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Carolina Journal Radio No. 814: Lawmakers will face budget challenges in 2019

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
December 24, 2018 5:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 814: Lawmakers will face budget challenges in 2019

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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December 24, 2018 5:00 am

Republicans have been able to cut tax rates, balance budgets, and increase spending on high-priority items since taking control of the N.C. General Assembly in 2011. But they will face some new challenges as they return to the budget process in the new year. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, outlines those challenges. Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman delivered free-market messages to a wide television audience with his “Free to Choose” program on public TV. The Free to Choose Network follows in Friedman’s footsteps with a series of programs highlighting the importance of markets. President and CEO Robert Chatfield discusses the network’s latest projects. Before announcing plans to step down as UNC System president, Margaret Spellings offered praise for a program designed to highlight two cost-saving programs for students within the statewide university system. Spellings touted the taxpayer-funded We Promise campaign during a meeting with the system’s Board of Governors. Absentee ballot irregularities in southeastern North Carolina prompted members of the N.C. elections board to delay certifying results of the hotly contested 9th District congressional race. As elections officials investigated, three Republican state senators called on the governor to establish a new bipartisan task force to look into the issue. You’ll hear why they believe an outside group should probe allegations of illegal activity involving absentee ballots. A special N.C. House committee has unveiled its proposals for addressing safety in the state’s public schools. Lindsay Marchello, Carolina Journal associate editor, covered the committee’s debate of its final report. Marchello highlights the group’s top priorities.

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From Cherokee to current attack from the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio why Michiko guy during the next hour Donna Martinez that I will explore some major issues affecting our state. This week's edition of Carolina Journal radio was brought to you by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina working every day to transform the health system for North Carolinians. More information available at today. will prize-winning economist Milton Friedman took his free-market message to a national TV audience with the program free to choose you hear from the leader of a network following in Friedman's footsteps, University of North Carolina system is promoting to cost-saving programs for its students learn details three Republican state senators want a new bipartisan group to probe voting irregularities from the 2018 campaign you learn why you shall hear the recommendations of a special group studying safety.

North Carolina's public schools. Those topics are just ahead of first Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline since 2011 N. Carolinians have enjoyed more than $15.8 billion worth of tax relief. All that thanks to the tax reform efforts of fiscal conservatives in the North Carolina Gen. assembly.

In fact, every state operating budget passed since 2011 has also kept spending at or below the growth of population plus inflation so that's all good news. But our next guest is urging caution when budget writers begin formulating the next two-year budget plan.

Joe Colletti is senior fellow with the John Locke foundation. He focuses on fiscal issues and joins us now.

Joe welcome back to the show to be you write very interestingly I think about a number of challenges that the Gen. assembly will face when they start putting pen to paper, so to speak. Let's talk about some of those. First of all economic headwinds.

Yeah, this is where but budget that the we putting together as a biennium budget so that will take us into through June 2020, 21, which will be entering the 13th year of economic expansion in right now are pretty close to the longest expansion in postwar history so things are and and were starting to see housing slow housing starts load slowing seeing the effects of the tariffs. A number of other items that raise some caution about what the economy is going to be and when your check trying to take a look.

13 years after the recovery started, there's no guarantee that things are going to slow down but things start to pile up and said that's what were starting to run into and and when you're trying to put project out two years of spending.

You really have to be cautious about how long this recovery can last and of course many, many people invested in the stock market through a 401(k) plans, pension plans, etc. and boy has it been volatile up and down, up and down and so that may help our listeners get a sense of what you're talking about, that it's really tough to forecast what's happening right in the pasture. Last year we had really good.really strong stock market returns that led to the capital gains returns in high tax revenues.

