State Politics

NC legislators want to give state government’s used computers to low-income students

A.L. Stanback 6th graders work on laptops in 2012.
A.L. Stanback 6th graders work on laptops in 2012. File Photo

An N.C. House bill would give state government’s old computers to nonprofits that refurbish them for low-income students who don’t have one at home.

House Bill 254 was on the agenda Wednesday in the Information Technology Appropriations Committee. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Jason Saine of Lincolnton, said his proposal would prevent working computers from getting stuck in a state warehouse for surplus equipment.

“Once they go to surplus, it takes a long time to get it out,” he said Wednesday. “We’re going to push those out to students who really need them.”

Currently, most computers that are discarded at universities and state agencies for newer models can only be sent to other state agencies. “A lot of what they cycle through is still very usable for lower grades,” Saine said, pointing to nonprofits across the state that clear hard drives and install new software before giving computers to needy students.

Saine said his bill will go before the House Finance Committee soon, and an identical bill will be filed in the Senate. Dozens of co-sponsors in the House from both political parties have joined the bill.