News

Uncategorized

Viewing posts from the Uncategorized category

Stone Receives Endorsement of Charlotte Observer

Rep. Scott Stone received the endorsement of the Charlotte Observer in his bid for reelection. The paper’s editorial board rarely endorses Republican candidates, but still gave the nod to Rep. Stone and called him a “reliable low-tax conservative.

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/…/e…/article220428455.html

Rep. Scott Stone Calls on DMV to Add New Locations, Allow Driver’s Ed Teachers to Give Tests

Rep. Scott Stone Calls on DMV to Add New Locations, Allow Driver’s Ed Teachers to Give Drivers’ Tests

 Charlotte, NC – NC Rep. Scott Stone (R-Mecklenburg) has sent a letter to DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup and Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, requesting that high school driver’s education teachers be allowed to administer written tests for learner’s permits and road tests for provisional driver’s licenses. By eliminating this duplicative step and allowing driver’s education teachers to perform these functions, hundreds of thousands of trips to local DMV offices can be avoided each year.

“Our driver’s education teachers already know these students,” said Stone. “Teachers administer tests to students as part of their current duties. It makes perfect sense that teachers be able to eliminate a step in the process so that a trip to the DMV office can be avoided completely.”

The fees that are paid to DMV associated with the permits and licenses could instead be paid to the schools or directly to the teachers.

“Currently a DMV official observes a student driving for just a few minutes. This is not a good assessment of whether a new driver is ready to drive unsupervised,” Stone said. “A teacher who has driven with the student for several weeks is best prepared to evaluate that person’s driving skills and attest to whether they should be granted a license.”

Stone also reiterated a request from a September 5, 2018 letter to Commissioner Jessup that the DMV add new locations in high growth, high populations areas, including south Charlotte.

“Given significant growth in the Charlotte region and elsewhere, which often includes many citizens new to our state, it is long overdue for the DMV to add a new location in south Charlotte.”

Additional Benefits & Elements of Driver’s Ed Change:

– Students will not be forced to miss classes to visit the DMV office for their tests and paperwork.

– A teacher in a classroom can more easily verify the identity and home address of the new driver since he or she is already enrolled in the school as a student. This provides additional security and efficiency to the driver verification process.

– Teachers who are given this authority can be granted access to the state DMV system in a similar manner currently given to private inspection stations. Given current technology, it should be relatively easy for the teacher to be able to take the digital photo. Once a student passes the exam, the teacher can log it into the system and the document is automatically printed and mailed to the student’s home.

Some driver’s education programs are provided by private companies, but it is not unprecedented to allow private entities to interface with the DMV process. Private inspection facilities provide real-time information to the DMV as part of registration renewal process.

Background Data

During the 2017 – 18 budget year, the DMV issued the following documents:

Limited Learner Permit          98,270

Limited Provisional License  73,711

Full provisional license          54,629

                                                   226,610

The General Assembly appropriated in the 2018 budget $27,393,768 for Driver’s Education. Department of Public Instruction is tasked with distributing these funds to the LEAs.

Some LEAs charge a small fee to students for the course (for example – CMS charges $65). If at least a portion of DMV license and permit fees also supplemented the cost of Driver’s Education, there could be more funds available for our teachers.

 

 

Rep Stone Joins Legislative Leaders in Providing Hurricane Relief

Rep. Scott Stone joined other legislators yesterday approving $50 million for immediate disaster relief efforts, plus $6.5 million to pay school employees who are out of work, and more will be coming in the future. The initial relief funding will allow the state to apply for and accept federal funding. In addition, the General Assembly approved measures which would waive the requirements for schools to make up missed days due to Hurricane Florence. Teachers will not be penalized for the days which were cancelled.

The $56 million appropriation, which is likely a small portion of what will ultimately be provided to victims of Hurricane Florence, will be taken from the Rainy Day Fund, which has a balance of more than $2 billion.

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.

32158532_589532644762310_1105757893203853312_n

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/