Paul Stam House Speaker Pro Tem 2014


 

After serving eight terms, Paul Stam stepped away from his role as a member of North Carolina House of Representatives, where he had eventually became the North Carolina House Republican leader as House Speaker Pro Tem. This was his website during his tenure as House Speaker Pro Tem.
Content is from the site's 2014 archived pages to be considered in its historical context.

Having stepped down as House Speaker Pro Tem at the end of 2015, Paul Stam's' current website is found at: http://paulstam.info/. Learn more about his thoughts on education, economic development, tax policy and many other issues

UPDATE from http://paulstam.info/

After serving eight terms, I stepped away from my role as a member of North Carolina House of Representatives. I was first elected in 1989 and again in 2003. I served as the House Republican Leader (2007-2010), the House Majority Leader (2011-2012), and the House Speaker Pro Tem (2013-2016).

As a FORMER member of the North Carolina General Assembly, I hope THIS WEBSITE can take you into the world of public policy.  You can make this your first-stop portal to the internet.  The Articles section will introduce you to some of my thoughts on education, economic development, tax policy and many other issues.

2011-2016 was a historic period for North Carolina. In 2011 Republican legislative majorities were elected an in 2013, for the first time in 144 years, an incoming Republican Governor met Republican majorities in the North Carolina House and Senate. We guided House Republicans through three historic session of legislative reforms that fulfilled our promises to the people.

We balanced the state budget while reforming our state tax code, lowering the income tax, moving us from 44th to 17th in national rankings of our tax climate.  We reduced sales tax rates resulting in $4 Billion Dollars of cumulative tax relief from 2011-2016.

Regulatory reform began in 2011 and has continued through 2017.  This helps to improve and stabilize our business environment and is a major factor in our improving employment picture.

In public education we funded efforts to help third graders know how to read before 4th grade. And in 2014, 2015 and 2016, we significantly raised the pay of public school teachers by a cumulative average of 15%. For 2017-2018, that has been raised by another 9%.

Republicans improved legislation on public charter schools.  We continued scholarships for parents of children with special needs.  We started and expanded opportunity scholarships for lower income parents who want to try private education.  These initiatives will help parents choose the best education for their child.

After 30 years of work on pro-life legislation, we were able to produce significant advances for the protection of the unborn and their mothers.  We ended tax funded abortions and sex selection abortion.  We authorized regulations to protect the health and safety of women at clinics. The Woman’s Right to Know Act with its 72 hour waiting period is reducing abortion rates by about 25%.

We continued to push for private property protections against eminent domain abuse.

 


2014

Paul B. "Skip" Stam, Jr. is a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state's 37th House district, including constituents in Wake County. An attorney from Apex, North Carolina, Stam was elected to his seventh term in the state House of Representatives in 2012.

 


 

Photo 2014

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON OCTOBER 13TH, 2014

Rep. Stam with the TeenPact students in April 2014 on the North Carolina General Assembly House of Representatives Chamber floor.

teenpactncga

 

 

Session” Update

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON AUGUST 28TH, 2014

Revised August 28, 2014

This was the first session in 144 years that a Republican Governor had a Republican majority in the General Assembly. We had a lot to accomplish before adjourning for the year.

Budget and Taxes:   For the fourth straight year we were able to balance the budget without raising tax rates. The state budget for 2013-2014 was $20.631 billion (SB 402). We were able to do the things we said we would with a $21.1 billion budget for 2014-15 (SB 744), an increase of 2.2% which is less than the increase in population plus inflation.

We have provided the largest overall teacher pay raise in nine years by giving public school educators an average 6.92%raise. This investment in education will move our state ahead of fourteen other states in national teacher pay rankings. North Carolina will be more competitive nationally.

Our budget maintains current funding for the state’s university system (while giving the university new flexibility), preserves teacher assistant positions, and allows superintendents broad flexibility in tailoring classroom spending to their districts’ needs.

Our budget retains current Medicaid eligibility, provides most state employees a $1,000 pay raise (plus benefits) and five bankable vacation days. It increases pay by five or six percent for those Highway Patrol Troopers eligible for step increases. With an environment that fosters economic growth, we have been able to provide compensation that, not too long ago, would have only come with a tax hike. There are no tax rate increases in the budget.

Curriculum:   (SB 812) establishes an Academic Standards Review Commission to make recommendations to the State Board of Education on changes to the English Language Arts and Mathematics standards. These standards currently incorporate Common Core standards in the Standard Course of Study. The State Board of Education will not enter into any agreement or contracts that cede control to any other government or agency.

