With a few minor additions, the N.C. House appropriations committee approved a bill that requires the State Board of Education to pay legal costs for the Rules Review Commission, which the board is currently suing.
Senate Bill 14 – which also has other early-session budget adjustments – transfers $100,000 to the commission to cover its costs from the lawsuit. The Board of Education is suing to get exempted from the commission’s rules process, and several legislators have said the lawsuit is inappropriate.
A House amendment proposed by Rep. Craig Horn, a Weddington Republican, allows the Board of Education to choose where the $100,000 comes from. The original Senate language takes the money from the board’s operations budget.
The bill, which passed the Senate 38-11, also moves $275,000 from the Department of Public Instruction to the Academic Standards Review Commission – the commission that’s currently reviewing the Common Core curriculum.
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The legislation also addresses how the Coal Ash Management Commission can spend the money it collects, including a provision to hire up to 25 new staff members.
House members also added other provisions – some unrelated to the original Senate bill:
• Rep. Donny Lambeth, a Winston-Salem Republican, added language to direct $2 million to theN.C. Health Information Exchange
, which allows providers around the state to share patient health information. He said the money is needed to cover software and other expenses before the current budget year ends.
Lambeth also called for further discussions about the exchange later this year. “We need to develop a longer range plan for the HIE,” he said. “What do we want it to do to support our Medicaid reform plans?”
• Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican, added language that allows the Economic Development Partnership board to include members of other state-appointed boards. He said the partnership might want the expertise of other state board members, such as those overseeing community colleges.
The bill will likely get a vote from the full House next week.