Because of that this year, stock market is is about flat, maybe a little down, it will suit you know we got a couple weeks left, but the stock market. It is we, like you said, we've we've all experienced that in our own portfolios our own 401(k)s and all of that has an impact on it is is is bearing that the effects of that uncertainty about the economy. Joe you also write about tax reforms at both the state and federal level to factor into this and also some new budget rules. That'll make a little bit tougher. What about those things know the tax reform at the federal level help this pheromone this year in terms of revenue we saw in November December of last three months of 2017. The tax collection started slow down as as individuals and businesses started making decisions about when do I take my window. I recognize revenues and so we saw a big bump in revenues in January 2018 and that is still playing out this year as tax revenues that would likely be higher October November December of this year compared to a year ago all of it. But all those facts are to go away. All of those revenue enhancements at the state level are going to disappear in in January 3 is just be business as usual at that point. At the same time estate tax for reductions are going to take effect and so there's billion dollars over the over the course of the year which means that in the first six months will you lose $500 million of state tax revenue form lower corporate taxes lower personal income taxes higher standard deduction all really good things from an individual perspective really difficult things for budget writers to to to start working with. Let's talk a little bit more about the revenue side will get to the spending the night in a minute. I gotta tell you, you make my hair hurt just jiving here so really if you are one of the people responsible in the legislature for trying to put together a revenue forecast and make some decisions based on how much money you think the state is going to have for the operating budget. What you do. Yeah that's that's why were starting to raise questions is that they are saying because you that on the revenue side one of the things that this the Department of revenue enacted was that online retailers from outside of North Carolina have to collect taxes for North Carolina. There is big expectations about what that's can provide. But there's also a number of things that urge caution on how much that's going to generate their looking for where can they get new revenue at the same time we spent portion of the rainy day fund. We built up a $2 billion rainy day fund $750 million of that went to hurricane Florence relief and recovery.

And so we have so we've gone from $2 billion on one 1 1/4 billion and sense of partially good things to be doing and there's probably going be some some desire to spend more money to provide additional relief, but it just adds to the note, you build up the risks you build up that that's that spring day fund for a recession or for a natural disaster to you don't expect both of them to come on the heels of one another and so hopefully there is still time to rebuild that savings reserve backup. It sounds as if what you're saying is that that padding essentially the padding that extra cash sitting off on the side. Should something bad happened will one bad thing has happened and I was the hurricane and so we dipped into that but that means that right now. At least there is less money in that that account sitting over there. Should there be some sort of economic downturn like you described, or somehow the forecaster off so all sorts of things that are factoring into that. That's the revenue side about the spending side now. As I mentioned over the past few years and we've been on a pretty good spending trend in that people have tried to spend people in charge of the legislature up on in a more restrained fashion but again Joe, you are saying that things are starting to creep up in the spending. Tell us about that, though we've had a well-deserved raise for teachers but that there's going to be more desire to continue increasing the pay their mentioned hurricanes that this probably can be some desire there. We have more money being sent to side view mentioned earlier, the budget reforms more what he is going to be set aside for capital and for debt reserves. More money will be set aside for the savings reserve already in the budget and we have desires for prison reform criminal justice reform for Medicaid changes.

There's Artie some transformation that's happening that set aside some money for that. But the governor wants to expand Medicaid so there a lot of spending challenges desires for more spending that both Democrats were now have a seat at the table and the Republicans will want to have and so that's where the spending thing is going to come and that's where the real challenge is going to be is how to tell those down to to keep it keep the amount of spending below the amount of revenues that were getting. You bring up a really important point, and it relates to politics in the 2018 midterm elections. The Democrats that took over seats. They regained power in the general assembly of the Republican still in control, but definitely the Democrats would appear to have much more leverage. We also have a Democratic governor will be much more part of the conversation.

So how did those who want to keep spending in check how they do that when you have to be a little bit more, perhaps open to other ideas. But one of the huge damages that the fiscal conservatives have now is that the there is no threat of shutdown at the state level.

