.
· Eastpointe Community Collaborative Drug Conference: Mon., Aug 29th from 9-11am at the NC Wayne Cooperative Extension/Wayne Center, 208 West Chestnut Street, Goldsboro, NC. Registration and other information can be obtained from Andrea Boney at 919-587-0345 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
· African American Cultural Festival: Sat., September 17, 2016, Live entertainment, African Dance, Historical Exhibits, Walking Tour, vendors and festival food. Location: Historic Courthouse Square, Warrenton, NC. 919-702-3701.
Jordan McMillen Chosen as the New Vance County Manager
By Allison Tretina Henderson Dispatch
After more than a year of searching, reviewing 90 applications and conducting 22 interviews, the Vance County Board of Commissioners has appointed a permanent county manager whom they know well.
Jordan McMillen, who currently serves as the deputy county manager and has been with the county since 2008, was named county manager on a 6-1 vote Monday night.
“I have been serving Vance County for over eight years now, so it’s an honor continuing doing that,” he said. “I take the job very seriously. It is a privilege.”
NC RESTORES FULL SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNT FOR CAMPING AT KERR LAKE & ALL STATE PARKS
Lead, Public Affairs
We are very proud of Kerr Lake Park Watch’s roll in helping to restore to the North Carolina side of Kerr Lake, the full senior discount for camping of $6 per night. As many campers cross state lines to camp we are sharing the attached news release with interested media and people in Virginia as well as North Carolina.
We began to get inundated with emails and some calls when the cut first occurred a few weeks ago and responded with information and interviews.
We thank all who helped with this effort.
As always, if you have any questions or need any information, please feel free to contact us.
Thanks and have a great weekend, maybe even at Kerr Lake!
GRANTS OPPORTUNITIES, AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS:
Has this ever happened to you? You drive to the store, find a parking place, get a shopping cart, make your way down each aisle, grab your items, head to the cashier to pay for your items, and you head home wishing you could have avoided the entire experience.
Imagine being able to purchase your necessary items while never having to leave the comfort of your home and receiving a credit on your electric bill for doing so. Sound too good to be true? With Roanoke Rewards, it’s not!
What is Roanoke Rewards?
Your cooperative knows that our member-owners like to see the value in the service offerings that we provide. That’s why we’re excited to offer exclusive programs like Roanoke Rewards. With this program, member-owners like you have the opportunity to shop online with participating retailers and receive a credit on your electric bill. Each retailer sets the amount of cash back they will give you on your purchases and that “cash back” will be returned as a credit on your electric bill.
What’s the catch? There isn’t one! Roanoke Rewards is just another benefit of what it means to be a member-owner. By shopping with the online Shopping Assistant, you can earn up to 40% cash back from over 4,000 participating online retailers like Macy’s, Office Depot, and Walmart.
How do I start earning “cash back” today?
Once you’ve set up an account profile through the Member Service portal, you can log in at www.roanokeelectric.com/rewards and start shopping!
Register and start shopping today by visiting our Member Loyalty page
USDA Seeks Applications for Broadband Grants for Rural Communities
USDA is soliciting applications for grants to establish broadband in unserved rural communities through its Community Connect program. Community Connect is administered by USDA’s Rural Utilities Service and helps to fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not economically viable for private sector providers to provide service. USDA plans to award up to $11.7 million in grants through the Community Connect grant program. The grants fund broadband infrastructure to help foster economic growth by delivering connectivity to the global marketplace. The grants also fund broadband for community centers and public institutions. The minimum grant is $100,000 for FY 2016. The maximum award is $3 million. To view rules, click here. To access information on applying for the grant program, click here.
Kerr-Tar Workforce Development Board to apply for America’s Promise Job-Driven Grant Program
Funding is available to support grants under the America’s Promise Job-Driven Grant Program. ETA expects to fund between 20-40 grants, with individual grants ranging from $1 million to $6 million. This competitive grant program will build on the momentum of WOIA to develop and expand regional partnerships and training opportunities, particularly for middle-to-high skilled H-1B industries and occupations, ensuring that communities fully maximize their federal, state and local funds to build a competitive workforce. Deadline is August 25, 2016. Click here for more information.
