Another unfunded mandate from our General Assembly

So the GA has proclaimed that they will no longer fund the Driver Education program at the end of this fiscal year. It appears that they are going to leave it up to the LEA's to come up with the funds.

"It is the intent of the General Assembly that, beginning with the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the driver education program administered by the Department of Public Instruction in accordance with G.S.115C-215 shall no longer be paid out of the Highway Fund based on an annual appropriation by the General Assembly. Local boards of education shall use funds available to them, including a fee for instruction charged to students pursuant to G.S.115C-216(g), to offer noncredit driver education courses in high schools"


This is one of many little "gems"

packed into the budget when it was generated in secret by a few legislators. They tried to cut driver education funding earlier and there was backlash so they relented and instead tossed the provision into the budget, which the rank and file GOP legislators have been ordered to approve.

Just a few of the other controversial things they tossed into the budget so that they would be approved without debate:

  • Forcing DPI to approve two virtual charter schools (blatant sellout to a private ed company)
  • A "study" of Elizabeth City State University (the latest attempt to shut down this HBCU)
  • Kicks blind, elderly & disabled off assistance programs (yeah, they made lots of noise about not doing this, but it turns out they grandfathered in current aid recipients but changed the rules for everyone else in the future)
  • Moves the SBI from Attorney General's office to Governor's office (they tried this multiple times, took a lot of heat, so just slipped it into the budget where it's gotten little attention)
  • Moves lots of criminals from state prisons to county jails (another unfunded mandate)
  • Removes historic preservation tax credits and film subsidies (something that a small group of folks have been trying to do for awhile but encountered a great deal of popular resistance)
  • Makes it harder for citizens to sue over unconstitutional laws by requiring a 3-judge panel -- while simultaneously eliminating 4 special Superior Court judges AND requiring NCGA confirmation of governor's special Superior Court judge appointees!

These and other unfunded mandates and non-budget items all dumped into a bill that was kept secret until the last minute, barely debated and rammed through by Tillisberger.

Contrary to Thom Tillis's wishful thinking, once people find out what's in this budget, they are going to be livid.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014


of acronym overuse as charged. Directory coming soon.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Ask and ye shall receive

Here's a starter list of acronyms that tend to appear around here.

And a belated welcome to North Carolina! (NC ;-)

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

The budget and the Voter Integrity Project

The one provision of the budget I'm watching closely is this one:

Provides $201,000 for "three new positions to investigate fraud in elections, discrepancies in voter registration information, including duplicate registrations, and to pursue prosecution for violations of election law."

BlueNC has posted extensively about the Voter Integrity Project NC and their attempts to intimidate voters and how the group has found zero instances of voter fraud in the state.

There's a couple of ways this could play out when the law is implemented. Some high-salaried, just out of college political appointees could be placed in the position, similar to the "PR experts" that were hired by DENR. Or, the funding mandate may just be an excuse to transfer state funds directly to the Voter Integrity Project NC.

I made a post about the shady legal underpinnings of the Voter Integrity Project NC. It uses volunteers to comb through records and do fieldwork and takes "donations" for its work, but is organized specifically as a "for profit" corporation to avoid any disclosure of its donors or spending.

As I pointed out in BlueNC (here and here), this is a clear violation of IRS and Labor Department laws and regulations - for profit corporations cannot use volunteers and anyone that does work for it must be compensated and proper payroll taxes paid.

It may be time for a group of progressives in the state to file a formal complaint with the IRS and Labor Department about the Voter Integrity Project.

Oh, by the way, a web developer may want to check the HTML coding on the Voter Integrity Project's pages. I noticed some similarities to the code being used at the Civitas Institute's website. They seem to be using the same WordPress platform and plug-ins.