News: Quick Takes

NCGA roundup: Bill cutting size of UNC Board of Governors advances

Eminent domain amendment, school calendar flexibility among measures introduced

The House higher education committee on Tuesday gave its nod to a bill decreasing the number of members on the UNC Board of Governors from 32 to 24.

The measure would eliminate positions on the board as the terms of current members expire.

“The intent of this bill frankly is to make the Board of Governors, we believe, a more efficient and effective entity,” said Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett. “We believe that by decreasing the total number of people you will actually get more involvement and more engagement from the members of the board.”

Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, expressed concerns that shrinking the board may reduce minority representation on it, including advocates from some of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“I’m not asking for a quota system,” Michaux said. “I just want to be sure that fairness exists, particularly when we’ve got five HBCUs in the system.”

The bill passed the committee on a 10-3 vote. It is scheduled for its first floor vote in the House on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the House Education Committee for K-12 schools approved a bill giving local systems more class size flexibility. That bill was sent to the House Appropriations Committee, which is scheduled to take the bill up Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee is scheduled to take up the confirmation of former state Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham, as Gov. Roy Cooper’s secretary for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. However, Cooper’s attorneys have asked a court for a temporary restraining order to stop the Senate confirmation process until a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality can be settled.

Legislators were also busy filing bills on Tuesday. They include:

  • A resolution calling for a Convention of the States to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution reining in on the power of the federal government (House Bill 44), introduced by Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham. Sen. Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico, introduced a corresponding amendment in the Senate (Senate Bill 36).
  • A bill setting up a pilot program to use GPS tracking devices on people who have committed acts of domestic violence (H.B. 46), introduced by Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth.
  • A bill extending the time a legislator can become a lobbyist after leaving office from six months to one year (H.B. 48), introduced by Rep. Scott Stone, R-Mecklenburg.
  • A resolution rescinding former calls for a Convention of the States to propose constitutional amendments (H.B. 52), introduced by Rep. Jeff Elmore, R-Wilkes.
  • A bill providing more calendar flexibility for North Carolina’s public schools (H.B. 53), introduced by Rep. Cody Henson, R-Transylvania.
  • A bill removing the cap on income tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes (H.B. 54), introduced by Rep. Kelly Hastings, R-Gaston.
  • A bill calling for an amendment to the N.C. Constitution limiting eminent domain abuse (S.B. 34), introduced by Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson. Jackson also filed a separate bill (S.B. 35), implementing the eminent domain protections if the amendment passes.
  • A bill allowing any registered voter in a county to challenge another voter’s absentee ballot (S.B. 38), introduced by Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort.
  • A bill allowing charter schools to establish cooperative innovative high schools (S.B. 39), introduced by Cook.
  • A resolution calling for a federal constitutional convention to adopt an amendment allowing states to nullify or repeal a federal action provided three-fifths of the state legislatures approve such a move (S.B. 40), introduced by Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell.