Legislative Update: July 2015

State House

Senate Budget Released – Heat rises in Raleigh with protracted negotiations expected

The N.C. Senate recently released its biennial budget and the 508-page document is dramatically different from that of the House.  The Senate and Gov. McCrory’s plans call for a 2 percent increase in state spending — in contrast to a 5 percent increase in the two-year House plan. The Senate proposal included major policy shifts including Medicaid reform, tax changes and economic development programs.

While the General Assembly passed, and Gov. McCrory signed, a continuing resolution to keep state government running through the fiscal year, no progress has been made in negotiations.  We remain hopeful negotiations will begin in earnest when the legislature returns to Raleigh on July 13.

Impact on UNC Charlotte and the UNC system: a mixed bag
The University is very pleased that Gov. McCrory and both the House and Senate have fully funded enrollment growth in their proposals.  As the fastest-growing campus in the UNC system, the estimated $18 million UNC Charlotte would receive is greatly needed.  We applaud the Senate for including $150 million for repair and renovations within the UNC system.  UNC Charlotte’s unmet need is nearly $120 million. Receiving only $18 million for repairs and renovations in the past 10 years, we have mounting need to maintain aging facilities.

Thanks also to the Senate for eliminating a line item cut to fundraising programs as proposed in the governor’s budget.  This would be a particularly difficult blow to UNC Charlotte’s growing fundraising momentum. The Senate also eliminated a $13 million shift from the UNC system to community colleges for the Guaranteed Admission Program.

We were disappointed that the Senate did not include across-the-board pay increases for state employees since raises have been sparse during the past eight years. We look forward to working with the General Assembly and governor as budget negotiations heat up. 

Science building at UNC Charlotte still in play.

While the Senate did not include any capital in its budget proposal, Senate leaders have signaled support for a bond that could include funding for the UNC Board of Governors’ $1.5 billion package, including the UNC Charlotte science building. Rep. Dean Arp (’99), co-chair of the House Appropriations Capital Subcommittee, authored the House’s proposal to fund the science building and ASU’s and NC State’s projects with two-thirds bonds.

We applaud Gov. McCrory for beginning this critically important discussion to address the state’s infrastructure needs with his launch of NC Connect, which was announced in April at UNC Charlotte.

We look forward to working with the governor and the General Assembly as they negotiate a capital program that addresses the needs of our growing state.

Cyber Security SymposiumU.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) visits campus and headlines upcoming Cyber Security Symposium 

As chairman of the influential Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Burr has a unique perspective to understand the importance of UNC Charlotte’s cybersecurity research and program. During a recent visit to campus, Burr met with faculty and students in the cybersecurity program. Burr then sent the committee’s deputy chief of staff to campus to explore research opportunities with intelligence agencies.  Relatedly, we’re very proud to announce that Sen. Burr will headline the 16th annual Cyber Security Symposium in October at UNC Charlotte.

Andrew MurrayUNC Charlotte Alumni in Public Office Recognized, Promoted:

Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray (’89) has been elected president of the NC Conference of District Attorneys’ executive committee.  In his role, Murray will lead the statewide group of 44 elected district attorneys. A frequent face at UNC Charlotte events, Murray credits his success as a nontraditional student that launched his successful legal and public service career.


Police Chief Kerr PutneyPutney (’92) named Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief

We salute Kerr Putney (’92) serving as chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, North Carolina’s largest municipal law enforcement agency. A graduate of the respected criminal justice program in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Putney was chosen to lead CMPD at a critical time in its history. See the full story here