If they don't come to an agreement by June 30 when the next fiscal year starts. The current budget stays in place and then you have no growth and no worries Joe Colletti is senior fellow with the John Locke foundation gel thank you thank you say with this much more Carolina journal radio to come in just a moment. This week's edition of Carolina journal radio was brought to you by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina working every day to transform the health system from North Carolinians.

More information available at today. voters have spoken in North Carolina.

How can you make sense of what they said about the legislature Congress, the courts, the Constitution, Carolina journal has you covered in print each month. Online every day. Carolina journal is your source for up-to-the-minute information about North Carolina state government policies and their impact on you Carolina journal offers in-depth analysis of the election's aftermath, then looks ahead to 2019. How will elections affect your family, your wallet, your schools, your business find out in the free Carolina journal newspaper Carolina journal your number one source for government news that affects you visit Carolina today. Welcome back to Carolina journal radio I Michiko guy, the Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman died in 2006, but his ideas live on and that includes the concepts he expressed in the popular television series free to choose our next guest helps bring those ideas to new viewers every day through new projects. Robert Chatfield is Pres. and CEO of the free choose network welcome to the program. Thanks revenue for small tell us about the free to choose network. What is it and what is it that you try to do as you may have surmised, we are the original film company that produced Milton Friedman's free to choose series a little trivia for you is the book actually came out after the film. Most people are unaware of that, our founder Bob Schuster sorta created this idea of how do we get Milton's ideas out there.

It was a response to a public television program that we was a 13 part series on Keynes and some public television so we should have another side of this here box is what we can do it in 10 because milk is much more efficient and so this company produced the free to choose series runs on PBS. You may remember that and then it became a book but now 12 years after those Friedman is gone. You're still putting together is a 40 years after that project were still going strong as a film studio so we still produce documentary films. Our primary outlet is still public television. So are you and CTV around here will often error programs we are still looking to figure out how to reach the masses that haven't heard the message yet and I think that's probably the key differentiator for us and a lot of people it might be considered libertarian, conservative, etc. is we go out of our way to really go out and try to look for the people who numbered this message before and the message is still the same message about the value of policies that promote freedom and visual liberty letting markets work. Most people consider these conservative ideas or libertarian ideas. Milton never considered that way. Milton considered himself a self-described radical, and that's one of the things that we continue to say is, is that were not pushing a conservative agenda. What were pushing or winning ideas in these winning ideas essentially are enough to leave people alone. Let them choose what they want to be able to do in general though, choose well and will be happier people.

One of the things about free to choose that set it apart from what was there before as this was not a book this was that something with a bunch of charts and graphs or talking heads and academics. Basically, Milton Friedman, though he was very intellectual and academic was telling stories that just normal everyday people could understand is that still the goal absolutely end up. Milton was coached along well as I said by our founder Bob Schuster. It lasted him a lifetime. In terms of the coaching there, but will go out to we just did a series on Adam Smith called the real Adam Smith, for example, is he still relevant today. Let's get Maersk ship and go around the world and find out if Adam Smith is still relevant today by looking at trade specialization and other matters like that. We did a program called in the weeks we went and saw what's happening in India almost anywhere. We go through will receive them making reforms towards a more market-based economy will still travel the world will still find those stories and will still put those stories on her.

Do you see that the people who see these programs.

Some of them will will have the light bulb go off and go. Oh yes, this, this does make sense. I get it now.

One of the funniest well stories was a colleague.

I was in a taxicab in New York, and all was just talking to the cabdriver. The Nurses you saw this thing on Adam Smith.

One interesting guy he is and the Collingwood was not from our organization. He says you I'm going to see that film producer right now. I hope you don't mind if I tell him that I think of the lightbulb still goes offer a lot of people gathered is not exposed to the ideas. Nobody really gives a giant economics curriculum in high school.

If you went through college.

You might've taken a course or two when this unless you're well-versed in it. These continue to be esoteric ideas for many in the more we can turn them into stories that people understand more people realize you cannot really boils down to choices and if you are free to choose.

Again, you're more happy we are chatting with Robert Chatfield who is the president and CEO of the free to choose network and you mentioned the people may have had an economics course college is probably still scarred by thinking of supply and demand curves and econometrics and all the jargon. How difficult is it to translate these concepts, some of which are intuitive, but others are not. How difficult is it to translate these concepts into things that people don't have an economics background or don't want to think about economics can understand.

I'll take you to our latest production.

It's a film called Sweden lessons for America as a?

At the end of it. By the way, about the Bernie Sanderson of America should be more like the Nordic countries. We should be more like Sweden and we proceeded to go in and take a real deep dive into some of those statistics, but how you tell those statistics.

It's not you know why we have very few carafes in this document Terry but there are couple that really point out some ideas to you as I said, you hit it on the head there with verse to not have in the supply and demand graphs. You can't do that. But when you can talk about what happened with tax rates by showing people who were literally driven out of Sweden because of the tax rates and they were the sweetest celebrities you know the author of Pippi Longstocking, Ingmar Bergman, the famous film producer. These people were driven out of their native country because the tax rate and when the labor union started take over more and more of the companies in the entrepreneurship went away. What happened is we tell those things through the stories you not to be able to say oh yeah tax rates of 102% are punitive. Everybody understands that component.

But if you can tell it through the eyes the story and how it impacted. Even the people in Sweden then it seems to have more of resonates more with people who are watching us here to say yeah now I seem to get this the idea that Sweden is a social democracy is really a falsehood. This work as you said earlier goes back 40 years and we have seen the media landscape changed quite a bit over that time, even of the past few years, people are getting their information in new ways.

Watch TV or films as much. People get information from their phones to the Internet that create challenges for the free to choose network about how do we get this valuable information to people. So those actually see it here at others.

Two avenues were still going through. We still go through public television as a distribution outlet for a couple reasons. One is if your schoolteacher wants to be able to use this and it was shown on public television is sudden it has course, sort of a stamp of approval that someone else's sort of vetted this product out there and that's legal say for general consumption if you will get on what's so scary about an idea that says you know people who are free tend to be happier than those who are, but there is this concept that all my gosh. And for some reason the conservative right wing has a monopoly on freedom. Therefore nobody else can have this in its bad so public television is a said reaching out to that audience and making sure spreading that message through there and abroad formed. Also make sure that working audiences 502 million people on a regular basis were reporting out and it's a diverse audience. As we well know the side question you asked on that one is more about the fragmented market in people having to go out search and find things and I think that's where everybody's facing the challenge there, but I think if you push this out through channels. That said, public education, public television and still use the purpose of mass media which is not to get a targeted swath of audience Artie agrees with your message, but to try to show other people and maybe there's another way you can think about this.

I think we still do a good job for their and I don't think we should be ignoring those markets. Our time is running short. But people want to learn more about free to choose network. What's the best thing for them to check I would go to is in television, they can download any of our programs there for free.

There's also some additional information with regards to that, but that's the best spot to just go see what we been doing for the past 30 years, all right free to The president and CEO of the free to choose network is Robert Chatfield. Thanks much joy and I think you will have more on Carolina journal radio just among you know you can now advance freedom and free markets just by shopping with Amazon it's true online shopping is now a great way to support the John lock foundation just shot using the Amazon smile program and designate as the foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop and Amazon donates money to ask the John Locke foundation. So here's how it works a lot of time to Amazon smile.

It's the same Amazon you know same products same prices is much better.

Amazon donates .5% of the price of your eligible purchases to pass the John Locke foundation to try to be sure to designate the lock foundation is a nonprofit, you want to support. It's that easy. So now not only will you enjoy what you buy will also support freedom. Don't forget log on to today by something nice and help defend freedom. Support the John Locke foundation voters have spoken in North Carolina. How can you make sense of what they said about the legislature Congress, the courts, the Constitution, Carolina journal has you covered in print each month.

