May 28, 2015
Much has happened since I last wrote to you on April 17, 2015.
Praise God! The prolife bill HB 465 passed the House 74 to 45. It increases waiting periods after informed consent has been obtained from 24 hours to 72 hours. In contrast a Medicaid sterilization requires a 30 day waiting period. A home refinance requires a 3 day waiting period after every detail has been disclosed and all papers signed. Today the Senate passed the bill on a vote of 31 to 15. Third reading will be Monday night. When this bill becomes law, it will reduce abortions by about 2,000 per year. Legislation over the last 4 years has reduced the number of reported abortions from 31,000/year to 23,000/year.
On May 22 the House passed its appropriations bill for next year by a vote of 94-23. The increase from this year to next depends on how you calculate! The increase in the operating fund is 4.9%. If you include everything like capital and reserves for repairs and renovation the increase is 6.2%. There was no money for the repairs and renovations fund last year. Inflation and population growth account for about 2.7% of the increase. I am advocating to cut more dollars out of the spending plan. After five straight years of real cuts some areas needed another look.
Several initiatives regarding K-12 public education have now passed the House in the budget:
Employee pay: Teachers and State Employees will receive a 2% raise. Some groups will receive more – e.g. first year teachers and prison guards. Total compensation, including the local supplement plus retirement and benefits, for a beginning Wake County teacher would be $54,000 per year.
- The budget includes differentiated pay based upon teacher leadership positions, hard to staff subjects and hard to staff schools. The budget establishes a teacher scholarship program for these hard to staff positions and schools.
Several other budget initiatives address school choice:
Increased funding for Opportunity Scholarships from $10.8M to $17.6M. These scholarships provide school choice for low and moderate income families who switch from public to a private school up to $4,200 per year. These scholarships save the taxpayers money. The amount is less than what the state and county spend for students in public schools.
- The budget increases funding for Special Needs Scholarships from $6,000 per year to $8,000 per year, and it provides for payment of tuition at the beginning of the semester rather than as a reimbursement. These two changes make these scholarships much more practical for the parents of children with special needs.
HB 108, Building and Site Development, has now been funded by the House at $400k for the first year and $1 million the second year. It provides for site infrastructure, primarily to assist rural and semi rural counties so that they have “pad ready” sites to attract investment. This is a loan from one level of government to another that will be fully secured by a first lien. It is not a giveaway to the business that will ultimately be there.
Today the House passed SB 2, Magistrates Recusal for Civil Ceremonies on a vote of 67 to 43. This is a strong statement for freedom. Last fall magistrates were threatened with loss of their jobs, and even criminal prosecution, for those who wouldn’t participate in marriage ceremonies to which they had sincere religious objection. The Governor has threatened a veto. Please call his office at (919) 814-2000 to register your opinion.
If you have questions about legislation you can always call me or my legislative staff. Anne Murtha handles constituent issues 919-733-2962; Gregg Sinders covers all educational issues 919-715-2644; Jamie Lassiter covers criminal justice issues, court issues, pro life issues and liberty issues 919-733-2614; Don D’Ambrosi covers land use, environment, regulatory reform and local government 919-733-2962.
With best regards, I am sincerely yours,
Rep. Paul Stam
Speaker Pro Tem