New Educational Opportunities:   (SB 793), “Charter School Modifications,” allows automatic grade increases as charter schools grow as long as appropriate conditions are met. The law also allows for single-sex charter schools and subjects charter schools to the Open Meetings Law and Public Records Act.

Clarifying changes were made to the Special Education Scholarships for Children with Disabilities (HB 712) and Opportunity Scholarships (SB 744, Section 8.25). Changes made to the Special Education Scholarships made the program easier to understand. It clarified the types of services for which parents can be reimbursed, including educational technology.

Changes to Opportunity Scholarships included a section prohibiting participating nonpublic schools from discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. The budget adds $840,000 to the program (now totaling $10,840,000) and allows the State Education Assistance Authority to award scholarships for 2015 Spring Semester.

Higher Education:   The budget provided funding to allow both the Community College and University systems to participate in Yellow Ribbon Reserve, a federal matching program that helps reduce tuition costs for non-resident veterans. (SB 719), “Student Organizations/Rights & Recognition,” provides that a religious or political student organization at a community college or university may determine its own core functions. Once an organization is granted recognition, a community college or university may not deny the organization access to programs, funding, facilities, or other privileges.

Economic Development:   (HB 1031) will shift many economic development functions of the Department of Commerce to a partnership. This legislation takes an important step in our “Carolina Comeback” by allowing our economic development efforts to be more focused on customer service and efficiency, as well as job retention and creation. The NC Economic Development Partnership will perform duties that previously functioned under Commerce. The partnership’s role will be to help recruit new business and industry to the state.

Regulatory Reform:   (SB 734) makes changes to the laws relating to business regulation, State and local government regulation, and health and safety regulations. It provides further relief to the citizens of North Carolina through administrative reforms and updates to regulations and statutes. It protects our resources and those who use them.

Transportation:   The Department of Transportation saw various changes that affect its organization. As recommended by the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee and the Department of Transportation, a few of the changes in (HB 1025)and (HB 272) include: improving efficiency in safety inspections, decreasing traffic burden on DOT statisticians, creating the installation and violation of ramp meter traffic devices, addressing DWI interlock violation and the location of DMV hearings, improving the production of state drivers’ licenses, and bringing interrelated work with Dept. of Agriculture and DOT and additional partnership with private developers in state highway system operations.

Natural Gas and Energy:   The Energy Modernization Act allows for energy exploration. The law extends the deadline for the Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) to adopt rules for a regulatory program for the management of oil and gas. (SB 786)makes statutory changes to update the current regulations involving shale gas exploration, development, and production. It authorizes the issuance of permits for oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Alternatives to natural gas are coal and oil. Natural gas is much cleaner.

The law expands the requirements for notice to subsurface owners in regards to initiation of exploration, development, and production activities. It places presumptive liability on an oil and gas operator for any contamination of water supplies near a wellhead. It increases the amount of pre-drilling, drilling, and post-drilling water supply tests, all of which is required through an independent third party. These will be public records. Any actions that cause damage require compensation.

Environment:   The Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, (SB 729), creates a Commission to oversee the assessment, planning, and clean-up of all coal ash ponds across NC, with an emphasis on the high-risk ponds. High-risk ponds are to close by 2019 and all coal ash ponds are to close by 2029. This law will safeguard our state’s greatest natural resource, our water.

Agriculture:   The North Carolina Farm Act of 2014 (HB 366) makes agricultural and environmental changes. It designates the “Got to Be NC” marketing campaign as the official agricultural marketing campaign for the state. It maintains the confidentiality of investigations within agricultural and environmental operations while formalizing a complaint procedure with DENR. The new law clarifies local government’s ability to adopt ordinances related to the environment and agriculture.

Criminal Justice:   (HB 369) includes changes to the criminal laws. It increases the penalty for cell phone use and possession in prison. It punishes threats of retaliation and assault on a person in retaliation of the duties performed by any legislative, executive, or court officer. It allows forensic and chemical analyst to provide testimony in trials via videoconferencing to help increase our crime labs’ efficiency.

The Business Court:   (SB 853), “Business Court Modernization,” changes procedures for designating complex business cases. This successful court is where businesses may obtain a fair and expert hearing in cases against each other.

Integrity for our elections process:   Changes to election laws in (SB 403) include: clarifying length of party affiliation and filing, updating ballot requirements for primary and general election partisan and nonpartisan races, clarifying hours offered for early voting sites, reiterating the photo identification requirements needed when voting, transferring some responsibilities of the local board of elections to the State Ethics Commission, and establishing a new procedure for voters who move between the first and second primaries.