Lawmaker Touts Medicaid Expansion
Rocky Mount Telegram – July 15, 2016
Angela Bryant, D-Nash, said she believes expanding Medicaid would improve the health of working mothers and their
children. Bryant has filed a bill …
Several District 4 Citizens Were Appointed To Various Public Offices Pursuant To Senate Bill 898
· Marie D. Insocre of Nash County was appointed to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc., for a term expiring on December, 31, 2019.
· William M. Bryan of Nash County was appointed to the Criminal Justice Information Network Governing Board for a term expiring on June 30, 2019.
· Russell L. Proctor of Nash County was appointed to the Economic Investment Committee for a term expiring on November 20, 2018.
· Lige Daughtridge of Nash County was appointed to the Rural Infrastructure Authority for a term expiring on June 30, 2019.
· Donald L. Wells of Vance County was appointed to the North Carolina Board for Licensing of Soil Scientists for a term expiring on June 20, 2019.
· T. Scott Aman of Halifax County was appointed to the North Carolina Turnpike Authority Board for a term expiring on January 14, 2023.
Williford Leadership 5th Graders Legislative Day – May 12, 2016
Area Legislators Visits NC Works and Holds Press Conference on North Carolina’s Economic Inequality
Friday, July 8th, 2016, Senators Angela Bryant, Erica Smith-Engram, Don Davis, and Representatives Shelly Willingham and Representative Bobbie Richardson visited NCWorks Career Center for a site tour and press conference to discuss actions needed to be taken to decrease the metropolitan area’s unemployment rate.
What Businesses Should Know About the 2016 N.C. Legislature
The North Carolina General Assembly has completed its 2016 “short” session. A number of bills considered by Legislators will impact businesses of all types. Here are some highlights from this year’s session.
Additional funds were invested in education.
· Legislators raised K-12 educator salaries to just over $50,000 with an average increase of 4.7%. Additional funds for instructional materials, textbooks, and digital materials were also appropriated. The budget increases funds for more need-based scholarships for certain K-12 private school students. It also guarantees no in-state tuition increase for a standard four-year undergraduate term at the State’s public universities.
Both the income tax and sales tax were changed.
· During the last five years, Legislators have substantially rewritten the State tax code with a focus on reducing the personal and corporate income tax rates, broadening the coverage of the State sales tax to more services, and reducing or eliminating tax credits and tax preferences. The State personal income tax rate will fall next year from 5.75% to 5.499% with a likely reduction in the corporate income tax rate from 4% to 3% based on meeting revenue collection targets.
· During this year’s session, the standard deduction for personal income tax was raised for 2016 by $1,000500 for 2016 for taxpayers married and filing jointly in 2016, and increased an additional $1,000 to . It was raised by an additional $500 for 2017, bringing the cap to $17,500 for 2017.
· Legislators in 2015 expanded the State sales tax to cover repair, installation and maintenance of tangible personal property and certain motor vehicles. During this year’s session, they clarified the coverage of that expansion and enacted a grace period for taxpayers subject to the tax.
Tax changes could be coming for multi-state companies.
· The Legislature chose to postpone a decision on the issue of “market-based sourcing” this year, directing the Department of Revenue to adopt rules as if legislation had passed to enact it. The rules, however, cannot be effective unless the Legislature takes affirmative action on the issue in a future session. If adopted, market-based sourcing would signify a change in the State’s approach to calculating how much income is allocated to North Carolina for corporate income tax purposes. Currently, North Carolina allocates income based on where the income-producing activity occurs. Under market-based sourcing, this would change to consider instead where the benefit of the service is received – often determined by the location of the customer. This potential change would only affect companies doing business in multiple states.
Additional funds were invested in economic development.
· The budget includes $3.75 million for the Commerce Department to use for marketing and advertising to promote economic development and $1 million for a new International Recruiting Coordination Office in the Department. The $30 million grant for the film industry was also extended for a year.
Another bill on coal ash cleanup was enacted.
