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Legislative Session Fails North Carolina Families


This week, legislative leaders refused to act on numerous issues important to North Carolina families, instead prioritizing pet projects and partisan schemes. Legislators refused to fund DEQ and DHHS’ request for resources to protect drinking water, failed to address class size challenges facing North Carolina classrooms, and left critical government appointments vacant.

“It’s troubling to see legislators make massive changes to state government on a whim while refusing to complete basic, vital tasks for North Carolina families. North Carolinians are concerned about clean drinking water, their children’s schools, and impending electricity rate hikes. They expect their representatives to put politics aside and address issues that matter,” said Governor Cooper’s spokesman Ford Porter.

No Funding on Class Size Limit

Legislators failed to take action on the kindergarten through 3rd grade class size requirement or fund new teaching positions necessary to prevent schools from eliminating classes and forcing students to move to different schools.

While the General Assembly capped class sizes for kindergarten through 3rd grade at 18 students, legislators failed to provide funding for the additional 4,700 teaching positions necessitated by the smaller class sizes. As a result, students are being forced to switch schools, specialized teachers are being moved into new roles, and programs like physical education, foreign languages, and the arts are being canceled. Parents and students across the state have called for action, but legislative leaders announced they would not take up the issue.

No Real Action on GenX

Legislative leaders refused to fund a request by DEQ and DHHS for more resources for water protection and monitoring across the state. These agencies have worked to stop the discharge of the compound GenX and other contaminants, but in recent years, legislative budget cuts have reduced DEQ’s Water Resources Division by 70 positions. To protect drinking water, focus on the important issue of GenX and effectively monitor the state’s 38,000 square miles of waterways, DEQ has requested funds to protect drinking water statewide.

Instead of taking meaningful action, legislators override Governor Cooper’s veto of HB 56, a law that overturned a local plastic bag ban in the Outer Banks, rolled back environmental protections, and funded local programs in Wilmington that do not protect drinking water by addressing the discharge of contaminants into the Cape Fear or well water in Fayetteville.

No Action on Crucial Appointments

Legislative leaders announced that they wouldl not confirm Gov. Cooper’s appointees to several key boards this week, leaving critical positions unfilled.

  • State Board of Education. Gov. Cooper announced three appointees to this board in April.  Despite significant challenges facing North Carolina schools, legislators have not moved to confirm these positions. 
  • Utilities Commission. Gov. Cooper appointed three new members to this board in May. Despite two substantial rate cases pending before the commission, legislators have failed to confirm appointees for two of these positions. 
  • • Teachers and State Employees Retirement Board of Trustees. The North Carolina Senate has failed to confirm five of Gov. Cooper’s appointees, leaving teachers and state employees without full representation on the board overseeing retirement funds. 

“Given all the extra sessions this legislature has held, it’s obvious that these qualified appointees are being stalled out of political spite. Legislative leaders should take these appointments up immediately,” added Porter.