News & Updates From Senator Edwards
Please Direct Reply or Message  Chuck.Edwards@ncleg.net
From My Senate Desk
Since my last newsletter, NC has embraced a wide array of news stories. From the more despondent side of the spectrum, our citizens to the east have experienced immense devastation from hurricane Florence. From the more exuberant side of the spectrum, our state continues to enjoy the benefits of a
strong economy and a fiscally responsible state government. This update includes some items from the far ends of the spectrum.

Visit My New Website Designed for Constituents
In August, I was very excited  to announce the official launch of my District 48 website  NC48.com .

This site was developed to communicate with and serve the citizens of NC's 48th Senate District. It is the culmination of several months of research and design that involved dozens of people and input groups.

The new site is modeled after a variety of U.S. Senate sites that were determined to be the most functional and provide resources to help citizens expeditiously communicate with their offices. Often, forms and information are required before the Senate office can become engaged to help a constituent with an issue. This site serves as a repository for forms and information that can help expedite the transfer of information in those types of situations.

The site also houses a plethora of news and information that might be of interest to the citizens of District 48, including Senator Edwards' updates from Raleigh.

In the absence of state funding for such a site, it serves to interact with the public as if it were government-sponsored, but it is solely funded by campaign contributions and does not promote any campaign.

Third Special Legislation Session


It was heartwarming for me to see our governor and our legislature in a rare show of solidarity to put away the political sparring gloves and work unilaterally to begin to address the devastation of Hurricane Florence. Despite our many polarizing differences, this is a time that our eastern citizens need our help, and I am happy that we were able to put our differences aside to begin to work on their behalf. 

As a result, we jointly called a special session which began Oct. 2. During this session, we passed  SB2 which I cosponsored and  HB4. Both of these bills passed their respective chambers with unanimous support, and the governor signed them both on the following day. Recognizing that these are only first steps, we adjourned at the request of the governor until October 15 so that his administration will have time to gather the data needed to address the crises further.

SB2  and  HB4- 

These two pieces of legislation create a Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund and transfer $56.5 million from the state's record savings reserve to the account as a down payment on emergency spending needs.
Education- 

The legislative package allows school districts located in counties under a major disaster declaration by the President of the United States as a result of Hurricane Florence to deem up to 20 school days, or the equivalent hours of instructional time, completed.

The proposal allows school districts to make up any number of instructional days or hours missed but also provides the option to waive the missed class time. 

To provide income stability to school staff, the act requires educators and employees be compensated the same as if they had worked any scheduled instructional days deemed completed by the public school unit during September and October of 2018. 
The legislation also allots $6.5 million to compensate employees whose income is normally supported by school meal receipts or federal funds that will not be appropriated to North Carolina due to the missed school days.

Budget-  

The legislation passed today transfers an additional $50 million (in addition to the $6.5 million described above) into the newly-created Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund. This money will provide the state match for federal disaster assistance programs and pay for the costs of relief in North Carolina counties designated under a major disaster declaration by the President of the United States. It is a down payment in anticipation of federal relief and further state action once agencies complete their needs assessments. 


DMV Fees- 
Today's measures also allow fee waivers by the Divis ion of Motor Vehicles for duplicate driver's licenses or identification cards, applications for certificates of title, regi stration plate replacements, applications for duplicate registration cards, and late payments of a motor vehicle registration renewal fee. 
Elections- 
Additionally, the legislation extends the voter registration deadline by three days in counties under federal disaster declarations to October 15, 2018. Same-day registration is also available for individuals during early voting.
The legislation further allows county boards of elections to replace hurricane-damaged polling places and early voting sites.

The bill requires county boards and the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to educate hurricane-impacted citizens about their options for voter registration and casting ballots. The state board is further directed to cooperate with federal and local agencies in that effort and would be authorized to spend funds to inform the public of voter information via print, radio, online and television advertising, in its discretion.

Job Growth

Recently the Bureau of Labor released statistics showing that North Carolina has added 106,900 jobs in the last fiscal year. To help North Carolina's private sector create lasting jobs, Republicans recognize we have to get government out of the way. That's why we've made sweeping changes to our regulatory environment to stimulate the economy and encourage economic development. 


We've worked to find areas where bureaucracy is impeding progress or economic development and taken steps to reduce that bureaucracy while still protecting the environment, public health and safety. By eliminating unnecessary hurdles, North Carolina has become one of the most business-friendly states in our nation.


Another Revenue Surplus

According to the latest reports by the non-partisan Fiscal Research Division, North Carolina ended this fiscal year with a revenue surplus of $440 million. This is $80 million more of a surplus than the May projections showed. Our surplus has continued to grow along with our budget. As these surpluses grow, it enables us to continue to grow our spending on things such as Rainy Day Fund, Education, Infrastructure and more.

Keeping North Carolina fiscally sound and continuing to grow our economy are promises I made when I ran for this office. I am proud that our state continues to develop fiscally conservative ideas that allow taxpayers to save more of their hard earned money while improving our state's fiscal status. 

My Latest Appointment

Recently I was appointed to the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform. The responsibilities of the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform are to review the State's current public school allotment system and undertake an in-depth study of various types of weighted student formula funding models. Additionally, this task force determines the base amount of funds that must be distributed on a per student basis to cover the cost of educating a student in the State and identifies the student characteristics eligible for weighted funding and the associated weights for each of these characteristics. The Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform also resolves the extent to which the base amount of funds to be distributed would be adjusted based on the characteristics of each local school administrative unit, decides which funding elements, if any, would remain outside the base of funds to be distributed under a weighted student formula, and studies other funding models for elementary and secondary public schools, including public charter schools, in addition to the weighted student funding formula.

In the short time that I have had the privilege to serve the citizens District 48, it has quickly become evident to me that the current method used to distribute funds to our education system needs work. It lacks transparency, is convoluted, and it is exceedingly outdated. I am elated that my challenges to the status quo have been recognized, and have secured me a post on this essential committee. I believe the work done by this committee will be vital to the livelihood of our children, and to the financial stability of our state.

Congratulations Glenn Marlow School

I am pleased to announce that Glenn C. Marlow Elementary School in Henderson County has been chosen as one of only 349 schools in the nation as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School. This program through the U.S. Department of Education awards outstanding schools. Glenn C. Marlow, one of eight North Carolina Schools selected for this achievement, received the "Exemplary High Performing Schools" award.


Please Direct Reply or Message  Chuck.Edwards@ncleg.net
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