· The State has worked for a number of years on bills related to the cleanup and safety of coal ash ponds filled with waste from coal-burning electric power plants. This year’s bill allows Duke Energy to cap half of the ponds at the State’s power plants, instead of excavating them and moving their contents to lined storage. Neighbors of the plants who have drinking water wells will be connected to municipal water or given filtration systems by the fall of 2018. Duke will have to establish three centers to process coal ash into concrete and other material for reuse.
Transportation funding grew and development restrictions were changed.
· About $32 million in new funds were allocated for the Strategic Transportation Investment law, which governs transportation funding. This money is in addition to changes made last year to stop using money from the Highway Fund for general purpose spending and stabilizing the motor fuel tax rate.
· Legislators also reacted to a recent State Supreme Court decision, which struck down State law restricting development along the paths of future road projects. By implementing that law, tThe Court held that by implementing the law, the Department of transportation (DOT) was effectively taking private property without paying for it. Action by Legislators repeals transportation corridor maps, prohibits additional maps protecting routes until July 1, 2017, and charges DOT with developing recommendations for a new policy balancing property rights with road building needs.
Medicaid reform continues.
· One of the largest parts of the budget is the State share for Medicaid (16% in FY 2017). In order to bring more budget certainty to this program, Legislators enacted a reform bill in 2015 to create a hybrid model in which commercial plans (typically insurance companies) and provider-led entities (hospitals and physician groups) will compete to run the program. The Department of Health and Human Services has submitted a waiver request to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a key step in this process. The move to full capitation—that is, when the commercial plans and provider-led entities bear the financial risk for Medicaid—will be 18 months after approval of the plan from federal authorities. That could be in 2018 or even 2019.
A restriction on State court lawsuits for employment discrimination was removed.
· Legislators took action on the final day of session to restore the right to sue in State court for employment discrimination, which had been initially eliminated following the passage in March of HB 2. Employees will now have one year to file a State claim (versus a three-year period prior to the enactment of HB 2). No change was made to the provisions related to local governments enacting ordinances related to bathroom use.
The November 2016 elections affect nearly every aspect of State leadership.
· All 170 Legislative seats are on the November ballot. Although some incumbents are retiring, most observers expect the Republicans to retain significant majorities in both houses. Ten statewaide Council of State positions are on the ballot with the race between Governor Pat McCrory and challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper gaining the most attention. Officers in which incumbents are running for reelection include Lieutenant Governor, Agriculture, Auditor, Insurance, Labor, Public Instruction and Secretary of State. There will be a new Attorney General and State Treasurer.
The next session will be in January 2017.
· Legislators are scheduled to next return to Raleigh on January 11, 2017. In the interim, a number of lawmakers will be focused on their reelection campaigns. Some will be in Raleigh periodically working on various oversight committees covering areas including education, health and human services, justice and public safety, and transportation.
NC Legislative Update
From Nexsen Pruet
Legislators end short session – Wilkes Journal-Patriot
What NC lawmakers did – and didn’t do – in the short session – Charlotte Observer
The failure of two local bills in the House sponsored by two powerful Senators was evidence of the friction between the two chambers and was largely responsible for an abrupt adjournment. The House Finance Committee rejected Senate Bill 46 entitled Jacksonville Occupancy Tax, sponsored by Sen. Brown (R-Onslow), the Senate Majority Leader and Senior Appropriations Chairman. The bill would have used revenues from the tax to build a sporting complex or stadium. During a contentious debate, several House members noted that the bill violated a House rule requiring revenues from occupancy taxes be used to promote tourism. Later that evening, the full House rejected Senate Bill 897, sponsored by Sen. Apodaca (R-Henderson), the Senate Rules Chairman, which would have redistricted the City of Asheville. Sen. Apodaca was in the House chamber when a bipartisan coalition voted 47-59 against the measure. When approached by reporters Sen. Apodaca, who is retiring from the Senate, said “I’m sure they’re just sending a goodbye present to me.”
