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Television Ad – People First, Politics Last

Stone Campaign Releases First Ad of 2018 Campaign

“People First, Politics Last” ad will begin to air this week

Representative Scott Stone’s campaign for NC House District 105 is launching its first television commercials this week. The spot, entitled “People First, Politics Last” features south Charlotte resident Laura Gaska, whose mother faced challenges in dealing with her assisted living facility.

“We didn’t know Scott, but Mom’s battle became Scott’s battle.” Gaska says in the ad. Gaska, along with another constituent, brought the issue to Stone’s attention several months ago. Gaska’s mother, Carol Ann passed away a few weeks ago. She was grateful that her mother was able to see that progress was being made on this important issue.

“When Mom passed, she passed knowing that Scott Stone was going to continue that fight,” she said in the ad.

Stone filed HB 1071, the Assisted Seniors Financial Protection Act earlier this year to help residents of assisted living facilities who were experiencing unfair price increases and unwarranted discharge. The legislation successfully put a spotlight on some facilities which were taking advantage of a loophole in the existing law. This prompted the assisted living industry to assess its own practices and publicly admit that not all facilities were following the “spirit of the law.”

“Our seniors are among the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Rep. Stone. “It is incredibly important to ensure they are protected. These protections must be not only health related, but also financial. As our senior population grows these issues will continue to grow in importance.”

The ad also highlights the need for a more constructive tone in our political debate.

“We have too much hyper-partisan rhetoric and political acrimony. We need to set politics aside and have cordial, constructive dialogue when discussing issues.” Stone said. “It is what the people of this state want. It is the only thing that will allow us to come together.”

 

Rep. Stone Demands Answers of DMV for Secret Drivers License Office


On August 28th, Rep. Scott Stone sent a letter to the DMV commissioner to get answers on why there is a secret driver’s license office set-up only for special people. This is while taxpayers are taking time off of work to stand in line for 5+ hours.

In this letter, I asked DMV Commissioner Jessup to provide an explanation as to why this secret driver’s license office is in operation. North Carolina taxpayers deserve to know who had access to it, why those individuals were selected, and how they were notified. The significant frustration already felt from all those waiting in long lines at their local DMV facilities will only be compounded as they learn of the secret, invitation-only office.

In the letter, Rep. Stone said, “While North Carolinians across the state are spending hours waiting for service at other facilities, it appears that special invitations were sent to senior state employees for speedy, 20-minute appointments. Having a separate set of rules and privileges for a special few state employees is an affront to the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”

Read full letter here

WBTV news broke the news about the secret office and reported on our letter to DMV. Watch here: https://www.wbtv.com/story/38981195/lawmaker-presses-for-answers-after-wbtv-investigation-into-secret-dmv-office

 

Voter ID Constitutional Amendment Introduced in NC House

North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast, and one of only 18 in US which does not require voters to show any form of identification. This could change if a new constitutional amendment is passed.

HB 1092 was introduced which would put the measure on the ballot this fall for consideration of North Carolina citizens. Rep. Stone is proud to be a co-sponsor of the bill.

Scott Stone co-sponsors Voter ID amendment

Scott Stone co-sponsors Voter ID amendment

Every state and national poll shows strong bi-partisan support for a voter ID requirement to ensure that there is no voter fraud. North Carolinians are already required to show IDs for many routine activities, such as renting a car, flying, filling a medical prescription, and banking.

“Having an ID is a basic civil right,” said Rep. Scott Stone. “We need to ensure that every citizen has a proper form of identification. Without access to a proper ID people would be unable to take advantage of many of the benefits this state has to offer. If opponents of this constitutional amendment can find people whom might be adversely impacted by this requirement, they should help those people get a proper ID. That would help those individuals the most.”

Teachers Will Get 6% Raise Next Year – We’re Not Done Yet!

Teacher pay numbers2

Increasing teacher pay has always been one of Rep. Scott Stone’s top priorities as a legislator.

“One of the reasons I ran for the North Carolina House of Representatives was because I wanted to help North Carolina’s K-12 educational system become one of the best in the country,” said Rep. Stone. “We still have work to do, but we have made great progress.”

As a member of the House K-12 Committee, he will continue to fight for policies which help our students, and investments which support our vital teachers. As a CMS parent – his youngest daughter will graduate from Ardrey Kell in a few weeks – he is committed to being an advocate for our public schools.

NC Teachers Are Getting a 6.1% Raise Next Year

In a few weeks Rep. Stone will keep his promise to North Carolina teachers by voting for the planned budget in the upcoming Short Session of the General Assembly. While there is a planned “teacher work day” on Wednesday, May 16th on the opening day of the legislative session, teachers should rest assured knowing that there is a 6.1% salary increase already planned for the 2018-19 school year. House and Senate Republican leadership has already confirmed their commitment to these planned raises.

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Numbers, Numbers, Numbers…

Since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011, there has been considerable investment in education. Based on the projected budget for 2018-19, we are forecasting a total investment of $9.425 billion in K-12 education. This is an increase of $2.142 billion since 2011.

