From Senator Warren Daniel 5/1/2023
I hope everyone has had a good week! Below is a short list of topics that I wanted to cover in this newsletter. The Senate is not far from finalizing its version of the state budget, so stay tuned to future newsletters and press releases the next couple of weeks. Also, by the time you read this you will have heard in the news of the NC Supreme Court reversing a few decisions by the previous court. Those that have received this newsletter for the last few years know that I have disagreed with the previous court's outlandish decision to set aside Voter ID as unconstitutional, even though nearly 60% of the voting public approved the constitutional amendment. You also know that I disagreed with how the previous court declared redistricting maps unconstitutional without pointing to any provision in the state constitution that was violated. I will probably have more to say on the recent decisions next week.
In this edition of the newsletter:
Protect children from obscenity
School Choice options
Help with federal agencies
House Bill 259: 2023 Appropriations Act passed the House with a strong bipartisan vote of 78-38. The Senate appropriations team will be working on making the House proposal a better budget and expect that we will have a Senate version to vote on the week of May 15. The Senate budget will go through an amendment process in the Senate Appropriations Committee before a vote by the full Senate. Since the Senate budget proposal will be different from the House version, the House will likely not concur, and a conference committee of senior House and Senate members will hammer out the details to present to both chambers for a final vote. Stay tuned!
SB 579 Prevent Harm to Children: I received quite a few calls about this simple 5-line bill this week. Most of the callers really didn't understand what the bill does, so allow me to explain. GS 14-190.1 outlines the definitions for obscenity and explains when it is unlawful to disseminate obscene materials. I will not list all the examples that are contained in state law because of the lewdness of the acts and exhibitions described. Currently it is already a felony to violate GS 14-190.1. SB 579 will elevate the felony charge if the dissemination of the obscene materials or exhibitions are directed toward minors. Keep in mind that there are forms of art or exhibitions that may be offensive to many of us, but as long as they do not rise to the level of obscenity defined in GS14-190.1, they are not violations of state law.
SB 406/HB 823 Choose Your School, Choose Your Future. This is a broad school choice bill which is moving through the Senate that will change how the Opportunity Scholarship program will be administered. Very simply, under SB 406 all K-12 children in North Carolina will be eligible for Opportunity Scholarships, based on a sliding income scale. I have heard from many parents on the issue of 'school choice' and I will be closely following this bill. I encourage you to click the link to the bill to learn more about what this bill will do. I also encourage you to look up HB 823 to see what that bills seeks to do for families in North Carolina. This topic will certainly be one to follow.
Volunteering helps to reduce depression, increase life satisfaction, and gives people purpose. If you’re an animal lover but can’t have a pet where you live, you could volunteer at your local animal shelter. Other examples of volunteer opportunities include libraries, museums, parks and zoos, ministries or other non-profits. To find more volunteer activities, visit the North Carolina Volunteer Opportunities website to discover opportunities that are available in the state.
Interested in following along with next week's legislative business? Clicking on the image below will take you to the Legislative Calendar.