House Republicans stood up to questionable process – Citizen-Times
Discussions began earlier in the week regarding a potential change to House Bill 2, amid concerns that the NBA would move next year’s All-Star game out of Charlotte. Governor McCrory (R) addressed a joint caucus of House and Senate Republicans to discuss the proposed changes. He also met independently with Senate Democrats at the Governor’s mansion in an attempt to move forward with the “fix”. Draft legislation circulated later in the week included restoring a plaintiff’s ability to file discriminatory termination suits in State Court among other minor changes. The NBA however issued a press release stating that the changes were insufficient. In the final hours of Friday night, lawmakers used a Conference Committee for House Bill 169 to strip all of the regulatory reform language from the bill and pass a stand-alone provision restoring plaintiff’s ability to sue in state court for wrongful discharge due to discrimination. Prior to HB2, the statute of limitations was three years which was reduced to one under this change. The budget technical corrections bill also contained an appropriation of $500,000 to defend the State in litigation over HB2.
House Bill 169 was not the only piece of regulatory reforming legislation that failed to pass. Other bills that failed included: Senate Bill 303 the Regulatory Reform Act of 2016; House Bill 763 the Military Operations Protections Act of 2016 which included restrictions on wind farms; and House Bill 593 Amend Environmental & Other Laws. Several other high profile bills also failed to gain the approval of both chambers including:
The legislature successfully passed House Bill 959, entitled DOT Proposed Legislative Changes, which makes revisions to various transportation laws. One provision requires individuals riding a bicycle to have a red rear light or wear a reflective vest or clothing visible from a distance of at least 300 feet from the rear when riding at night. Another section repeals a law that makes it an infraction for a vehicle owner who fails to sign their registration card with pen and ink upon receipt. The most notable provision repeals the MAP Act, a law that allowed DOT to restrict the use of private property falling under a proposed corridor for a potential future project. The MAP Act was recently found unconstitutional by the NC Supreme Court.
House Passes bill effectively nullifying Map Act – Carolina Journal
The legislature also passed House bill 972, which regulates the disclosure of footage from police body cameras and dashboard cameras statewide, excluding both from public record laws. Concerns about transparency were raised as reviewing the footage will be more difficult under the new legislation. The bill awaits action from the Governor.
The House Insurance Committee heard House Bill 1048, entitled Reduce Barriers to Improve NC Health & Safety. The bill would prevent health insurers from requiring a process called Step Therapy, whereby patients must try less expensive, generic drugs before insurance will cover a more expensive drug. The bill was vigorously opposed by insurance companies, as well as the NC Chamber and the NC chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. Opponents of the bill claim that the bill was a health insurance mandate and would further raise the costs of healthcare on employers. Proponents argued that the medicine that works best should be paid for without risking the health of the patient, with the physician making the decision for the patient. Rep. Lewis (R-Harnett) ultimately pulled his own bill, saying that he expected it would have passed the Committee, but that there was not enough time to get the bill through both chambers before adjournment. He also noted that he intends to revisit the issue next year.
The House will be without a stalwart of the chamber when the 2017-18 Session convenes in January. Longtime and beloved House Principal Clerk, Denise Weeks will retire by the end of the year. She had intended to retire on May 1st, but was convinced by leaders in both parties to stay on through the short session. To prevent her from retiring altogether, bipartisan legislation, House Bill 1019, was filed by Rep. G. Martin (D-Wake) and Rep. Torbett (R-Gaston). The bill establishes duties a Principal Clerk of the House of Representatives must realize to be eligible for retirement and was debated by the Committee of the Whole, which is the full House. The bill paid homage to Mrs. Weeks, recognizing her many accolades as requirements for retirement eligibility, with the exception of one. The last duty in the proposed legislation requires the House Principal Clerk to serve in the role for 50 years, preventing her from retiring for another 27 years. The House passed the resolution unanimously in the last few minutes of the session. The problem is Denise plans to retire anyway.
Legislation in the News:
NC Senate opts against vote on Whitewater Center plan – Charlotte Observer
Achievement School District clears NC General Assembly – Winston-Salem Journal
Needle/ Syringe Exchange Bill Has Good Shot at Becoming Law – NC Health News
Bill would force NC attorney general to defend redistricting, other local acts – Winston-Salem Journal
After reaching an agreement on the 235-page, $22.34 Billion budget, the two chambers passed the Conference Report for House Bill 1030, a 2.8% spending increase over 2015. The Senate passed the budget, largely along party lines 36-14, with Senators Clark (D-Cumberland) and Smith (D-Columbus) voting with the Republican majority. The House passed the budget with strong bipartisan numbers 91-22, with 19 Democrats voting with the Republican majority. Among other provisions, the budget:
· Provides additional $475 Million to the Savings Reserve Account, or “rainy day fund”, bring the total to nearly $1.6 Billion, close to 8% of state’s annual spending, in reserves for any future economic downturns
· Increases the standard deduction on personal income, or the “zero tax bracket” for married filing jointly, from $15,500 to $17,500, over 2 years in $1,000 increments.
· Uses $18 million from the sale of the Dorothea Dix campus to expand inpatient behavioral health beds targeting rural areas
· Provides $7.7 million for graduate medical residency program at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center
· Provides $11 Million to create a Asheville campus for the UNC School of Medicine
· Funds additional 300 slots for Alzheimer’s patients and their families through the Community Alternative Program for Disabled Adults
· Increases average teacher pay from $47,783 to $54,224 over the next three years
· Establishes a pilot program awarding performance based bonuses for 3rd grade teachers
· Fully funds enrollment growth for K-12, community colleges and university system
· Establishes $34.8 Million opportunity scholarship grant fund reserve for need-based scholarships
· Establishes tuition reimbursement pilot program for up to 25 teacher assistants per County in Anson, Franklin, Moore, Richmond, and Scotland Counties who pursue a full teaching degree
· Reduces in-state tuition to $500 per semester at Western Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, and UNC Pembroke beginning in 2018, and stabilize tuition increases at other institutions
· Permanent 1.5% pay increase; 0.5% one-time bonus for state employees; and 1.6% cost of living bonus for retired state employees
· Repeals the $500,000 cap on state funding for light rail projects effective for the next round of project prioritization, but adds other restrictions
· Provides additional $32 Million for Strategic Transportation Investment, allowing for new highway projects over the next decade
The House approved a PCS for Senate Bill 770, the NC Farm Act of 2016, sponsored by Sen. Jackson (R-Sampson). The Senate concurred with the House changes and the bill now awaits action from the Governor. The bill, among other provisions:
· Grants the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) several new powers to enforce the DACS bedding sanitation program
· Authorizes DACS to appoint and deploy agricultural emergency response teams to respond to agricultural emergencies.
· Authorizes employees of the Wildlife Resources Commission and employees of federal agencies whose responsibilities include fisheries and wildlife management, to cull feral swine from an aircraft with the written permission of the landowner
· Eliminates the rendering plant inspection committee
· Allow local school boards to develop and implement policies to facilitate and maximize purchases of food grown or raised in North Carolina
· Extends the sunset for the production credit for commercial facilities for processing renewable fuel from January 1, 2017 to January 1, 2020.
· Clarifies that a building permit is not required for certain work costing less than $15,000 provided that the work is performed in accordance with the current edition of the North Carolina State Building Code
· Exempts any activity that constitutes a bona fide farm use, including the production of mulch, ornamental plants, sod, and other horticultural products from the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act
· Waives or prorates deferred taxes when property under present use valuation (PUV) is transferred for less than its true value to a nonprofit entity for conservation or historical preservation
· Adds section extending the renewable energy tax credit for swine and poultry waste renewable energy facilities to January 1st 2017 for those in the public utility’s interconnection queue, provided that prior to May 21, 2016, the facility has: entered into the interconnection queue and; either obtained a certificate of public convenience and necessity or reported to the Utilities Commission that it proposes to construct the facility
Some Teachers Left Out Of State Pay Raises
Julie Ball from The Citizen Times
ASHEVILLE – North Carolina Republican lawmakers are predicting pay raises included in their budget plan will bring the average annual teacher salary in the state to more than $50,000 for the first time.
