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Today @NCCapitol (April 22): Wake County school board districts up for debate tonight

Posted April 22, 2013

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, April 22. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government today.

SENATE: The State Senate will take up a bill redrawing Wake County's school board districts when it meets at 7 p.m. tonight. The plan, which passed committee last week, creates seven individual districts and two regional districts – one serving rural areas of the county and the other drawn predominately in urban areas. Every voter would choose one member from an individual district and one from one of the two regional regional districts. 

The new plan would not go into effect until 2016.

The measure is expected to be the subject of intense debate. Democrats point to this as the latest in a series of bills that meddles with local governments. 

"I think it's important for parents to be able to vote for the school board member that represents their child's school," Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, said during this weekend's edition of On the Record. However, others have pointed out since there is no true at-large district, it is still possible that children will be going to schools represented by members whom their parents do not vote for.

Redistricting meeting On The Record: Redistricting debate heats up Another bill on the Senate calendar would require applicants of certain public benefits, including food stamps, to submit to drug testing before receiving public aid. However, Senate leaders said Thursday they were not certain that bill would be heard Monday night, given the likely long debate over the Wake County measure. 

WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Check the Video Central box on our home page. 

HOUSE: The state House will meet at 7 p.m. Among the bills on its calendar would be one that would give greater right of way privileges to funeral processions and give funeral directors immunity for accidents that happen during such processions. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, who is a funeral director. 

COMMITTEE: The Program Evaluation Committee will meet at 4 p.m. today. They will be reviewing a report by legislative auditors that examines whether centralizing fleet operations for the Department of Public Safety would save money.

MCCRORY: Gov. Pat McCrory has no public events on his schedule today. 

THIS WEEK: Voter ID and firearms legislation will be on the legislative agenda this week. 

VOTER ID: The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up a measure that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls on Tuesday morning. House Speaker Thom Tillis said he expected to measure to dominate debate on the House floor Wednesday and possibly Thursday. 

GUNS: The House Judiciary A Committee is scheduled to take up a bill that will amend various firearm laws on Wednesday. As currently drafted, the measure would increase penalties for some gun crimes but expand rights for those who hold concealed handgun permits. Among on other changes, it would allow permit holders to carry firearms in to establishments that serve alcohol.

FURNITURE: Gov. Pat McCrory met with furniture industry executives over the weekend, telling them he would protect funding for the High Point Furniture Market. McCrory is quoted by the Lexington Dispatch as saying he never intended for a cut to the Furniture Market Authority's budget to make it into the draft budget he release last month. “I fell on my sword here today,” McCrory said Saturday afternoon at a press conference, the Dispatch reported.

WORTH THE READ: Other state government stories of note from this weekend include: 

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Abortion-rights advocates and political observers say a series of measures in the North Carolina General Assembly adding new restrictions for the procedure could set up the first test of wills between the GOP majority in the legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

News & ObserverFor years we heard conservatives say that the government closest to the people governs best. But they were talking about Washington. When it comes to Raleigh, the new Republican majority has not hesitated to use state power to advance their own agenda – even if it means disregarding local sentiment.

New York TimesNow that their lobbying blitz is behind them and the legislative debate is over in the Senate, the victims’ advocates are forging ahead with new tactics and plotting their next moves. They hope to revive the bill, while pushing for new state laws and campaigning against politicians opposed to gun control.

Asheville Citizen Times: Other bills that still have a long way to go include a voucher system to provide state money for a private school education and another measure that would drop class size limits for kindergarten-third grade. A bill banning annexations by all municipalities seems to have good prospects. “These bills that are coming out are even more more conservative than what I thought they’d be,” said Chris Cooper, a political scientist at Western Carolina University. “I think the legislature is taking things pretty far to the right, and Gov. McCrory is taking things pretty far to the right.”

StatelineYes, after a timeout for the recession, the National Football League is back in the game of getting public money to pay for better stadiums. In many cases, teams want to replace or renovate stadiums finished during a 1990s sports construction boom. “We had a real lull from the beginning of the Great Recession,” said Victor Matheson, an economics professor at Holy Cross who studies sports. “Just in the last year, however, we’ve seen the tide turn… We have a little bit of a backlog, so you’re seeing a bunch of stadiums on the table now.”

