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Local bills circulate through House

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1 Local bills circulate through House on Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:55 am

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Two legislative bills sponsored by North Carolina Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke, that would affect Burke County Public Schools have been approved by House committees and may end up on the House floor. A third bill concerning the Village of Lake James has moved from the subcommittee to the full committee.

House bill 338 allows the recall of members of the Burke County Board of Education.

The House Committee on Government on Thursday passed the bill. It is now on the House calendar for Monday.

“Based again on the relative lack of controversy about that bill in committee, I am anticipating that it would receive a favorable response on the House floor,” Blackwell said. “There doesn’t seem to be any significant opposition to it at this point.”

Blackwell said he anticipates House bill 342, regarding schools’ accreditation, to reach the House floor by next week, as well.

class="BODY COPY">The House Committee on Education recommended on Tuesday the bill, which would prohibit the state’s public colleges from using a high school’s accreditation status as an enrollment factor, unless a state agency conducts the accreditation.

The bill also authorizes the State Board of Education to begin accrediting high schools at their request and expense.

The bill has been sent to the House Committee on Appropriations.

Wake County schools are also at risk of losing accreditation from AdvancED.

“I am optimistic that when it gets to the floor, which I anticipate will be this coming week, that it’ll pass,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell said the committee did raise concerns about the financial and logistical impact on the Department of Public Instruction.

Last week, the House Committee on Government sent H256, an act incorporating the Village of Lake James, to a subcommittee of three headed by Rep. Justin Burr, R-Montgomery, Stanly, Union, to further research the bill.

This week, the subcommittee voted 2-1 to send the bill back to the full committee without any amendments.

Blackwell said he and Sen. Warren Daniel, along with several opponents of the bill, were able to speak to the committee.

Blackwell said he and Daniel made favorable remarks.

Village proponent Howard Morgan said the task force was pleased with the subcommittee’s decision.

“We’ll wait and see what happens,” Morgan said.

One particular issue is the argument of whether the proposed town is contiguous. Proponents say legal experts indicate the proposed village is contiguous.

Opponents, and the Joint Legislative Commission on Municipal Incorporations, say the village is non-contiguous. The commission recommended against incorporation.

Incorporation opponent Jim Powers said he had two minutes to address the sub-committee, which he did not feel was enough time to explain the inconsistencies or the impact on the community.

Powers said he believes there is great sentiment in the General Assembly against annexation at this time, but there isn’t any great opposition to incorporation.

Link - http://m.morganton.com/morganton/db_/contentdetail.htm?full=true&contentguid=fafUgvq0&pn=&ps=#display


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