Online every day. Carolina journal is your source for up-to-the-minute information about North Carolina state government policies and their impact on you Carolina journal offers in-depth analysis of the election's aftermath, then looks ahead to 2019. How will elections affect your family, your wallet, your schools, your business find out in the free Carolina journal newspaper Carolina journal your number one source for government news that affects you visit Carolina today. If you have freedom we got great news to share with you now. You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups across North Carolina all in one place North Carolina it's one stop shopping for North Carolina's freedom movement and North Carolina You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carolina reporting and quick takes Carolina journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke foundation analysts, opinion pieces and reports on higher education from the James Dean Martin Center for academic renewal, commentary and polling data from the scimitar's Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council. That's right, all in one place North Carolina that's North Carolina spelled out North Carolina Try it today. This week's edition of Carolina journal radio was brought to you by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina working every day to transform the health system from North Carolinians.

More information available at today. will go back to Carolina journal radio I Michiko guy the UNC system is spending some money to tell prospective college students and their parents how they can save money system president Margaret spellings explained.

We promise as a one million-dollar campaign funded by the Gen. assembly to raise awareness of two bold initiatives make college more affordable and see promised tuition plan and the fixed tuition program and see promised tuition plan which took effect this fall drop tuition to just $500 a semester for in-state students at Elizabeth City State University, Western Carolina University and UNC Pembroke and we have seen big results through increased enrollments rising transfer numbers and more students returning after having left school than ever before.

Enrollments are up 6% at Western 14% at UNC P and 19% at ECS you transfer numbers are up between 40 and 60% and all three institutions and data from UNC Pembroke chart shows a more than 60% increase in the number of students he returned to school after having dropped out. The fixed tuition program, which began in 2016, ensures that tuition stays the same for North Carolina's students at any of our 16 universities for four years of continuous enrollment.

It has provided predictability and affordability to our 160,000 in-state undergraduate and serves as a great incentive for students to stay continuously enrolled. We should be proud of these ambitious efforts.

They stand out nationally. They put college within range of more families and they define the trend of rising college costs. They are a worthy, extension of North Carolina's legacy of affordability, polling data suggest the new campaign makes sense. Gallup is done some polling in partnership with the my future and see commission that shows that only 14% of North Carolinians know about and see promised and only 18% about the fixed tuition program.

This campaign will help change that through broadcast radio and digital advertisements in all 100 counties.

We are educating our citizens on their options for an affordable education, justice, students are filling out faxes and investigating options. We created a dedicated website North promise, which serves as a one-stop shop for the campaign. This campaign will help build the college going culture that our state needs because college must be affordable and within reach for all families. If we are to power North Carolina and empower every North Carolinian that's UNC system president Margaret spellings she's explaining a new one million-dollar campaign promotes two cost-saving measures for perspective, UNC students and their parents will return with more Carolina journal radio with a moment of commitment to truth and transparency in government. That is the mission of Carolina journal and we are proud to deliver and now proud to tell you the North Carolina press Association has honored to members of our team with awards for reporting and writing, that's right, we really do deliver award-winning journalism we shine the light on government spending, reveal the truth about boondoggles and dig deep into programs paid for with your tax money. We keep you in the know in a way other media outlets don't in our reach and influence are growing all of our outlets.

We reach more than 1 million N. Carolinians each month so make sure you're one of them. Our monthly print edition arrives in your mailbox every month. Our online daily news site Carolina has fresh stories, opinion pieces, and more.

The award-winning Carolina journal team I reporters make government accountable to you.

