Lee and Harnett counties have been removed from a Senate proposal which would restrict those school boards from suing their respective boards of county commissioners over funding disputes.

House Bill 292 now would apply to Union County alone.

The bill initially began in 2013 as an innocuous, bipartisan effort to study music therapy. It passed the House last March and didn’t see any action again until just a couple of weeks ago, when the Senate Committee on State and Local Government used the bill number as a substitute and replaced the language about music therapy with language restricting school board lawsuits in Lee, Harnett, Rowan, Stanley and Union counties.

That version of the bill is not online, although the Rant obtained a copy of it in early June. The updated bill, which only applies to Union County, was reported favorable on Tuesday and officially adopted as a committee substitute thereafter. Presumably, it can now be voted on by the full Senate.

It’s still not clear how Lee and Harnett came to be added to the bill — none of the counties representatives or senators are members of the Senate committee, nor do their names appear as sponsors of the legislation — or how they were then stripped from the bill. It is known, though, that the Lee County Board of Education opposed the bill, while the Lee County Board of Commissioners supported it.

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