ICYMI Political News

Sen. Apodaca Replacement Named

On Wednesday, Governor Pat McCrory appointed Chuck Edwards to replace Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hedersonville) for the remainder of 2016. Edwards is the owner of seven McDonald’s franchises in the western region of the state. In the November elections, Edwards will face Democrat Norman Bossert, who has been the principal of Black Mountain Elementary School for ten years. The 48th district is comprised of portions of Buncombe, Henderson and Transylvania counties and is historically a strongly Republican district.

Interim Committee Meetings

Program Evaluation Oversight

On Monday, the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee met to receive a special report from the Program Evaluation Division (PED), a non-partisan unit of the General Assembly which evaluates public services offered by the state.

Director of the Division John Turcotte presented to the committee on the common findings and recommendations PED has observed when reviewing state agencies. Turcotte highlighted seven common conditions:

  • Dysfunctional organization structures and operating procedures.
  • Under-performing programs and absence of performance targets & incentives.
  • Idle funds, surplus, inefficiency & waste.
  • Lax oversight of contractors, vendors or state funded entities.
  • Data paucity and lack of robustness of data systems.
  • Absence of strategic planning and lack of focus on funding and spending for program results.
  • Persistent failures in contracting for services.

Additionally, the committee received a status update on current projects.

The committee will meet again on September 12.

House Select Committee on Education Strategy

The House Select Committee on Education Strategy and Practices convened on Wednesday where they discussed the efforts the state is taking to prepare students to be college and career ready.

The committee heard from stakeholders who pointed to the specific improvements the state has made in preparing all students to enter the workforce, and where improvements could be made. As the state’s workforce needs shift, it is estimated that 67% of all jobs in NC will require some postsecondary education by 2020.

Catherine Moga and Jackie Keener of the Department of Commerce (DOC), along with JoAnne Honeycutt from the Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) presented to the committee on career and technical education (CTE) programs offered in the state. The presentation highlighted the growth in students earning CTE credentials. Since the 2010-11 school year, there has been a dramatic growth from roughly 22,000 credentials earned to 130,000 in the 2014-15 school year. To further increase success in CTE programs, the 2016 budget established an Industry Certification and Credentials Bonus Pilot Program, which will provide bonuses to teacher’s whose students earn approved industry certifications or credentials. NCDPI and DOC are collaborating to implement this program; bonuses will be based on academic rigor and employment value.

Additionally, State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson provided the committee with an update on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind. The state will be preparing to implement the ESSA starting in the 2017-18 school year. NCDPI intends to submit a tentative plan to the federal Department of Education by March 2017.

Follow this link to view all of the presentations made at Wednesday’s meeting.

Spotlight on Information Technology

Passed legislation

The following bills were passed by the House and Senate during the short session and have been signed into law by the Governor.

SB 792: State IT Contracts/ Contractor Liability: Provides that liability for IT procurement contracts with the state is to be capped at two times the value of the contract. If the contract meets certain criteria, liability may be increased to up three times the value of the contract. The legislation also directs the State Chief Information Officer (CIO) to report to the legislature on current contracts with higher liability amounts by March 1, 2017. The law went into effect when it was signed by the Governor on June 30, 2016.

SB 805: Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets: Allows for disclosure of an individual’s digital assets, such as social media accounts, online banking, and other online accounts, to a trustee, fiduciary, personal representative, or guardian. The law went into effect on June 30, 2016 when it was signed by the Governor.

SB 814: Designate State CIO as Secretary of Dept: Clarifies that the State CIO can also be referred to as the Secretary of the NC Department of Information Technology (NCDIT). Keith Werner currently holds the position and was appointed by the Governor in 2015. The law went into effect on July 18, 2016 when it was signed by the Governor.

IT Budget Provisions

HB 1030: 2016 Appropriations Act

  • Total NCDIT budget: $43,297,929.
  • Makes several changes to NCDIT’s reporting requirements.
  • Directs NCDIT to use $7.3 million in available funds to credit certain state agencies for subscription fees and phone and computer costs.
  • Directs the NCDIT to create a cybersecurity apprenticeship program for disabled veterans in the state.
  • Allows state agencies to use cloud-based storage solutions.
  • Directs NCDIT to design an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for state agencies. A request for proposal (RFP) for the implementation of the ERP will be released by July 1, 2017.
  • Directs NCDIT to design an ERP system for the NC Community Colleges System Office. A RFP for the implementation of the ERP will be released by October 1, 2016. 
  • Provides $600,000 for the State Bureau of Investigation to use the SAS Memex data analysis and case management tool, which is used to analyze public safety data.
  • Appropriates $450,000 to develop a security risk management tool to allow NCDIT to ensure compliance with state security policies across state agencies.
  • Provides $270,000 to DIT’s Government Data Analytics Center to maintain the P-20 SchoolWorks System and $190,000 to maintain the Common Follow-up System. These two systems are used to track current and former participants in state job training, education and placement programs.
  • Appropriates $700,000 to support the Address NC Database, a database of addresses used by the state and local government agencies.

Failed Legislation

SB 303: Regulatory Reform Act of 2016: This legislation would have made numerous changes to regulatory laws. Had SB 303 passed it would have allowed state agencies to satisfy requirements for making public records available by providing the records in an online computer database.