Copy
NCACC Legislative Bulletin
View this email in your browser
Share
Tweet
Forward
Share

August 28, 2015

Legislature postpones budget for 3rd time

The General Assembly passed its third budget extension Thursday, ensuring the legislative session will extend at least well into September. The second "continuing resolution" expires Monday, and the House and Senate were not able to reach agreement on the final state budget in time. This third stopgap measure allows state government to operate until Sept. 18 under the same parameters as the previous one, though legislative leadership expressed hope that they would finalize a budget before then.

According to House budget chairs, the two chambers have reached agreement on ending transfers from the Highway Trust Fund, state employee and teacher pay increases and funding the state health plan. One of the remaining items under negotiation is whether and how to fund driver's education.

After passage of a final budget, the legislature has traditionally taken one-to-two weeks to finalize other business. Major issues left to resolve include a finance and tax package (currently in H117), Medicaid reform, and a potential bond package (in H943). The Senate appointed conferees to H117 on Thursday; the House appointed conferees a week ago.

While the House publicly rejected Senate attempts to redistribute local sales taxes, negotiations on the bill continue. Conversations include other ways to help struggling areas of the state whether redistribution is part of the final agreement or not. Legislative leaders in the health and human services area have said they intend to conclude Medicaid reform this session. Bond negotiations will involve whether to include $500 million for school construction; the House supports this, but the Senate does not.
 

House committee approves cameras on buses


This week, the House Judiciary III committee deliberated a bill that would allow a board of county commissioners to adopt an ordinance authorizing the use of school bus safety cameras for the civil enforcement of G.S. 20-217.  This provision requires motor vehicles to stop for a school bus that is displaying a mechanical stop arm while stopped in order to board or discharge students.

S298 (School Bus Camera/Civil Penalties) provides that a county may enact an ordinance to impose civil penalties against a driver who passes a stopped school bus in violation of G.S. 20-217 when the violation is not prosecuted criminally. The bill provides for a penalty of $400 for the first offense, $750 for the second, and $1,000 for any subsequent offense. A civil penalty for violating the ordinance may not be imposed on an individual who is charged with a criminal violation under G.S. 20-217 based on the same facts.

S298 authorizes the local school board in a county that has adopted an ordinance to civilly enforce G.S. 20-217 to install and operate automated school bus safety cameras on its buses to detect violations.  The school board itself may equip the buses with cameras or it may contract with a private vendor for this purpose. All fines assessed under the ordinance will be remitted to the county school system.       

Rep. Ed Hanes, who sponsored House companion H536, told the committee that the purpose of the bill is to improve public safety and protect the lives of children. Hanes said that similar laws passed in other states have worked to reduce the number of violations.
 
Rep. Skip Stam spoke in opposition to S298. He said H355 (Evidence Passed Vehicle is a School Bus), which passed the House unanimously, would improve existing law and result in more effective prosecutions for violations of G.S. 20-217. H355 is currently in Senate Rules. It is not known whether the bill will be heard.

After a full debate, the House Judiciary III committee voted 8-3 to give S298 a favorable report. The bill has been re-referred to Appropriations.

911 Board makes recommendations to Legislature

The N.C. 911 Board met Monday to consider proposed legislative changes to Chapter 62A, which governs emergency telephone services. The proposals presented to the Board include provisions to create a Next Generation 911 Fund, to require all PSAPs to transition to the NextGen 911 network, to establish statewide purchasing agreements for 911 Fund eligible expenditures, and to allow PSAPs to apply for 911 Fund grants to fund non-eligible capital expenditures that enhance the 911 system.

The Board Agenda Book provided to members includes email comments from several county and city managers about the proposals. The Board adopted many of the suggested changes and voted to approve a final recommendation to present to members of the General Assembly.

This Week at the General Assembly

This Week at the General Assembly is produced regularly while the General Assembly in in session. Visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/ncacc1908 or our website to view the latest episode of This Week at the General Assembly.

Subscribe to the Legislative Bulletin

Visit www.ncacc.org/legislativebulletin to view archives of the bulletin or to subscribe and receive the bulletin by email.
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
Instagram
Instagram
YouTube
YouTube
Website
Website
Email
Email
Copyright © 2015 North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, All rights reserved.


unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences