Wintery Weather Slows General Assembly Activity
The winter weather last week resulted in cancellation of the majority of legislative business. Most committees were cancelled and the House and Senate held limited sessions to deal with a handful of bills.
Economic Development Package Forthcoming
The highly anticipated economic development package from the House Republicans is expected to be filed this week. There have been several different versions being debated internally within the House. Speculation indicates that the package will include expansion of the Job Development Investment Grant program (JDIG), authorization for crowd funding investment and provisions changing the way in which the state calculates business taxes. The senior chairman of the House Finance Committee, Rep. Bill Brawley (R-Mecklenburg) stated last week “We will get it done when we think we get it right.”
Senate Passes Unemployment Insurance Changes
The Senate passed Senate Bill 15-Unemployment Insurance Law Changes with a vote of 40-6. The legislation makes several changes to the unemployment insurance laws, including a provision that would require unemployment beneficiaries to create additional job contacts with potential employers. Current law requires beneficiaries to seek work on at least two different days of the week and to make at least two potential job contacts. The new legislation would require beneficiaries to make at least five job contacts a week. Other changes within the proposal would implement a cross-checking and photo ID measure to identity benefit eligibility and staggers terms on the state board with oversight.
Senate to Propose Workforce Development Study
Senator Tillman (R-Randolph), a member of the new Senate Workforce & Economic Development Committee stated last week that he would be pushing a new study bill to look at the plausibility of moving all of the state’s workforce development programs under the authority of the community college system. The workforce development system currently consists of 17 programs administered by five state agencies.
New Common Core Public Survey
The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) unveiled last week an online survey for the public’s feedback on K-12 English language arts and math standards as they continue to debate common core standards. The public can provide anonymous feedback through April 30th through: http://ncdpireview.weebly.com/. State Superintendent June Atkinson stated in a press release: "We need to hear from parents and the broader community as we move forward with reviews of our content standards to make sure that standards help students reach high goals and prepare for the future."