They say the raises are part of a three-year effort to raise average pay to nearly $55,000.
But some of the state’s most experienced teachers are feeling left out. They will see some of the smallest raises, and about 4,000 are not expected to get a raise this year.
“The North Carolina legislature is happy to tell the public that they have provided significant raises for teachers in the past six years. But that’s not the whole story,” said Debi Beckman, a Buncombe County teacher who is in her 34th year.
Lawmakers in the state House and Senate approved the pay raise plan as part of the new budget. As of Thursday, the budget still needed the signature of Gov. Pat McCrory.
In a joint news release last month, Republican leaders in the House and Senate called the pay raises “dramatic.”
They said the pay plan “continues Republican state leaders’ commitment to dramatically raising teacher pay with a bold plan to boost average teacher salaries to $50,186 next school year and to nearly $55,000 within three years.”
In addition to raises, the state budget also sets aside money to pay bonuses to Advanced Placement teachers and Career Technical Education teachers based on student performance measures. And some third-grade teachers who have been implementing Read to Achieve could also earn thousands in bonuses based on their students’ growth scores, according to news reports.
“If you value teachers, vote for this budget,” said Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, told colleagues during House floor debate last month.
The pay raise plan “lays the foundation” to increase average teacher pay over the next three years, “which will provide North Carolina public school teachers an average $4,700 permanent pay raise over the same period and propel the state to the top of regional rankings,” according to the release.
Several members of the House and Senate education appropriations committees could not be reached for this story.
Raising pay for teachers has been a major issue in the state, especially as North Carolina schools struggle to recruit teachers amid a shrinking pool of applicants.
“We’ve lost quality people to Georgia for significant pay raises,” said Chris Baldwin, Macon County school superintendent.
Applicants from Alabama have also turned down jobs in Macon County after they saw the pay scale, Baldwin said.
“Teachers are aware that states around them are paying significantly more, and then their colleagues leave for that higher pay. It does play into teacher morale,” he said.
The state ranked ninth in the southeast out of 12 states in average teacher pay during the 2015-16 school year.
The Public School Forum of North Carolina predicts the latest pay raises will move the state up to seventh in the southeast when it comes to average pay, but North Carolina will still trail some neighboring states including Georgia and South Carolina.
“Other states are not standing still,” said Keith Poston, executive director of the group.
The Public School Forum found Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia “have specific increases in teacher pay planned for 2016-17; Arkansas and Georgia have increases in their education budgets that the state board of education or local districts could decide to allocate to teacher pay or other needs.”
The salary rankings include the local supplements that most school districts in North Carolina pay in addition to the state-set base pay.
Poston said three southeastern states already have average pay above $50,000, and three more will move above that level in the coming year. North Carolina would be the seventh, he said.
“Our feeling is we need to make a larger and more sustained commitment to teachers,” Poston said. He said the state has been picking “winners” when it comes to pay raises rather than making across the board increases.
In 2014, beginning teachers were the focus of much-debated pay raises. But the most experienced teachers, those who have been teaching for more than 25 years, haven’t seen big changes in their salaries. Some saw less than a 1 percent increase under the 2014-15 increases.
“These are the teachers that we have basically ignored for the last few years,” Poston said. “It’s not right. We need to be focused on keeping all of our excellent teachers in the classroom.”
Details of the plan
The increases are included in the state-set base pay. They don’t include possible increases in local supplements. Buncombe County school officials did get county dollars to increase the local supplement for local teachers. That will come on top of any state increase.
Overall, state officials have said the average of base pay raises in the plan is 4.7 percent. But it will vary depending on experience level.
With this plan, the largest pay raises occur between year 10 and year 25. Teachers moving from year 14 to year 15 will see a 13.1 percent increase, the biggest single increase in the plan.
On the lower end of the scale, those teachers already at year 25 and above will see raises of 2 percent. For a teacher with a bachelor’s degree, pay is capped at $51,000 annually starting at year 25. Teachers can earn more if they have National Board Certification. And some teachers earn more because they have a master’s degree, but that is being phased out by the state.
