From Raleigh to DC: Wake Tech Legislative Affairs

March 11th, 2019

Trump Administration Proposes Federal Budget Cuts

The Office of Management and Budget today released the President's budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2020 and they include cuts to most domestic agencies, including Education and Labor, in exchange for increases in expenditures for the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security.  Included is an overall 12% proposed cut to the Department of Education, including a 50 percent reduction in the Federal Work Study program and other reductions to TRIO programs beyond their current funding levels.  The Budget supports the use of Pell Grant dollars for "high-quality, short-term" training programs, with the $416 million cost to be paid for by shifting priorities in required spending on the program.  It's important to remember, though, that the President's budget is essentially a listing of the administration's priorities for the coming year and that Congress has the constitutional authority to create the nation's budget.  Capitol Hill has actually increased spending in each of the Trump administration's two-year history.

February 26th, 2019

Details Still Unresolved as Deadline Nears for Use of Student IDs for Voting

With less than 3 weeks before the state's community colleges and public universities must certify that their institution-issued IDs meet the requirements of North Carolina's new voter ID law, the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the University System says that none of its 17 campuses are able to certify compliance.  Thomas C. Shanahan told a meeting of professors in Chapel Hill on February 22 that the State Board of Elections has not done its due diligence in providing details on what student IDs should look like to meet voting requirements, while noting that there is no current uniformity across the System on how the identification cards are created, what they contain, or who receives them.  Community colleges and universities have until March 15 to certify their compliance, but the state legislature is considering action to extend that deadline.  WRAL covers this developing story at http://bit.ly/2U50m9f

February 26th, 2019

Cooper Calls for Support to Community Colleges

In his annual 'State of the State' speech, Governor Roy Cooper spoke of the need for more financial support of the state's 58 community colleges. In remarks to a joint session of the State House and Senate, Cooper touted his administration's Finish Line grants program, which "help community college students living on the economic edge.  The grants help people stay in school when they face unexpected costs like car repairs, medical emergencies and childcare."  For a second time, the Governor promoted a plan to provide tuition-free community college for jobs in high demand, saying "other states are already doing this, so let's get it done."  College affordability has become a crisis, Cooper said, noting that "people in North Carolina now have $41 billion in student debt and many middle-class families often can't afford the education they need."  The Governor's remarks came as the legislature has begun holding the first of many hearings on the state budget for FY 2019-20.