As the General Assembly gears up for the 2019 long session, state advocacy groups are gearing up, too. It’s legislative agenda season, and groups across the state are publishing their priorities for the upcoming year.
Longleaf Politics set out to collect as many as we could find to help you understand what the state’s most powerful lobbyists are pushing for in 2019. This can help you understand why some bills get pushed forward and some bills don’t.
We’ve included actual legislative asks, not general principles or things these groups simply want maintained — except in some cases where major groups are opposed to each other.
See a legislative agenda we haven’t included? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What education groups are asking the General Assembly for in 2019
Public school groups generally affiliate with Democrats and are primarily asking the General Assembly to allow districts to increase class sizes and expand hiring for school psychologists and counselors. Public schools also want the ability to set their own start and end dates, as charter schools are able to.
Public Schools First NC legislative agenda
- Raise per-pupil education spending from the current $9,528 to the national average of $11,934.
- Increase average teacher pay to the national average.
- Implement universal pre-K by 2020.
- Give teachers bonus pay for earning advanced degrees.
- Put teacher assistants in all K-3 classrooms.
- Increase funding for school psychologists, social workers, counselors, and nurses.
- Do not allow trained teachers to carry firearms in schools.
- Get rid of school letter grades.
- Give school boards the same flexibility charter schools have on calendar and class size.
- End the “Opportunity Scholarship” program for low-income children.
- Eliminate the Innovative School District that’s trying to turn around struggling schools.
North Carolina School Boards Association legislative agenda
- Give school boards taxing authority, as they have in other states.
- Increase funding for technology in classrooms.
- Provide waivers allowing districts to increase class sizes above state caps.
- Give school boards a state sales tax refund, like cities, counties, public universities, charter schools, and private schools get.
- Increase principal pay based on years as a principal, not just years in public education.
- Give school finance officers whistleblower protections.
- Expand teacher bonuses to lower grades, giving K-2 teachers bonuses for their students’ performance on 3rd grade tests.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools legislative agenda
- Allow school districts to transfer money from the state to uses other than what it’s designated for.
- Create more pay bands for principals to allow leaders of big schools the opportunity to make more money.
- Allow districts to unilaterally reduce total days of school if there was a natural disaster.
- Increase base salary by 3-5% for staff and teacher assistants.
- Increase teacher pay to the national average within 3 years.
- Change school letter grades so each school gets two grades, one for overall proficiency on state tests and one for student progress.
- Let school districts legally represent school volunteers if they get sued.
- Repeal the law allowing municipalities to sponsor charter schools.
What business groups are asking the General Assembly for in 2019
Business groups have been extremely successful in recent years. The corporate income tax rate has been reduced to 3% and regulatory reform has continued to unfold. Tax issues will continue to be big in 2019.
NC Chamber legislative agenda
- Reduce, cap and ultimately eliminate the franchise tax.
- Increase the interest expense that’s tax deductible in North Carolina.
- Strengthen protections businesses have against “nuisance” lawsuits.
- Study community college funding models to see how enrollment can be increased.
- Create new revenue sources for road, rail, and port infrastructure investment.
- Create a research and development grant program for startups.
N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association legislative agenda
- Cap local occupancy taxes at 6%
- Preserve the school calendar law and oppose calendar flexibility.
- Increase regulations and fees on short-term rentals like Airbnb.
- Reduce unemployment insurance requirements.
- Preserve the minimum wage.
What healthcare groups are asking the General Assembly for in 2019
The healthcare industry is generally in favor of expanding Medicaid coverage and protect Certificate of Need laws that require state approval for expansion or new entries into the market.
North Carolina Healthcare Association legislative agenda
- Direct more federal money toward reimbursing hospitals for charity care.
- Protect the Certificate of Need law that requires any healthcare company to get state approval before opening.
- Expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act program.
- Use state funding to support “telehealth,” or computer-based doctor visits.
- Increase state support for “Graduate Medical Education,” or training received after the MD.
North Carolina Medical Society legislative agenda
- Create legislation that prioritizes paying for healthcare outcomes instead of procedures.
- Promote water safety, helmet and seatbelt laws.
- Simplify insurance rules and education.
N.C. American Cancer Society legislative agenda
- Increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack.
- Spend $17 million on anti-smoking programs directed at children and teens, and another $3 million on quit-smoking programs for adults.
- Increase money for breast cancer screenings by $1.5 million.
North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature legislative agenda
- Increase annual funding for the Home and Community Care Block Grant by $7 million, to expand care to homebound elderly people.
- Devote $350,000 more in state money to building senior centers.
- Increase funding for caregiver respite programs by $500,000.
- Allocate $7 million to adult protective services.
- Create a minimum caregiver/resident ratio in nursing homes.
What municipal groups are asking the General Assembly for in 2019
Multiple groups are asking for the tools to address affordable housing and to eliminate the cap on mass transit funding from the state. They also want more powers to raise taxes and create new taxes without state approval.
North Carolina Association of County Commissioners legislative agenda
- Repeal the law that allows school boards to sue counties for additional funding.
- Expand digital broadband to “underserved” areas.
- Give counties more authority to impose additional local option taxes.
- Dedicate more money and more revenue sources to statewide school construction.
- Dedicate state money to help counties fund health services for inmates.
N.C. League of Municipalities legislative agenda
- Get the state to send more money for highways and streets to cities
- Let cities build broadband internet infrastructure
- Allow cities to levy more taxes without state approval
- Stop letting cities provide money for school districts
- Preserve the local government employee pension system.
- Increase funding for film credits and historic preservation tax credits.
- Spend more money on local police, fire and EMS.
- Change the county “economic needs” caluclations to send more money to more counties for economic development.
City of Durham legislative agenda
- Issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants
- Let City Councils review and distribute police shooting videos instead of leaving the decision to police chiefs and the courts.
- Allow City Councils to require affordable housing in rezoning cases.
- Allow public employee collective bargaining.
- Let cities and counties limit property tax collections to a certain percentage of anyone’s income — not just the elderly and disabled.
- Make gay conversion therapy illegal to perform on children.
- Require a hearing before suspending somebody’s driver’s license for failure to pay a fine and automatically re-instate licenses after one year.
- Automatically expunge dropped charges and not guilty verdicts from people’s criminal records instead of requiring they hire an attorney and apply for it.
- Require gun owners to immediately report it if their gun is lost or stolen.
- Eliminate the state cap on light rail transit funding.