Today@NCCapitol (Feb. 16): Floor votes on BOG, class size bills

Both the House and Senate will hold floor votes today. The Senate is expected to give final approval to a bill shrinking the size of the Board of Governors. The House is scheduled to debate a bill giving back flexibility ot schools on class size.

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General Assembly Entrance
Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — Legislative Day 15 brings the first time this session that both the House and the Senate will debate substantive legislation on the same day.
The Senate will meet at 10 a.m. and is expected to sign off on a bill shrinking the size of the UNC Board of Governors from 32 to 24 members. If, as expected, the bill passes as is, it will be the first bill sent to Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature or veto.

The House, meanwhile, has four bills on its calendar.

One measure would reverse class size cuts made in last year's budget. Although the move was meant to limit the number of children in K-3 classes, school systems say the practical effect of the budget provision could be to force some schools to lay off art and physical education teachers.

House members are also expected to pass a bill calling for an eminent domain constitutional amendment. The measure would let voters decide whether to limit the purposes for which state and local governments can force landowners to sell their property. While eminent domain powers could still be used for things like road construction, schools and water systems, governments could not take land for economic development purposes, such as buying blighted property to turn over to a private developer.

The House has passed an eminent domain bill several times over the past 20 years, only to see the Senate balk entirely or attach the measure to other proposed amendments House members wouldn't accept.

Bill filings: Among the measures filed Wednesday was Senate Bill 94, a proposal by Sen. Ron Rabin, R-Harnett, to make all elections partisan. Races in which candidates currently don't run under party labels for certain school board, city council and other local government seats would become Republican vs. Democratic affairs.

"We have an issue in this state of candidates saying one thing during election time and doing the opposite after being elected," Rabin said in a news release. "People have the right to know who they are voting for to represent them."

Calendar notes: If you really must attend a committee meeting Thursday, get up early. The House Finance Committee will meet at 8:30 a.m. to consider a package of technical tax changes. That's it for the committee schedule.
Program notes: Today@NCCapitol will publish most mornings the legislature is in session with a look ahead for that day's activities if there are substantive hearings or votes planned. Look for TheWrap@NCCapitol, a video recap of legislative business, at the conclusion of most legislative days.

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