In 2014-15 when the state redid the salary structure, some teachers were already making above the capped level. Those teachers were “held harmless,” meaning they don’t see a pay cut, but they also won’t see an increase this year, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
About 4,000 teachers in the state fall into that “held harmless” category, according to the North Carolina Association of Educators.
“In reality, I guess they will be making less because they got a $750 bonus last year,” said Mark Jewell, president of the NCAE.
Beckman is one of those teachers.
She said she doesn’t begrudge the raises other teachers are set to receive. But she feels the state’s most veteran teachers haven’t been respected.
“They (state lawmakers) understand that we have been working for a long time for our students and that we care about our students. And because we have a number of years invested toward retirement, they don’t have to be respectful about our pay,” Beckman said.
Under the revised pay scale, the starting base pay for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree remains at $35,000.
Pay then increases each year through year 15. That’s a change from the previous pay scale, which kept pay at the same level for five years before teachers would see an increase. Starting at year 15, pay again falls into five-year tiers and teachers must wait to year 20 for another step increase. Step increases stop at year 25.
“Veteran teachers are discouraged to say the least,” Beckman said. “From year 25 to retirement veteran teachers will receive the same pay, whether they retire at 30 years or 45 years. No raise. Nothing. In 2010 a teacher with 33 years experience made $52,550. Today a teacher with 33 years experience makes $51,000. How did salaries go down for our most experienced educators?”
Rena Sutton, a counselor at South Macon Elementary School with 34 years experience, said she is also in the “held harmless” category.
She said if the state had kept the salary scale it had in place in 2008 she’d be making more money now. And teachers still feel the loss of longevity pay, which was folded into their regular base pay as part of the previous pay structure changes, she said.
“Younger teachers, thankfully, are receiving much deserved increases, but by no means overwhelming amounts of money,” Sutton said via email. “This will help them in the near future, but with increased life spans, they had better plan a move to another state to realize their income potential when they become experienced and at the full gait of professionalism in their mid-40s when the lack of increased long-term income becomes their new problem.”
Angie Cathcart, digital lead teacher at Asheville Middle School and president of the Asheville City Association of Educators, says what’s happened is the gap has narrowed between starting pay and what the most experienced teacher can earn.
“I’m glad that there was some pay increase as opposed to zero, but it’s still nominal for veteran teachers,” she said. “And me personally I feel undervalued for the kind of work that I’ve done for 26 years.”
Some teachers have also expressed concerns about plans for bonuses that target third-grade teachers.
Paula Dinga, a third-grade teacher, wants to know the details.
“I would benefit from this,” she said. “But I also think that my job is made easier by the kindergarten and first-grade and second-grade teachers. … Why are we focused on a single grade?”
WARREN COUNTY SCHOOLS
Summer Meals For Youths: Volunteers Needed
Contact Quilt Lizzy
Halifax County Hosts Mock County Commissioners Meeting
Halifax County hosted the Pathways to Success Youth Leadership group organized by the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce. They learned about local government and conducted a mock county commissioners meeting. Pictured from left to right with the students are Judge Manning-Vice Chair, Vernon Bryant-Chairman and Tony Brown-City Manager.
Spend The Summer At Home With These Stem Activities:
30 Minutes Or Less
Running out of things to do with your student as summer heats up? Check out these 10 STEM activities to do at home- all in 30 minutes or less.
1. Learn about principles such as molecular attraction and separation with Science Kid’s Oil and Water experiment with things that you probably already have at home.
2. Annenburg Learner created a list of quick math games that teach odds, patterns and saving money with math.
3. Take a walk outside, searching for as many bug species as you can. Spend the time after the walk searching the internet for images of the bugs you found, and look up interesting facts about them.
4. Head to Youtube and watch videos that explain even the most complex principles. Minute Physics is a great channel to start off watching, discussing everyday physics uses such as car crashes and piano tuning.
5. Follow these steps to make your own water cycle in a bag. This is a hands-on way to visualize the different processes in the water cycle- from evaporation to condensation.
