House approves campus police, school internet bills
Posted March 13, 2013
By unanimous votes, House lawmakers on Wednesday approved proposals to evaluate Internet access in schools statewide and to improve access to campus police records at private colleges and universities.
House Bill 45, Internet Access for Public Schools, directs the State Board of Education to "establish a standard for sufficient classroom wireless connectivity for a digital learning environment and conduct an inventory of the wireless access and bandwidth capacity of each public school in the state based on that standard."
The measure originally included $100,000 to pay for the inventory, but sponsor Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, ran a floor amendment to remove the appropriation, saying it would be dealt with in the state budget bill instead.
Horn said the inventory would give state leaders a better picture of how to move the education system toward digital learning.
The other bill, House Bill 142, would apply public records standards to campus police at private colleges and universities.
"In 2005, the legislature passed the Campus Police Act, allowing private colleges and universities to create their own police forces," said sponsor Rep. Steve Ross, R-Alamance. "There were no standards on what they needed to release if there was an arrest on campus."
Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, a retired police chief, noted that a private university's police department "is exactly that – it has the authority that a public police agency has."
Ross said the measure, which was worked out by the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Association, "essentially requires they release the exact same thing that would be released by our public universities," from complaints and arrest reports to emergency calls.
Both measures now move to the Senate.