A few key statistics about funding:

– Almost 40% of our state budget goes to K-12 education.

– 63.1% of a NC school district’s budget comes from the state – only 25.8% comes from the local government. This is a high number as the national average is only 45.8%. We are 10th in nation in terms of percentage of funding coming from state.

– The average teacher salary in North Carolina in 2018-19 will be $53,600.

– The median teacher salary in the U.S. by state is $54,846.

– Since 2013, North Carolina teachers have seen an average pay raise of $8,600 or 19%.

– Because of how we changed the “step” increases for most experienced teachers – by getting them higher salaries more quickly – the lifetime earning potential of a North Carolina teacher since 2013 will increase by $233,000.

– 44,647 teachers have received a pay raise of at least $10,000 since Republicans took control of General Assembly.

– In 2011 under Democratic control North Carolina was ranked 45th in nation in teacher pay.

With the projected average salary of $53,600 in 2018-19, and compared to the 2018 National Education Assocation estimates for states, North Carolina could get to as high as 28th in national rankings.

k-12 funding to 18-19

Some of the protest organizers from the NCAE will compare North Carolina to Oklahoma and West Virginia, where teacher demonstrations led to pay increases. Here is the difference:

– Oklahoma was 50th in the US in teacher pay with ’16 to ’17 salaries staying flat, and ’18 projected to be less than 1% increase.

– West Virginia was 49th with a slight decrease from ’16 to ’17 and only 0.2% projected increase for ‘18.

NC had the 2nd fastest salary growth from ’16 to ’17 and #1 in salary growth from ’15 to ‘16.

NC ’18 – ’19 salaries will increase again by another 6% 

We are not Oklahoma or West Virginia. We don’t need protests to force us to make investments in teacher pay. We have already done it and are continuing to do it. We made the commitment willingly and will continue to honor our commitment to our teachers.

For more numbers on education, see the links:

www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/fbs/resources/data/highlights/2018highlights.pdf

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4443932-NEA-teacher-pay-rankings-2018.html

Rep. Stone Protecting Assisted Living Seniors

1 wsoc 5-8-18

State lawmaker pushing to protect seniors in assisted living facilities from major price hikes

By: John Paul  WSOC-TV

WATCH STORY HERE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A state legislator told Channel 9 Tuesday there are loopholes in North Carolina that let assisted living facilities take advantage of seniors by hiking prices or even kicking them out.

Laura Gaska knows all too well how much power assisted living facilities have. Her mom, Carol Ann, is in her 80s and lives at a private-payer facility in south Charlotte.

Recently, Gaska learned her mother has to pay more if she wants to stay.

“It disturbs me and it disturbs my mom,” Gaska said. “She went up $1,100 per month on top of everything else, so she’s at $8,100.”

Gaska showed Channel 9 the contract that says the price could go up if her mom needed extra care.

But the price hike was a surprise because her care hadn’t changed, so she hired a lawyer.

“They were eventually able to come back and say it was due to level of effort,” Gaska said.

The center said the hike was because the staff was working harder to care for her mom.

2 wsoc 5-8-18

State Rep. Scott Stone said the contracts are too subjective.

He said he has heard a number of complaints from people in the same situation.

“They are taking advantage of the most vulnerable, both physically and financially,” Stone said. “We’ve all got to agree that the actual care you’re giving is what I’m paying for and what I’m getting.”

Stone is working on legislation that would do just that and make it harder to discharge a senior.

Currently, facilities only have to give them 30 days before sending them somewhere else.

“They’re fearful of complaining; objecting to some of the things or questioning the costs because they don’t want to be discharged,” Stone said.

The proposed bill is in the works. If it doesn’t make it for the short session next week, Stone said he will keep pushing.

The latest numbers showed that in 2016 there were nearly 4,000 complaints about assisted living facilities in North Carolina.

https://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/state-lawmaker-pushing-to-protect-seniors-in-assisted-living-facilities-from-major-price-hikes/746058883

North Carolina Posts a $356.7 Million Surplus

IMG_20170603_132552_processedHouse and Senate leadership announced a $23.9 Billion budget deal which in includes another significant raise for North Carolina teachers. The budget deal sets the spending limit, but detailed appropriations will come during the short session which will start next week.

Through the tax cuts of the past few years, and fiscal discipline, North Carolina will have a $356.7 Million surplus for 2018, and a projected surplus for 2018-19 of another $276.5 Million.

https://apnews.com/029877b55f064eca8937fcf642f57afa

North Carolina One of Best Prepared States for a Future “Rainy Day”

Carolina Journal reports that North Carolina is one of the best prepared states in the country to face a future recession or unexpected financial strain. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, which tracks states’ financial policies, North Carolina has set aside money in a dedicated savings account so that it could run for a full month only on this savings.

rainy day

The General Assembly has continued to exercise fiscal restrain in the past several budget cycles and continued to set aside more money into its Rainy Day Fund. In 2017, North Carolina became one of six states during to reform its rules concerning the reserves. House Bill 7 passed the House 110 – 3. Key components of HB7 requires state budgets to set aside 15% of revenues for the state’s savings. It also requires use of certain funds to require a 2/3 majority vote of the legislature.

