RALEIGH — Stanly County has a new team in Raleigh for the General Assembly’s long session, and the county’s delegation is sponsoring several significant pieces of legislation.
As of press time, Sen. Carl Ford (R-Rowan) had sponsored six bills. Rep. Ken Goodman (D-Stanly) is one of the lead sponsors of a bipartisan bill to reform the state’s eminent domain laws and put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2020. Goodman is also a co-sponsor of a Democratic bill to expand Medicaid. Freshman Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-Stanly) is co-sponsor of 13 bills ranging from school calendar changes to making ice cream the official state frozen treat.
Newly-installed Sen. Carl Ford is co-sponsor for several major pieces of legislation being closely watched in Raleigh. Senate Bill 27 mirrors House Bill 3 — co-sponsored by Goodman in the House — to require that private property be taken by eminent domain only for a public use.
Ford is also supporting a bill allowing community colleges and local school systems to access the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund to fund improvements. The bill — Senate Bill 5 — is sponsored or co-sponsored by most of the GOP leadership in the Senate, including Majority Leader Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and his budget committee co-chairs Sens. Harrington (R-Gaston) and Jackson (R-Sampson) along with Senate Rules Committee Chairman Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick).
On the education front, Sasser is supporting several local measures that would provide calendar flexibility for public school systems around the state. Sasser is listed as a co-sponsor on several bills that would allow specific county school boards to set start and ends dates for K-12 schools. The bills eliminate statutory language that mandated schools to start no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26 and the closing date to be no later than the Friday closest to June 11.
“Ken Goodman and I have a bill that will add Stanly County Schools to the school calendar flexibility bill,” Sasser told Stanly County Journal. “It passed the House last year and died in the Senate.”
Sasser is also a co-sponsor of a bill that would roll back state law allowing the Board of Elections to use schools as polling places. Instead, the bill would require the local boards of election to submit a request to the local school board for permission, which could be withheld. He is also the co-sponsor of a bill that would extend the civil statute of limitations for victims of child abuse. Under the bill supported by Sasser, minor victims of sexual abuse would have until the age of 45 to commence a civil action against their abuser.
Sasser says he has plans to sponsor several more bills in the early stages of the legislative session. One bill will be to allow the Albemarle City Council to present a quarter-cent sales tax for the purpose of paving roads within the city limits of Albemarle. “That is going through a stakeholder process before the bill will be filed,” said Sasser.
Another bill on Sasser’s desk would allow Albemarle to complete more projects using city workers and staff. “Right now, the law requires projects exceeding $500,000 to be put out for bid,” said Sasser. Under his bill, the city would be allowed to use its own workers instead of private contractors for larger projects.
As for the ice cream bill, Sasser voiced his reasoning simply, saying, “I love ice cream.”