If you visit the North Carolina General Assembly’s website and look up House Bill 292, you’ll find an innocuous proposal about the licensing of music therapy teachers. Introduced by two Republicans and two Democrats, it passed the House over a year ago. It then went to the Senate’s Committee on State and Local Government, where it was promptly forgotten – until last week.
The Rant on Wednesday obtained an updated draft of the bill that’s currently before the same Senate committee, only the language and bill name are completely different.
Now, the bill would prevent boards of education in Lee, Harnett and three other counties from suing their respective boards of commissioners over funding disputes.
The commissioners and the school board in Lee County are currently millions of dollars apart on their funding agreement for fiscal year 2014-15, but there hasn’t been any public discussion of using a lawsuit to mediate that difference.
But someone in Raleigh isn’t taking any chances, it seems. That someone? Anybody’s guess, right now. While other local bills targeting Lee County have been the handiwork of Rep. Mike Stone, his fingerprints don’t appear on this one – so far. Stone is a House member, and he wasn’t on the bipartisan list of sponsors for the initial bill. The Senate committee considering the bill doesn’t include Sen. Ron Rabin, who represents Lee County. It’s currently unknown, however, whether either legislator went before the committee to request Lee be added to the bill.
The Herald touched on the issue briefly in today’s edition, mentioning that the school board discussed opposition to the move. Also Monday, the Lee Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to support the move.
Regardless, if the bill passes, it’ll be added to the list of laws the Republican General Assembly has enacted which supplant local control with the dictates of Raleigh.