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Student privacy, business bills move through GA

Staff report

Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 1031, co-sponsored by Lincoln County Republican Rep. Jason Saine, into law Tuesday afternoon.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the bill will create a nonprofit corporation to assist the Department of Commerce in fostering and retaining jobs and business development, international trade, marketing, travel and tourism. The initiative has been a top priority for both McCrory and North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker since entering office.
“This legislation allows us to put a new economic development approach in place that helps to create jobs by putting greater emphasis on customer service, all while saving taxpayer money,” McCrory said in the press release. “With this new approach, our business recruiters will be able to respond to companies faster. We’ll be able to help existing companies grow and recruit new companies that are considering locating in North Carolina.”
Decker, along with bill sponsors, legislators and members of the governor’s Economic Development Board, joined McCrory Tuesday in the Old House Chamber of the State Capitol for the signing.
“I was honored to be invited to the bill signing by Governor McCrory and Secretary Decker,” Saine said in an email.
“This legislation is crucial to refocusing our economic development efforts across the state. In conjunction with the successes we are already seeing in our state in reducing unemployment, reducing taxes, passing tax reform and getting our citizens back to work, expanding our abilities to recruit new business and to expand existing businesses are critical. I am happy to partner with Governor McCrory and Secretary Decker in moving forward.”
Action was also taken during the House of Representatives session this week. On Tuesday, legislators voted to unanimously to pass Senate Bill 815, a bill that would ensure the privacy and security of student educational records.
Saine said the bill originated in the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology, which he co-chairs. Lincoln County Sen. David Curtis (R-44) co-sponsored the bill in the senate.
Sponsored by Sen. Chad Barefoot, the bill would increase the transparency of student privacy concerns by requiring notification of parental rights and opt-out opportunities regarding student records and participation in certain surveys. The bill now heads to McCrory to await his signature.
“As we continue to move forward with the use of advancing technologies, it is extremely important that student data is safeguarded with the upmost care and that parents know their rights,” Barefoot said in a press release. “This bill will do exactly that and establish North Carolina as a leader in protecting student data.”
The bill would require the State Board of Education to make publically available information regarding the student data system, known as PowerSchool, as well as create safeguards to ensure the privacy and security of personally identifiable data in the student data system. The bill would also restrict the collection of biometric information, political affiliation, religion and voting history from being collected into the data system.
“Students and their parents deserve to know that our North Carolina classrooms are safe places where they can focus on learning and not worry about their personal data being sold to commercial vendors,” Barefoot said.

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