Horn introduces bills on digital learning, meth precursors
Three of the four Union County delegates to the N.C. General Assembly were primary sponsors of legislation introduced this session.
Rep. Craig Horn R-68 is the primary sponsor of five bills, all of which came out of committees. House Bills 23, 44 and 45 address integrating more digital learning in public schools.
House Bill 23 directs the state board of education to establish digital learning standards for teachers and school administrators so they can teach students using digital media. By 2017-2018, the bill would require all a certain level of digital competency to get teacher certification.
House Bill 44 would begin the move from textbooks to digital copies of teaching materials, as recommended by the Legislative Research Commission Study Committee on Digital Learning Environments in Public Schools. Digital textbooks would make it easier to tailor content to students, easier to transfer from one student to another and might raise the academic performance for public school students. The move to digital would be performed by 2017 if the bill passes.
House Bill 45 would ensure all public schools have the infrastructure to connect to the internet in order to use learning materials online. There are still rural areas of the state that have limited access to the internet. This bill would appropriate $100,000 from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to perform an inventory of wireless access from all state schools.
The move to digital learning stands to provide customizable learning lesson plans for all students, Horn said.
"The whole goal of this process to move to a blended digital model is to broaden how students learn," Horn said. "It's like something Dr. Mary Ellis said. It's not about one size fits all. It's one size fits me."
Digital texts, video, lectures and games will give teachers more tools to engage their students, he said.
From his work on the House Select Subcommittee on Methamphetamine Abuse, Horn also sponsored House Bill 29 which would make it illegal for anyone convicted of possessing or manufacturing meth to buy or possess pseudoephedrine-containing medications.
Lastly, Horn also sponsored House Bill 18 which came from the Child Fatality Task Force. It would raise the age minors can use a tanning bed from 14 to 18 years old.
Freshman Rep. Dean Arp R-69 is a primary sponsor of House Bill 19, titled Respect for Fallen Heroes. The bill would toughen the laws that makes disorderly conduct at a funeral or processional route illegal. Fighting, yelling, chanting, seizing buildings, uttering abusive language or any other conduct that interrupts a funeral or memorial service within two hours before or after the event is held would be punishable by a misdemeanor for the first offense, a class I felony for the second offense and a class H felony for each following offense.
The bill is similar to a U.S. Supreme Court case that involved the Westboro Baptist Church. Its members demonstrated at the funeral of a soldier. The soldier's father sued the church, but the Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that demonstrations were within the church's First Amendment rights.
Sen. Tommy Tucker R-35 was a primary sponsor of a bill to have charter schools considered a government unit in terms of leasing or buying property from a government or another charter school.
Tucker in the Senate and Horn, and Rep. Mark Brody R-55 are secondary sponsors of a bill in both houses that would remove the state's requirement to run a partnership health benefit exchange, keep the state's authority to decide Medicaid eligibility requirements and reject the optional Medicaid expansion created by the Affordable Care Act.
The bill will likely be heard in the Senate Monday.