Senate deal would keep driver's ed, teacher assistants

September 1, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Budget negotiators for the state Senate say they will keep funding for teacher assistants and driver's education if the House will make other concessions in the education portion of the budget. Programs likely to be cut from the House proposal include a $12 million Internet connectivity initiative and bonuses for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate teachers whose students score well on tests.

Scott Ralls prepares to step down as leader of NC community colleges

August 31, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Scott Ralls says state lawmakers need to recognize the community-college system's impact in North Carolina and get back on track when it comes to economic development. Ralls, who is stepping down as president of the 58-school system Sept. 1, signed an agreement last week with 22 private colleges to make it easier for community-college students who earn associate degrees to receive credit for general education courses when transferring to the private schools.

Budget deadline extended to Sept. 18

August 28, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

State lawmakers have moved the budget deadline to Sept. 18, the third extension this year. Key education issues include funding for teacher assistants and driver education. Aside from the budget agreement, legislators have yet to tackle Medicaid reform, transportation and infrastructure bonds and business incentives.

State employees to receive one-time bonuses

August 27, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Teachers and other state employees will receive $750 bonuses this year under a compromise reached between the two legislative chambers. House leaders had pushed for an increase in base pay that would carry over into next year. Lawmakers continue to work out other details of the proposed $21.7 billion state budget.

Budget talks to extend into September; Johnston County awaits jobs announcement

August 26, 2015


Gov. Pat McCrory will be in Johnston County this afternoon, where he is expected to make a major jobs announcement. Meanwhile, state lawmakers still haven't reached a budget agreement and plan to introduce their third temporary spending measure this year, which would keep the government operating through Sept. 15.

State lawmakers likely to miss Aug. 31 budget deadline

August 25, 2015


N.C. Sen. Tom Apodaca said Monday the state legislature will need another deadline extension to settle on a budget plan. The budget was 55 days overdue as of Monday, and lawmakers have already extended the deadline twice. Officials estimate the cost of each day of the legislative session at about $42,000. Legislators have worked 27 days since the fiscal year ended June 30.

State looks at ways to boost lottery sales

August 24, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

State lawmakers are looking at ways to generate more revenue from the N.C. Education Lottery. A plan currently under review would significantly increase advertising and would add games that could be played on computers or smartphones. Nearly $2 billion in lottery tickets were sold last year, providing more than $500 million for education programs.

House passes bill that toughens requirements for unemployed

August 21, 2015


The N.C. House passed a bill that would increase the number of potential employers an idled worker would need to contact from two per week to five per week in order to keep receiving unemployment benefits.

NC House rejects Senate's economic-development bill

August 20, 2015

(Winston-Salem Journal)

By a vote of 111-2, the N.C. House rejected the Senate version of an economic-development bill that included a plan to distribute more sales-tax revenue to counties based on population rather than the current model, where the majority of sales-tax revenue is based on the point of sale.

House, Senate leaders agree to $21.735 billion state budget

August 19, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

House and Senate leaders agreed Tuesday on a $21.735 billion budget, a 3.1% increase over the previous fiscal year. The compromise means it is unlikely that state workers will receive a 2% raise proposed by the original House budget. The two chambers also still need to work out differences regarding education spending.