@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Weekly Wrap: Classes now, classes this summer

Posted February 19, 2021 8:58 p.m. EST

— Schools have become priority No. 1 for lawmakers this session.

The legislature passed a bill this week that would require schools to offer in-person classes during the pandemic to any student who wants it, and they're pressing Gov. Roy Cooper to sign it or veto it so they can put it into action. Both the House and the Senate passed it by veto-proof margins.

House leaders also rolled out a plan this week for a extended summer school to help students who have fallen behind during months of online classes. Schools would be required to have the classes, but students wouldn't be required to attend.

Elsewhere, the Department of Health and Human Services was blistered in a state audit for not checking to ensure that all Medicaid providers are qualified to treat patients. Auditors found dozens of providers whose licenses were revoked, suspended or curtailed who weren't removed from the Medicaid program.

Lawmakers also dissolved the legislature's nonpartisan watchdog agency. The Program Evaluation Division has investigated state agencies and programs since 2007, but legislative leaders said a joint committee process would be more responsive.

Among the bills filed this week, one would cut state funding to any city or county that disproportionately cuts funding to local law enforcement agencies. Another bill revives a 2019 effort that Cooper vetoed to require local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration agents, this time putting the onus on jail administrators rather than on sheriffs.

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