NCGA Week in Review

December 8, 2017

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A number of legislative committees and executive boards met this week todiscuss issues including: innovations in education, changing technology andinfrastructure needs in transportation and judicial redistricting.

Executive Branch Boards Meet

Board of Education

The State Board of Education held their monthly meeting this Wednesday andThursday to review a number of policy changes and updates. During thetwo-day meeting, the Board:

  • Voted to update state textbook policies to expand the definition of “technology-based programs” to expand the state’s emphasis on digital materials, such as subscription and web based materials.
  • Approved applications for four new Cooperative Innovative High Schools.
  • Approved a report on Innovative School District.

To view all documents from the meeting, follow thislink.

Board of Transportation

The NC Board of Transportation held meetings this Wednesday and Thursday tohear presentations and updates, including:

  • Updates on NC REAL ID.
  • A financial update from Chief Financial Officer David Tyeryar.
  • A presentation on program delivery from the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

To view all documents from the meeting, click here.

Legislative Oversight Committees Meet

Education Oversight

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee met on Tuesday.

First, Interim Vice President of University & P-12 Partnerships SeanBulson provided the committee with anupdateon laboratory schools, a partnership between the UNC general administrationand public elementary through high schools across the state, established bythe legislature in 2016. Presently, two schools are in operation: EastCarolina University Laboratory School in Greenville, which serves studentsin grades two through four, and Catamount School in Jackson County, whichis operated by Western Carolina University and serves students in gradessix through eight. Three additional schools will open next year, and fourthe following year.

Then, Teaching Fellows Program Director Sara Ulmpresentedon the new Teaching Fellows Program, which was established by the 2017budget bill. The program will provide prospective teachers with forgivableloans beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Ulm informed the committee thatthe application for the loan program is now live and noted the educationpreparation programs that were selected to work with the program: ElonUniversity, UNC Charlotte, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State University andMeredith College.

Finally, NC Community College System President Jennifer Haygoodpresentedto the committee on the system’s strategic plan. Haygood noted significantaspects that contributed to how the strategic plan was developed, includingpopulation growth in urban areas, workforce changes and greater demand fortechnology in training.

Judicial Redistricting & Reform

On Wednesday, the Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform andRedistricting held their second meeting to receive presentations onjudicial selection methods.

First, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice Alicia Bannonpresentedto the committee on judicial selection methods across the country. NC isone of seven states that utilize a partisan election system. The Centeradvocated for an appointment system and listed a number of best practicerecommendations for doing so.

Then, professors at the UNC School of Law, Martin Brinkley and John Orth,presentedto the committee in the history of judicial selection in NC.

To review all documents from Wednesday’s committee, clickhere.

Strategic Transportation Planning

On Monday, the House Select Committee on Strategic Transportation Planningand Long Term Funding Solutions and the Department of Transportation held ajoint transportation technology event, where legislators and the public hadthe opportunity to see new technology, including electric and autonomousvehicles in action. Following the event, the committee heard presentationson automated and connected vehicles.

First, Transportation Group Director with HNTB Paul Steinmanpresentedto the committee on how changing consumer demands and increasinglyhigh-tech vehicles will change how people utilize transportation. Accordingto Steinman, transportation is becoming increasingly automated, connected,shared and electrified.

Then, the committee heard apresentationfrom Vice President of Research and Development for Southwest ResearchInstitute Steven Dellenback on how the military uses automated andconnected vehicles. According to Dellenback, the military faces uniquechallenges when utilizing automated vehicles, including rural and unpavedroads and different technology in the military theater, including lack ofGPS mapping for security.

The committee then received apresentationon the future of ridesharing in an automated world from Uber AutonomousVehicles Head of Policy Justin Erlich. Erlich emphasized how ridesharingcompanies like Uber are working to be leaders in transportation technology.Uber is currently partnering with Volvo to test autonomous vehicles, whichthey plan on employing in self-driving fleets.

To view all documents from the committee, follow thislink.

Transportation Oversight

Yesterday, the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight held their secondmeeting of the interim to hear a number of presentations and updates fromstaff at NCDOT.

First, Strategic Transportation Investment Program (STIP) manager VanArgabright addressed the committee with areviewof the STIP for 2018 through 2027, which was adopted the State Board ofTransportation in August. The STIP will fund 1,389 total projects,including 344 non-highway projects.

Then, Director of Facilities Management Sterling BakerpresentedtheDepartment’s Condition Overview & Life Cycle Analysis of NCDOTFerry Division Assetsreport, which was prepared by an independent engineering firm earlier thisyear. Thereportrecommends retrofitting NCDOT’s 24 ferry ramps, at an average cost of $1.2million per ramp.

Division of Highways Director of Field Support Greg Perfetti followed withanupdateon NCDOT’s bridge program. Perfetti’s presentation reviewed current bridgefunding models, current bridge conditions and challenges to progress,including the growing number of bridges needed repair or replacement.

Finally, Engineer with Atkins Engineering, Mark Boggspresenteda proposed toll project developmentpolicyto the committee. According to his presentation, NCDOT hopes to put forwarda new vision for examining the use of toll-funded financing options whichwould:

  • Respond to regional tolling initiatives.
  • Address project acceptance challenges.
  • Define a process for project development and review.
  • Increase accountability.

The proposed policy, which needs to be approved by the Board ofTransportation before going into effect, involves a 4-step projectidentification process.

To review all materials from Thursday’s meeting, follow thislink.

A Look Ahead to Next Week

Next week, the following legislative and executive meetings will be held:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

8:30 AM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services

1:00 PM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Naturaland Economic Resources

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

9:00 AM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services,Subcommittee on Aging

10:00 AM Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform

1:00 PM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Capital Improvements

1:00 PM Environmental Review Commission

2:00 PM House Select Committee on Implementation of Building Code Reform

Thursday, December 14, 2017

9:00 AM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology

9:00 AM Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee

10:30 AM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and PublicSafety, Subcommittee on ABC Permitting & Enforcement

1:00 PM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety

2:00 PM Social Services Regional Supervision and Collaboration WorkingGroup

Friday, December 15, 2017

10:00 AM Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee