Bills addressing college costs, immigration, pay filed

Bills addressing college costs, immigration, pay filed
May 19
09:30 2016

RALEIGH (AP) North Carolina law-makers offered bills before a self-imposed deadline Tuesday addressing the cost of college education, penalties for “sanctuary cities,” economic incentives and worker pay.

House and Senate members filed close to 120 pieces of legislation before this year’s cutoff for bills that would affect next year’s budget or that study commissions recommended.

Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, filed legislation – Senate Bill 873 – that would prevent in-state tuition at University of North Carolina campuses from rising for a student seeking a bache-lor’s degree, either for eight or 10 semesters. Senate Democrats filed a separate “fixed tuition” bill.

But Apodaca’s bill also would drastically reduce tuition starting in fall 2018 to no more than $500 per semester for in-state students and $2,500 for out-of-state students at five UNC campuses: the historically black Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State and Winston-Salem State, along with UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina.

The change would be designed to attract new students to some campuses with lower enrollment or to stimulate regional economies. University leaders also would be directed in fall 2018 to reduce student fees at nearly all campuses by 10 percent to 25 percent compared with this fall. Apodaca also wants to create a scholarship program giving full rides to students attending the historically black North Carolina A&T and N.C. Central.

News reports had said that the bill also would require the UNC Board of Governors to

evaluate the effects of changing the names of the five universities, but media are now saying that part of the bill is expected to be modified.

Another bill by Sens. Norman Sanderson, R-Pamlico, and Buck Newton, R-Wilson, would deny local governments money for public school capital or city street improvements if they don’t comply with federal and state immigration laws. The legislature told cities and counties last fall they could not enforce their own policies preventing a person from being asked their immigration status.

The bill also creates a process whereby the public could file complaints alleging local governments weren’t complying with immigration laws with the attorney general. Newton is the Republican nominee for attorney general this year.

“Hopefully this bill will provide some extra incentive for local officials to do the right thing,” Newton and Sanderson said in a release.

Several House Republicans, including Majority Leader Mike Hager of Rutherford County, filed legislation Tuesday that would allow local governments to request a moratorium on resettling refugees in their area that would ultimately be sent to the U.S. Department of State. Local government bodies also would be required to hold public hearings before notifying North Carolina officials they wanted to resettle refugees.

Refugee issues received attention late last year after the Paris attacks, based on worries that terrorists would pose as refugees to gain access to the U.S.

House and Senate GOP lawmakers filed 28-page bills offering or extending a host of tax breaks and credits to those investing in North Carolina business, as well as using certain funds held by the state treasurer for venture capital targeting businesses with North Carolina connections.

House Democrats filed their own bills Tuesday, two of which would repeal or replace the law approved in March limiting anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and the use of public restrooms by transgender people to the one aligned with their biological sex.

Democrats also filed several bills to raise the minimum wage to $12 or $15 per hour and mandate equal pay for men and women performing the same work.

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