Read more: https://www.carolinajournal.com/news-article/n-c-better-prepared-than-most-for-rainy-day-report-says/

Rep. Stone on Capital Tonight Talking School Safety, Governor’s Never-Ending Law Suits

Rep. Scott Stone of Charlotte joined Democratic Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham, and moderator Tim Boyum on Spectrum News 14’s Capital Tonight. WATCH HERE

Capital Tonight - 3-8-18 b

Rep. Stone highlighted the need to address the broader issue in our schools of mental health. He cited the tragic statistic that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for high school aged teens. According to the CDC statistics, at a rate of more than 10 per 100,000, people age 15 – 24, commit suicide annually. Rep. Stone cited the need for access to mental health resources for teens and compared the cost of seeing a doctor for physical ailments, which could come through a $20 co-pay with insurance, is inconsistent with a single meeting with a mental health professional which could cost $175 per visit.

Governor Cooper’s Fascination with Lawsuits 

Rep. Stone cited Governor Cooper’s unwillingness to work with the legislature as a key reason he goes to court on so many issues. “He was attorney general for 16 years but has been in court more times in the past 12 months than he ever was as attorney general,” Stone said. One of Governor Cooper’s latest lawsuits has to do with the state Elections Board, which the General Assembly established to be an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. The legislature recently in passing HB90, in response to the myriad of lawsuits from Gov. Cooper and liberal activist groups, added a 9th member to the Board of Elections, who is required to be an unaffiliated registered member. Voters registered as unaffiliated are currently the fastest growing block of voters in North Carolina.

Capital Tonight - 3-8-18

https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nc/charlotte/capital-tonight-show/2018/03/08/capital-tonight-march-8

Teacher Pay Now Over $50k

NC Teacher Pay 50k

For the first time in the history of North Carolina, average teacher salaries are now more than $50,000 per year. This comes as a result of 4 consecutive years of pay increases approved by the Republican-led General Assembly.

Representative Stone is proud to serve on the House K-12 Committee.

Read more: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article203422734.html

 

Class Size Challenges – Time to Focus on Facts

Senator Dan Bishop and I have spent a significant amount of time over the past few weeks and months trying to understand the details of class size requirements. The issue is not as simple as parents, and even some principals, are being told. It is complicated by a convoluted funding system that has existed for decades with multiple modifications over the years.

Education Graphic 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My goal is to focus on facts so that administrators, teachers, parents, and elected officials can begin to have conversations about policies and priorities. The emails parents have been receiving from outside groups – and from your own PTAs and schools – have been misleading and don’t identify all of the challenges.

As we try to understand all of the details of the funding and recent legislation, as well as the associated impacts, there have been many people who have tried to politicize the issue. That has caused additional challenges to the process of trying to chart the best path forward.

I am committed to ensuring that every dollar allocated to our schools is spent wisely while also working towards maximizing the educational opportunities for every student, both in our districts and across the state.

Facts from our Research: HB-13 and Other Distracting Issues

The emails many parents received from outside groups have been very deceiving. While there are a variety of issues with the past legislation which are presenting challenges – these including funding, space constraints, and others – the information presented a significant misunderstanding of facts. Here are some facts:

– HB13 did not change any language in law regarding class size requirements. Language is exactly the same as 2013 language. The 16 – 18 class sizes are required averages across the entire district, not across an individual school. Maximum class size in the law is actually 3 more than the funded average teacher – student ratio:

K – 1:21

1st – 1:19

2nd, 3rd – 1:20

– HB-13 only added some reporting requirements for superintendents and delayed implementation of class size requirements (for 3rd time) until 2018-19 school year.

– HB-13 (the final version which became law) passed with wide bipartisan support (Passed Senate 48 – 1, Passed House 112 – 3) and was signed into Law by Governor Roy Cooper.

– You have also been told that class size reductions are an “unfunded mandate.” That is also not true, but the funding piece is complicated, and we will try to explain in a future email. Funding was added for class size reductions for all school districts for Grades K-3 for the 2014-2015 school year, and added again for Grade 1 for school year 2016-17. From what we can find, those reductions have not occurred despite the funding. However, to be fair, there is still many conflicting funding issues which exist, so we are not yet prepared to declare this issue settled.

Running Out of Time?

There was a sense of urgency place upon you through these emails because the General Assembly was in Special Session last week. The class size issue was never on the calendar to be addresses last week, although many conversations took place among Members.

We do understand that the clock is ticking because school boards must get their budgets to County Commissions by May so planning can begin for the 2018 – 19 school year. Rest assured that we are continuing to work on this issue and we are likely to be back in Raleigh – perhaps multiple times – before May.

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