Health Services:   “Hope 4 Haley and Friends,” (HB 1220), creates a pilot program for the use of hemp extract for intractable epileptic disorders. We also increased health care options for those needing medical care at their own homes (HB 625). Insurance companies may not set fees for services when those services are not covered under the insurance plan (SB 477).

 

Stam’s Bills 2013-2014

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON AUGUST 11TH, 2014

At the end of every session I compile a list of bills that I sponsored (or that I managed) in order to see what happened.  Many times a bill that is blocked in one way progresses or becomes law in another measure.  That is part of the legislative process.  If you have questions about any of these bills or laws, please let me know.  There are electronic links to most of them.  The General Assembly website, www.ncleg.net, has a tab for related documents which includes committee summaries, with more appropriate use of the English language, and for some, fiscal memoranda that explain the cost.

We are almost at the end of this 2013-2014 session.  It is possible that when we come back at the end of this week there may be two or three other bills to be voted on.  Please see the attached document below for the list of bills I sponsored.

 


POSTS on ISSUES

North Carolina House Votes to Preserve the Child Fatality Task Force

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON JULY 29TH, 2014

Raleigh, NC – The North Carolina House of Representatives voted 87 to 4 on Friday to remove language from House Bill 1133, “Technical and Other Corrections,” which would have eliminated North Carolina’s Child Fatality Task Force (CFTF). CFTF’s members consist of legislators, doctors, and representatives from commissions and advocacy groups from across the state. Representative Grier Martin (D-Wake), who offered the amendment to preserve CFTF, said, “The Child Fatality Task Force has long enjoyed bipartisan support for its important work. I was pleased to join Representative Stam today in a bipartisan effort to allow this work to continue.”

Since being created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1991, CFTF has actively researched, developed, and advocated for important legislation affecting North Carolina’s children and youth. “We are thrilled that House members recognized the critical role that the Child Fatality Task Force plays in saving the lives of North Carolina’s children,” said Linda Saturno, Executive Director of NC Child. CFTF’s recent work has involved issues such as drunk driving, teen suicide, preterm birth, and the use of tanning beds by minors.

Representative Paul Stam (R-Wake), a member of the task force, commented that “CFTF’s dedicated individuals truly care about the children of North Carolina. This group has played a key role in substantially reducing North Carolina’s child mortality rate.”


 

Why Voters Should Support the Constitutional Amendment for Criminal Defendants to Waive Jury Trials

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON AUGUST 11TH, 2014 |

Raleigh, NC—During the 2013 Long Session the North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 399, “Criminal Defendant May Waive Jury Trial.” If approved on November 4, 2014 the legislation will amend the North Carolina Constitution to provide that an accused person may waive the right to a jury trial and be tried by a Superior Court judge (bench trial). It does not apply to capital cases.

Some say the legislation will take away defendants’ constitutional right to a trial by jury. This is not true. Defendants will still have the right to a trial by jury in Superior Court. However, they can choose to waive that right if they wish to have a bench trial. Defendants will have a choice.

The primary sponsor of the bill, Senator Pete Brunstetter (R-Forsyth), says “the amendment follows the well-established right of a defendant in federal court to choose to be tried by a judge, rather than a jury, and this has been upheld by the US Supreme Court.”

There are several benefits to giving defendants the right to waive a jury trial. Victims are more likely to receive a speedy resolution to their cases. District Attorneys will also have more tools to effectively manage their case loads, allowing for swifter resolution of the criminal justice process.

Only 1.84% of all Superior Court cases last year ended with a jury trial. If District Attorneys have the option of a bench trial and not a jury trial, they may not plea bargain or dismiss charges as often. District Attorneys understand that jury trials demand more time and money, which is why they try to avoid them by plea bargaining and dismissing cases. Bench trials would give District Attorneys a faster and much more economical means of trial (judge trial). Defendants who would otherwise plea bargain would have the opportunity to prove their innocence at a real trial before a judge.

Waiving constitutional rights is neither new nor unusual. Individuals who choose not to own a gun waive their right to bear arms. Individuals who choose not to practice a religion waive their right to freely exercise a religion. A property owner gives up the right to property when he conveys land by deed. When a homeowner allows the police to enter and search her home, the homeowner waives her 4th Amendment right to a search warrant. By testifying at his trial, a defendant waives his 5thAmendment right against self-incrimination.