N.C. Health NewsA bill requiring recipients of welfare benefits to submit to drug testing passed through committee last week and is scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor Monday night. The bill, Senate Bill 594, would mandate that recipients of Work First, North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, pay for a comprehensive drug-screening test at a cost of between $50 and $150. The county would reimburse the cost of the test if it comes back negative. Testing for alcohol would not be included in the screening.

19 Comments

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  • DoingMyBest Apr 24, 11:02 a.m.

    "Then what do you call the redrawing of the district maps that the legislature is doing? Are you seriously trying to say that redrawing the maps is not changing school district lines? Have you forgotten that there are nine school districts in Wake County?"

    Wake county is one school district. The districts you are refering to are voting districts for representatives. Unless you are making the county school district bigger or smaller nothing is being changed.

  • Pensive01 Apr 23, 11:43 a.m.

    @DoingMyBest
    Then what do you call the redrawing of the district maps that the legislature is doing? Are you seriously trying to say that redrawing the maps is not changing school district lines? Have you forgotten that there are nine school districts in Wake County?

  • DoingMyBest Apr 23, 9:51 a.m.

    "That obstacle being the North Carolina Constitution, which specifically says that the Legislature has no authority to change how school districts are drawn. h) Erecting new townships, or changing township lines, or establishing or changing the lines of school districts"

    Show us where they are erecting new townships or changing township lines or changing the lines of the school district. No townships lines are being moved and Wake county is the school district and no county lines are being changed. Don't have much of a case here.

  • Pensive01 Apr 22, 4:58 p.m.

    This whole business over the Legislature redrawing school districts is a complete waste of the time and tax dollars spent on it. While I have no doubt the majority could easily pass it, they face one huge obstacle to it becoming law. That obstacle being the North Carolina Constitution, which specifically says that the Legislature has no authority to change how school districts are drawn. For those who may doubt this fact, I'll post the relevant parts below.

    ARTICLE II LEGISLATIVE

    Sec. 24. Limitations on local, private, and special legislation.
    (1) Prohibited subjects. The General Assembly shall not enact any local, private, or special act or resolution:
    (h) Erecting new townships, or changing township lines, or establishing or changing the lines of school districts
    (3) Prohibited acts void. Any local, private, or special act or resolution enacted in violation of the provisions of this Section shall be void.

  • dontstopnow Apr 22, 10:14 a.m.

    "Another bill on the Senate calendar would require applicants of certain public benefits, including food stamps, to submit to drug testing before receiving public aid. However, Senate leaders said Thursday they were not certain that bill would be heard Monday night, given the likely long debate over the Wake County measure"

    It is about time for this to happen. If you are on the government dole for benefits, you should not be using drugs unless they are prescribed by your doctor for an illness! I bet there will be a lot of cleaning up going on when this bill passes. :)

  • kornfan2448 Apr 22, 10:05 a.m.

    I don't blame Zealotry for moving one bit. Wake Co. schools have been a mess for years with no end in sight. How long should a parent let their children's education suffer in a school system that continues to be a national joke and a mockery?

  • arfamr1007 Apr 22, 9:51 a.m.

    My understanding is wake is the only county bussing kids based on race. This is illegal and a huge waste of $$$. That is why the senate isn't involved in other county issues at this time.

  • maggiesp7 Apr 22, 9:43 a.m.

    I know a school that the Custodian is teaching the kids reading during school hours and doing things with the kids after school. Something isn't right here if you want to teach go back to school and get an education. At HMS the Assistant Principal allows this to happen. We are not so broke that we can't afford an educated teacher to teach these kids

  • free2bme Apr 22, 9:37 a.m.

    Why is the Senate involved in Wake County schools? As far as I know they are not doing this for any of the other counties in the state. They need to focus on what they were elected to do, represent all people of this state. NC remains in the dark ages and has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

  • Zealotry Apr 22, 9:21 a.m.

    Superman, You are correct about year round schools need to be all or none. I do not expect the schools to make "having children convenient" however if the money the Wake County schools waste were put into a voucher program I Guarantee that these problems would go away. It is simple to put focus on education when you take the money away from these people and put into a working school by the parents choosing where to send their kids. Using your analogy of parents paying more in taxes than people without children works for me if that philosophy is also applied across the board. Just think how it would be if we could get people who use food stamps and government housing to pay more in taxes for using these services!

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