Call 1866 JL FINF0 for your free subscription, welcome back to Carolina journal radio I Michiko guy North Carolina earned some unwanted national attention when the State elections Board refused to certify election results in the ninth congressional district board members noted concerns about mailing absentee ballots in the race, especially from Bladen County. While the board investigated three Republican state senators responded. Tommy Tucker reminded a room full of reporters that he is retiring from the general assembly of your products so the only interest in this Bladen County election irregularities is not part we need to draw voting for all of the study. If Republicans committed for all they need to be filled. In fact, we need to hold our own. The same is true for the demo for voting for all they need to hold himself accountable for all is not acceptable Board of elections through this inability to be able to transparently and without courses you even in the glory and corporate administrations to resolve these issues of election irregularities.

We need to call upon the governor to help with LCL for all gifts Republicans would you like to see we get to the bottom of this transparent and Nonpartisan Way, Bladen County does have a long history of developer all so we are embarrassed to say that our elections don't count but don't count all voters should be counted and we need integrity in our elections in North Carolina and it needs to be done by transparent to get this issue resolved go. We believe needs to establish a Bob Carson test force to investigate 2008 election in Bladen County and any irregularities in every allegation of road Road for all blade even back in 2006 of his forms and issued an investigation for all those not so all through this effort called cell. We do have integrity can resolve this issue. Fellow Republican Sen. Dan, Bishop of Mecklenburg County echoed Tucker's interest in a bipartisan investigation outside of the elections board process there must be an investigation into the years of alleged absentee ballot by mail fraud activities in Bladen that is all thorough, transparent and nonpartisan as news reports of told all troubling allegations of event level little literally for years in Bladen County of effect of board of elections. Vice Chairman then now chairman Dr. Mark Malcolm said the elections officials have known about this for years. When he got to certify the results of the congressional narrative statistical knowledge that all can see election result in 2016 here 30 point advantage in absentee ballot by mail. Overall results in Bladen County Superintendent of Public instruction right in 2016, the Democratic candidate donated to what you all know the Bladen County improvement Association focal one.

Overall vote by five points in the County's ABMs 1 x 46 point go back to the 2014 Hagan Tillis Ruth, an extremely" income County but Hagan won the ABMs in Bladen, 74% to 26% Bladen has 1/10 the population of Cumberland County, for example.

But Hagan was credited with more absentee ballot by mail votes from Bladen 600-6500 25. There have been complaints. We now know about FT ballot by mail activity in Bladen in 2010, 2014, 2016 and then of course the terribly disheartening news reports this year in 2018, nine congressional district the right.

It is equally clear that over that period of time authorities have failed to get to the bottom of certainly not in a transparent, notwithstanding the problem is not being solved by prosecutorial authorities for an certainly not by the state board of elections over three administration. But what we cannot have going forward from this point is an investigative and enforcement effort or process that has of partisan pain that could dramatically worsen situation.

Sen. Paul Newton joined his colleagues and calling for an outside review of the circumstances surrounding Bladen County's absentee ballots.

I assure you, all of us on the side of the podium are troubled and saddened to be here today is initiated, we need to bring forth leak your attention to Gov. Cooper has been a long lawyer long enough call when you can and nine of the North Carolina professional conduct admonished every attorney in the state of North Carolina to avoid even the appearance of impropriety in the representation of their clients. We believe the citizens of North Carolina deserve to have the appearance of impropriety erased from our state selections is not an effort to inject partisanship into a major investigation is quite the opposite. There's been a pattern of irregularities in Bladen County and perhaps more broadly, that at the very least, raises questions about results for candidates for both parties over multiple election cycles and for many reasons. Sen. Bishop articulated the Democratic Party has a conflict of interest in leading this investigation. The only proper way to investigate potential fraud involving both parties is to appoint a fully bipartisan task just spends process and the product Bladen County investigations must inspire confidence that North Carolina will not tolerate any thrall on behalf of any candidate regardless of political party and that is why I'm calling for transparency were calling for a fully bipartisan task force to leave investigation and finally that the investigation be broad enough wrong to satisfy the concerns of all North who would lead this bipartisan investigation. Senators didn't offer the governor specifics, but Tommy Tucker suggested one person who would be willing to serve 37 years of my life I've been a Democrat 31 years of been Republican. You'll get more bipartisan than that and I would offer my services as a volunteer to be able to be honest Bob Carson test force.