Most rights are not absolute. Almost all rights may be waived by voluntary acts. However, an individual can never sell herself as a slave. This right is guaranteed by the 13th Amendment.

A person waiving the right to a trial by jury is no different from a person waiving any of the other constitutional rights that are waived every day. By voting for the constitutional amendment on November’s ballot you will make our criminal justice system more expeditious and just.

 


 

The 2014 Dispute over Lottery Advertising Raises Some Eyebrows

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON AUGUST 26TH, 2014

Raleigh, NC — During the budget development process, the House proposed to double the quantity of Lottery advertising (from 1% to 2% of revenue), but add the restrictions the House had passed 99-12 in the Honest Lottery Act (HB 156). The Senate Appropriations Committee met on June 12, 2014 to discuss lottery advertising. 

 


 

My Response to Outrageous Accusations Against Republicans

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON OCTOBER 19TH, 2014 |

October 17, 2014

Outrageous Op-Ed by UNC Professor

On October 16, 2014 Gene Nichol, who identifies himself as the “Boyd Tinsley distinguished professor at the UNC School of Law,” published in the News & Observer his latest blast at Republicans.  While he claims to “not speak for UNC” he is paid by UNC an annual salary of $212,900, not including retirement, health and other benefits.  His wife, Betty Glenn George, is also paid by UNC School of Medicine an annual salary of $407,410. His accusations against Republicans are so outrageous I cannot list them all.  His attack against Democrats is that they do not complain enough about Republicans.  Let us count the ways in which he is just wrong:

1. Charge:  “The General Assembly has brutally denied health care to one half million of our most vulnerable citizens.  Many will die as a result.”  Fact:  We spend $13 billion a year of federal and state money on Medicaid alone.  Last year we increased the Medicaid budget by $500M. Most of those referenced were eligible to qualify for the federal health exchange which is heavily subsidized.  Others do receive health care, just not through Medicaid.

2. Charge:  Republicans have “required women to undergo a coerced medically unnecessary sonogram”.  Fact:  Requirement for ultrasounds at abortion clinics was instituted by Governor Jim Hunt’s Division of Public Health in 1994 without controversy or publicity.  Ultrasound before abortion had become state of the art for safety reasons.  Even Planned Parenthood does it 100% of the time.  The 2011 “Women’s Right to Know” law gave women the OPPORTUNITY to see the ultrasound image of her child and have it explained to her. She was already paying for it.

3. Charge:  “It’s taken great chunks of our education budget, already among the worst in the nation.”  Fact:  At the university level North Carolina is 4th highest in the nation in state support  per student.  Since Professor Nichol is paid by UNC he really ought to appreciate that.  North Carolina ranks 8th in the nation in state support per student for K-12 education. Since Republicans have had a majority, education funding has increased by a nearly a billion dollars. That is what the General Assembly controls. It is at the local county level that we are toward the bottom.

4. Charge:  To subsidize unaccountable, discriminatory, often absurd sectarian schools.”  Fact:  He is talking about scholarships for parents of children with special needs and for low-income parents who enroll their children in private schools.  Rather than “great chunks,” it is less than 1/10 of 1% of our education budget.  These scholarships cost the taxpayer nothing. In fact, they save taxpayers approximately $5,000 per student. Gene Nichol cannot count.

5. Charge:  “It has launched a regime of environmental degradation.”  Fact:  Our air, water and soil are cleaner than they have ever been in the last 100 years.  The new Coal Ash law is the first and toughest in the nation. Absurd advertisements by the National Resources Defense Council state that taxpayers will clean up the Dan River spill.  But it is crystal clear that Duke Energy’s shareholders will pay for that cleanup.

6. Charge:  “It has raised the (tax) rates of low-income workers.”  Fact: That charge is really ironic.  Yes, the Democrats raised the tax rates on low-income families from 2003-2010. Senator Kay Hagan, budget chair, was leading the effort to raise the regressive sales tax rate.  It was Republicans in 2011 who reduced the sales tax by a penny ($1 billion a year of tax relief) that disproportionally benefited low-income families. Our 2013 tax reform further benefited low-income workers by reducing their income tax rate and calculating their taxes after considering personal exemptions.  In contrast the Democrats determined personal income taxes on low-income workers based on the first dollar earned.

7. Charge:  To finance tax cuts for the rich”.  Fact:  This apparently refers to Senator Hagan’s constant ads about the sales tax rates on jets and yachts.  North Carolina has capped the sales tax rate on airplanes since 1957 and on boats since 1967. Not one Democrat moved to change that rate in the tax reform of 2011 or 2013 nor did Senator Hagan ever attempt to raise that rate when she was in charge of the budget.