6. Build paper airplanes and have a competition to see whose plane can fly the farthest. For more advanced airplane builders, try building the paper airplane that can support the most weight.
7. Play a game with NASA Kid’s Club. Kids can color pages or go on a virtual mission to Jupiter, all from the comfort of home.
8. Science Bob shared a way to make starch slime in as an experiment, complete with questions to ask before and a discussion of how it works.
9. Have you ever put raisins in a glass of club soda? Ever wondered what would happen? PBS Kids has the experiment and the answers.
10. Raid the pantry and make a snack. Practice math skills by observing fractions hands-on while cooking or baking. Plus, at the end of the lesson, you have a tasty treat.
SCROLL THROUGH FOR GREAT STEM RESOURCES
STEM Grants & Awards
IN THE NEWS:
· The board of directors of the Cherry Hill Historical Trust, Incorporated has announced the establishment of the Edwina Rooker Endowment. A contribution to the foundation will enable the directors to provide an annual concert honoring the memory of the late Edwina Rooker. The Warrenton native and longtime supporter of Cherry Hill made a bequest to the foundation to support its educational, cultural and preservation missions.
· The Warren County NAACP is asking local residents to complete an online test from their home computers to help determine the quality of Internet access in various areas of the county. Dr. Cosmos George, president of the local NAACP chapter, said that the test has been arranged as a result of state legislation that will eliminate traditional paper textbooks from public schools in 2017.
· Vaughan Elementary School Principal Renee Mizelle was named Warren County School’s literacy coordinator as part of personnel action taken by the board of education during its June 28 business meeting/work session.
· Low-income residents in eastern North Carolina may qualify for low-cost home internet service through a partnership between community agencies and AT&T. Nash-Edgecombe Economic Development will host a community launch event to introduce the program from 9 a.m. to noon July 20 at the NEED Inc. office on the second floor of 200 N Church St. in Rocky Mount. For more information, contact NEED at 252-442-8503.
Henderson Daily Dispatch
· The Vance County Department of Social Services is looking for someone to fill the position of director.
Rocky Mount Telegram
· Felicia Lucas, from Rocky Mount, has been selected as the Business and Professional Women of North Carolina’s Career Woman of the Year.
YOUR KIND WORDS ARE APPRECIATED:
Dear Senator Bryant:
The Halifax County Arts Council is very grateful for your support of the arts in North Carolina. With the funds we have received from the NC Arts Council we have been able to undertake a variety of activities in the past year that have increased awareness and access to the arts in community. In addition, we have been able to support other grassroots organizations and their arts programs. This year the Grassroots Arts Grants Program supported the Halifax County Arts Council’s Mural Program, and we have gave grants to the Concerned Citizens of Tillery, the City of Roanoke Rapids, the Town of Littleton, The Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe, the Friends of the Scotland Neck Memorial Library, and the Roanoke Rapids Business Alliance. Without your support, these programs would not be possible. The funding from the state provides a foundation for the arts in Halifax County. Without it we would not be able to continue to grow in our community and enrich the lives of all of our citizens. We hope you will join us for some of our events in the coming year.
Sincerely, Magda Baligh
The Ella Baker Day event was a grand success in the little town of Littleton! We share that success with you because of grant funding made available through the North Carolina Arts Council. We were able to provide educational visual arts materials and a performing arts experience to over 7,000 children in Warren and Halifax County Schools. The general public was able to attend a Garrett Davis Production of the stage play, “We Shall Overcome”, symposium with a historic panel of individuals that were participants of civil rights movement as “Freedom Riders”, along with local historian, and local government officials for the enlightenment of all about our history, progress and future needs in addressing social justice. We were able to purchase the video documentary, Fundi”, the Ella Baker Story that will be available for viewing each year henceforth. In addition, we thank you for your participation on the panel for the symposium, your insights about voting rights and encouragement to remain civically involved was most appreciated. The planning committee and I would like to express our sincerest gratitude and THANK YOU!
Thank you for all of your support on the Healthy Corner Store Initiative!
NC Alliance for Health
Follow Senator Angela R. Bryant on social media!