Today @NCCapitol (March 19): School Safety

Posted March 19, 2013

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, March 19. This is WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.

SCHOOL SAFETY: Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to announce a safer schools plan at 10:30 a.m. at Apex Middle School. He will appear with DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and DPS Secretary Kieran Shanahan, according to a news release. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson and Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison are also scheduled to attend.

School safety became a top-of-mind issue after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last year. Some districts, like Wake County, have been grappling with the idea (and cost) of placing security guards in every school. Meanwhile, some legislators have filed bills to address the issue, including allowing teachers and some volunteers to have access to firearms on school campuses. 

The school safety initiative is expected to be featured in McCrory's budget proposal. McCrory's office still has not announced a date for the release of his spending plan, but many lawmakers and lobbyists expect to see it this week. 

The Wrap @NCCapitol (March 18) The Wrap @NCCapitol (March 18) WRAP: Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and reporter Mark Binker wrap up the day in state government in Monday's The Wrap @NCCapitol

HOUSE TODAY: The full House has more than a dozen bills on its agenda today, including measures to allow hospitals to analyze whether someone has been driving while drunk and to raise the penalties on those who repeatedly drive drunk. Lawmakers will also take up a bill to ban anyone under age 18 from using a tanning bed

WRAL.com will carry this meeting live at 1 p.m. Check the Video Central box on the home page. 

Homes Wake mayors voice displeasure with home appearance bill Mayors and other local officials, meanwhile, will be hoping members vote against a bill on the House floor that would restrict the ability of cities to dictate the design of a home's appearance. The Wake County Mayor's Association spoke out Monday against a bill that would limit city and town leaders' authority to control home appearance and design.

Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles called the measure – House Bill 150, which was approved last week in committee and sent to the House floor – a "dire emergency." He and other mayors say zoning regulations respond to community needs to make sure growth happens in an orderly way. 

But GOP lawmakers and the North Carolina Home Builders Association and the North Carolina Association of Realtors say homeowners should have more control over their houses.

"There are definitely benefits to having a neighborhood look a certain way, but our contention is it is up to those homeowners," said Cady Thomas, spokeswoman for the realtors' association.

SENATE TODAY: The Senate will meet at 2 p.m. The chamber has three seemingly technical bills on its calendar. 

COMMITTEES: For a full list of committee meetings, see the main @NCCapitol page. The highlights from today's schedule include: 

HOUSE FINANCE (8:30 a.m. | 544 LB): Lawmakers will take up a bill that would require the N.C. Railroad to pay dividends to the state. Backers of a bill to allow Charlotte to use public money to finance improvements to the Panthers football stadium also hoped to have their bill heard today, but that measure is NOT on the committee calendar that was circulated Monday night. (NOTE: The bill was assigned to a House Finance subcommittee Tuesday morning.)

SENATE AGRICULTURE (11 a.m. | 544 LB): The committee will hears a bill to roll back testing requirements for animal waste runoff from hog spray fields. Testing would only have to happen once every three years under the bill, rather than every year as is currently required. 

HOUSE TRANSPORTATION (Noon | 643 LB) LIVE: The committee is once again scheduled to hear a bill that would allow motorcycle riders over age 18 to choose not to wear a helmet. The committee is also due to take up a bill that would allow school buses to be operated at 55 mph on highways if they are not carrying students. WRAL.com will carry this meeting live. Check the Video Central box on our home page. 

UNEMPLOYMENT: North Carolina's unemployment rate edged up in January as the state continues to grapple with job losses. The state Commerce Department said Monday that North Carolina's unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in January. That up from 9.4 percent in December.

APPOINTED: Gov. Pat McCrory appointed: 

Lisa Bell, of Mecklenburg County, to serve as a special superior court judge. Bell has served as a District Court Judge since 1998 and as Chief District Court Judge since her appointment in 2009.

Ray Grace, of Wake County, to serve as Commissioner of Banks. Grace is the acting Commissioner of Banks. He has over 40 years of banking experience and served as Director of Bank Applications prior to his time as Commissioner. He helped form the North Carolina Bank Directors' College and also helped to establish 95 de novo North Carolina state banks. NC copy of Bill of Rights Students share in history at NC Capitol

ALCOHOL: The newly appointed members of the state ABC commission are scheduled to make their first policy decisions Wednesday. A company hoping to sell 3-ounce vials of high-alcohol malt beverages in flavors like Screw Driver and Apple Pie is asking the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to approve its packaging. Commission staff members rejected the packaging in February.

MONDAY: If you missed it Monday:

FROM ELSEWHERE: Elsewhere around the state: 

Wilmington Star News: Tom Eagar was ousted as the Ports Authority's chief executive officer on Jan. 9, 2012, when his position was eliminated and replaced by a statewide logistics coordinator, who also oversaw operations at the N.C. Global TransPark. A lawsuit filed by Eagar in New Hanover County Superior Court in December claims Gene Conti, the then-Secretary of Transportation, had no authority to tinker with the Ports Authority's leadership.

News & Record: Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger was in Greensboro Monday morning for a meeting with local school board members... (W)e chatted very briefly about his weekend trip to C-PAC, and what he heard there about the Republican Party’s trajectory. Berger said he hadn’t read the Reince Priebus’ report, released this morning, which calls for the Republican Party to be more inclusive. “It’s not just a communication problem,” he said. “Sometimes it’s the individual messengers ... (and) some folks who lend themselves to caricature.”


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  • Stilllearnin Mar 19, 2013

    Check the Education Week publication and you will find that NC is graded at the US average for Education Policy and Performance (US Average is 76.5) NC number is 76.5. Money does not always equate to better performance!

  • junkmail5 Mar 19, 2013

    Or do you really want some half-trained teacher walking around with a holstered weapon during school hours? I certainly would not- Bendal1

    I wouldn't either.

    I'd prefer he attend ALL of the training before carrying. After that, by means he should do so if he's had the proper training.

    Continued certification checks would be good too

    Certainly far better than some principle who held a gun once having to run in a panic to a lock box and hope he knows what to do with the thing when he gets there and hopefully not too many kids were killed while he was running there and back.

    But no matter, the "plan" has been announced... it is:

    To form a new group, to study everyone elses plans, and eventually come up with one for NC.

  • Bendal1 Mar 19, 2013

    It's a fallacy to think that teachers will be "packing" while at school in case another crazed gunman bursts in and starts shooting. What will be much, much more likely is the gun will have to be kept in a secure, locked compartment, with ammo in a separate and locked container, with the teacher (and probably the principal) having a key.

    Or do you really want some half-trained teacher walking around with a holstered weapon during school hours? I certainly would not. Let the protection and law enforcement roles be handled by trained professionals, not instructors trying to teach children.

  • davido Mar 19, 2013

    @The Yoda: please cite a reference in a peer-reviewed journal. If at this point you are still in denial about global warming, well, I guess the frog is boiled..

  • andreanicole686 Mar 19, 2013

    "I think more focus and attention should be given to teachers and the quality of education provided. As the parent of a student, I feel that schools are a pretty safe place."


  • andreanicole686 Mar 19, 2013

    "Mcrory, what a joke, we know you really don't care about education and will only hurt the system while in office, you've already started with your cuts."

    Couldn't have said it better! Love how they worry about safety but not helping protect the ones that teach with legit pay.

  • RadioDJ Mar 19, 2013

    kownfan, your comment makes total sense, and thus will be derided by many here who value a firearm much more than an education. I thought that whomever said that what we REALLY need is a Teacher in every gun store was spot on. An educated person is so much less fearful of those things around them, especially those who look, act or seem different.

  • The Yoda Mar 19, 2013

    The radical republicans think it will work for global warming so surely it will work for local schools. says Mr. Middle of the Road

    You can continue to pray at the Church of ALGore, but until scientists actually prove man-made global warming, keep your religion to yourself. Scientists who are paid billions from the global warming industries will always find consensus, but no proof. OOPS, warming stopped back in 1997, so we just change our religious dogma to climate change, hypocrites!

  • RadioDJ Mar 19, 2013

    Here's a thought. Why not spend more TEACHING our children. The more educated the public is, .... OH! I get it. We don't WANT an educated public. We want right wing voters who are easily swayed and led by fear, loathing and contempt. That way, the NRA and it's minions almost sound like they are making sense. The worst enemy the right wing has in an educated voter. First, we remove all of the actual "education" from the schools and replace it with "Christian Values" and prayer. Then we "protect" the young minds from hostile takeover with armed guards. Don't want folks wandering the halls and wondering why every classroom sounds like an old time revival.

  • junkmail5 Mar 19, 2013

    Let's make sure we give the teachers guns to increase safety. Then we can give the students guns when disgruntled teachers start losing it and going on rampages shooting their students.- chippers

    here's the part you're failing to grasp.

    If someone wants to illegally go on a rampage with a gun in a school, right now, there's little to nothing stopping them.

    The notion that someone being "allowed" to carry in a school would make them more prone to go nuts with it makes literally no sense.

    Any armed teachers COULD stop them though.

    In fact, several school shootings HAVE been stopped by _exactly_ that- an armed good guy. The thing is, several had to run out to their cars to go GET their guns, allowing the shooter more time to murder people while they did, because they weren't allowed to carry on campus.

    Allowing that would've saved lives.