8. Charge:  By boldly attacking the right to vote.”  What is he talking about?  The end of straight ticket voting?  Shortening the days of early voting but maintaining the same number of hours so it would be more useful to people who work for a living? What eligible voter will be denied the right to vote?

I could go on and on but I have to work. Does he?

Sincerely,
Rep. Paul Stam
Speaker Pro Tem
North Carolina General Assembly

 


 

Dear Editor: A letter to the editor from Rep. Stam

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON OCTOBER 12TH, 2014

Friends,

Please take a moment a read my Letter to the Editor that I sent on Friday, October 10th. It is important to know the facts.

Letter to the Editor

October 10, 2014

Dear Editor:

Yesterday I received mail from the NC Democratic Party.  While the mailer was directed against Speaker Thom Tillis, every charge in it is really directed at the North Carolina General Assembly.  The Democratic Party is not very good at math.

1. They charge that Speaker Tillis cut $500 million in education.  In the year before Speaker Tillis led the House, the budget for K-12 education was $7.3 Billion.  This year the budget is $8.1 Billion.  Fifth graders can figure that this is an increase of $800 Million.  But Democrats say it is a $500 Million “cut”.  The Washington Post awarded this lie “two Pinocchios”.

 2. They charge “the wealthy got huge tax breaks” with two big pictures of a yacht and a helicopter.  This mirrors Senator Hagan’s charge about the tax rate for jets and yachts.  North Carolina has capped the sales tax paid on airplanes since 1957and on boats since 1967.  Speaker Tillis and the current General Assembly had nothing to do with it.  While Senator Hagan was in charge of the Senate Budget Committee for years, she never attempted to change the rate.  And this session not one single Democrat made any motion to change that rate.  WRAL gave this claim a “red light” award as part of its fact check research.

3. Democrats say “Thanks to Speaker Thom Tillis, last year Wake schools lost 528 teaching positions”.  The state budget funded 6,788 teachers last year and 6,977 teachers this year.  This represents an increase of 189 teachers for Wake County. Democrats apparently can’t tell the difference between addition or subtraction.

Sincerely,
Rep. Paul Stam
714 Hunter Street
Apex, NC
919-362-8873

 


 

A Closer Look at Pro-Life Legislation in N.C. and its Impact on Abortions

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON OCTOBER 2ND, 2014

Legislation has consequences. While there are many factors involved, it is difficult to say what action caused these results, but cumulatively this is what happened.

Reported abortions have seen approximately a 25% reduction since 2010. With legislation put in place in 2011 and 2013, I felt a closer look at this topic was important.

 


 

Setting the Record Straight on Privilege Taxes

POSTED BY PAUL STAM ON OCTOBER 30TH, 2014
October 29, 2014
 Leaders of Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay Varina:
Re: Privilege Taxes/Fiscal Impact

You may have read in Monday’s News and Observer the article entitled “Privilege Tax Repeal Could Cause Property-Tax Hike in Raleigh”.  The link is attached here.

The General Assembly took several measures in 2013/2014 that affect revenues for cities and towns.  For the towns in District 37, Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay Varina, the results are a positive increase in revenue for 2015-2016 as shown on the attached table  by the Fiscal Research Division.  The increase in revenue from tax reform (HB 998) which applied the local sales tax to several additional items and the change in taxation on Amazon more than offset the repeal of the privilege license tax.  For Apex (which has no privilege license tax) the net increase is $113,395.  For Holly Springs the net increase is $33,659 and for Fuquay Varina the net increase is $11,241.

The bulk of the revenue lost from the repeal of the privilege license tax is from Charlotte ($17 million) and Raleigh ($7 million) and similar towns.  Charlotte in particular was a major abuser of the system, attempting to tax businesses located in most of the other counties of North Carolina, other states in the nation, and even some in foreign nations.

The article tries to imply that “business taxes” were repealed by the General Assembly, therefore putting the burden on people who own homes.  This is nonsense.  Business owners still pay property tax, corporate income tax, franchise tax, the employer’s portion of Social Security on their employees, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and a host of miscellaneous fees. And their owners pay personal income tax on the dividends. If they are an LLC or sole proprietorship, they pay personal income tax on all the net income.

The “privilege tax” was repealed because it is an absurd and irrational way to collect money.  Good riddance.

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