I think many of you know that I'll always try to call it like a C fax don't have feelings and we need to look at the facts. We will fax own very much. The Republicans, the allegations that we have now and look at the Democrat allegations and see exactly what's going on in Bladen County so we can remedy this from happening in the future. Next what this is all well this been going on since 2000. And probably beyond that. So we need to fix it when needed transparently do it. We need to resolve the issue so that the citizens of North Carolina have the confidence to their votes discounted in the election results were true. In fact, that's Tommy Tucker retiring State Sen., one of three Charlotte area Senators calling for the governor to appoint a new bipartisan commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud affected North Carolina's ninth district congressional race will return with North Carolina journal radio in a moment this week's edition of Carolina journal radio is brought to you by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina working every day to transform the health system from North Carolinians.

More information available at today. voters have spoken in North Carolina. How can you make sense of what they said about the legislature Congress, the courts, the Constitution, Carolina journal has you covered in print each month.

Online every day. Carolina journal is your source for up-to-the-minute information about North Carolina state government policies and their impact on you Carolina journal offers in-depth analysis of the election's aftermath, then looks ahead to 2019 album elections affect your family, your wallet, your schools, your business find out in the free Carolina journal newspaper Carolina journal your number one source for government news that affects you visit Carolina today.

Welcome back to Carolina journal radio and Anna Martinez, state lawmakers this year appropriated a $35 million to address school safety issues.

Legislators also formed a special school safety committee.

The funding and the committee came in the wake of the February shooting high school in Florida that unfortunately left 17 students dead and a gunman's hand out this month.

The special safety committee submitted its recommendations.

Lindsay Marcello is associate editor at Carolina journal. She joins us now to talk about those Lindsay, welcome back to the shell Lindsay what's been done with that $35 million so far someone is been used to hire additional school resource officers for all the schools in the state and the school resource officers are essentially police officers in school back to security for the students on the money has also been used to hire additional mental health support, which would be like school counselors, social workers, that school nurses and money is. Also, I think, been used to upgrade the security systems and all the school sets video surveillance. That's electric locked doors sort of things but there's still a lot of work left to be done definitely and why that that is one reason that this set committee came up with some recommendations because people feel that we've only made the down payment time on safety issue committee, and you covered the meeting. They made some recommendations and the really interesting and I'm filled with some important stuff to talk about.

So let's go through the first of all mental health screening what they want to do.

They want to do is when a student comes to a new school comes joins the school system they would have to undergo mental health screening. The tests seem like a depressed, anxious to have a personality disorder to see like what are the potential triggers that could lead to an issue at the school, so the ideas date they would screen every single students and not to pick out or any other student to stigmatize them.

This way they could do to everyone and said they would avoid issues of violating an individual's privacy avoid the issue of looking like there profiling someone significant for everything Stinnett but I think there's some finer details that still need to be worked out with this be for all schools would be for all grade levels. I'm not sure yet that something that legislators are still trying to figure out one would presume that there might be some pushback on that. I would think so. Yeah, I mean mental health is a very sensitive subject in kids are growing up there changing.

They may have some sort of issues that will be highlighted with the screening, but it doesn't necessarily mean that there can be troublemakers down the line right it could be that they are just transitioning from being a young child right Huberty, etc. you never know and and so that's can be a fascinating one to watch is that goes forward. What is considered to be a problem for you and what is just a normal recommendation. Lindsay gets to the heart of civic responsibility what they mean when they put this and yeah I was really surprised to see that when next I wasn't quite sure what the connection to school safety was there but rep Sen. Torbert was talking about how this week I get to the root of the issue. Perhaps like to teach kids about keeping an eye on each other and engaging with each other in a responsible manner and to be able to point out to teachers if there is a problem, but it's also part of that would be teaching students to be respectful of authority figures have their teachers of the SROs in schools. It would be about teaching about the importance of school safety and about avoiding conflicts. There's also a lot of details that something to be worked out.

How would they fit this into the current curriculum.

There were some concerns at the committee hearing that were requiring too much to be taught at school.

There's not enough room to canna add this additional lesson into the what is already there.

Interesting that you mention the word conflict and now, unfortunately this does occur and should conflict or some sort of violence occur. The there's also recommendation from the committee about first aid training right yes so schools already teach first aid training to an extent that I think high schools Artie teach late CPR Heimlich maneuver in the health classes, but this would add teaching students about how to use external defibrillators and how to use bleeding control kits now that's an fascinating phrase talk more about that bleeding control.

There was there was a report that came out. I'm not sure when but it was one of the leading causes of death in the school shootings was bleeding out students they don't know how to control the bleeding of another student teachers on how to do it either. I imagine most people don't know how to control bleeding. So I think this is one of the ways and mitigate the damages if there is, unfortunately, if there is an event school shooting. You mentioned earlier Lindsay that the appropriation that's already occurred. Some of that money has gone to hardening the facilities with security. There's also recommendation that down more grants come to the schools they obviously feel they need more money right. These grants would also go to school resource officers. A lot of schools they share school resource officer with their other neighboring schools. There's a lot of elementary schools don't have an SRO that's always in the school to this school safety grant would look at the counties that are in need for more SROs annually provide on reoccurring funds for them.

I think for 2018 the party. Like 30 million for that and then it waited in 2019. That would jump up to like 53 million now be both recurring and nonrecurring funds. Last year there was some legislation that was discussed but apparently didn't go for word and that is now resurrected by this committee. This includes a lot of little what I think most people would say would be like finer details do they DA threat assessment team that they would look at what what to do in case of an emergency the schools would have to develop a plan for how to handle that delete. There was something for a vulnerability assessment for buildings for school buildings.

There's another plan for intercounty the local board will come up with a standard state of emergency plan and then all the schools in the county would have to comply with that standard income under that standard. So these are sly little catcalls that just didn't quite gain traction last last session, but maybe was here the emergence now that they've made the recommendations does this committee go away or we can see more this were going to deftly see more this. They have an interest in continuing studying this. That was one of the last recommendations was to continue studying this issue and 2019 any expressing interest in bringing in the Senate as well and having a joint committee instead of just being the house. One of the interesting and fascinating things actually about the story that she wrote about this this committee and the recommendations which by the way can find it Carolina was the comments made by an official from the Charlotte Mecklenburg system wide legislators hear from this person.

What was the message there was a school in Charlotte Mecklenburg County that experience their own source will shooting a student there brought a gun in early morning before school started and he shot another student is tragic event. I think it ripples were throughout North Carolina that will this great tragedy, but the Charlotte Mecklenburg school system immediately reacted inside and permitting changes to the superintendent claim Wilcox. He presented these changes to the committee.

These changes included dates are doing random screenings searches at bat back searches in all the schools and they were doing this randomly, so not to profile an individual student. They pick school and then they would go in and search all the bags students look to see if there any weapons they would have increased video surveillance live in talking with Lindsay Marcello. She's written a story and read it. Carolina that's all the time we have for the program this week on behalf of Mitch Cope and Donna Martinez hope you'll join us again next week for more Carolina journal radio this week's edition of Carolina journal radio is brought to you by Blue Cross and Blue Shield working every day to transform the health system. More information available today. We got Carolina journal radio program of the John Locke to learn more about the John Locke foundation donations support programs like Carolina journal radio send email to development, job, or call 66 GLS info 166-553-4636 Carolina journal radio is the timeline foundation. Carolina's free-market think tank and Carolina broadcasting system, Inc. all opinions expressed on this program are solely those did not merely reflect the more the station.

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