From the desk of Senator Joyce Waddell

School Safety and Early Childhood Proposals

Joyce Waddell

Charlotte, NC – At the rise of school shootings in the nation, school safety has been a top issue for legislators. Democrat Senators filed legislation to make students safer in schools. Senate Bill 737, Safer Schools, Healthier Kids Act raises the age from 18 to 21 to purchase assault-style rifles and prohibit the sale of bump stocks. The bill also enacts extreme risk protection orders which allow judges to temporarily confiscate guns from citizens who may be a physical threat to themselves or others. Senator Joyce Waddell is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Senator Waddell is also a primary co-sponsor of Senate Bill 726, Go Big for Early Childhood, which would increase funding for the North Carolina Prekindergarten (NC Pre-K) Program. Early childhood only takes up one percent of the state’s budget. Senate Bill 726 would increase access to NC Pre-K and Smart Start Services by doubling the funding over the next five years. Currently, more than 55 percent of four-year-olds do not have access to NC Pre-K. The legislation would serve 27,000 more children in the program and increase its annual capacity by more than 10,000 slots.

Smart Start has been cut out of every budget in the past ten years. Senate Bill 726 ensures that Smart Start would be able to improve the quality of early child care and education in the state, providing services such as health screenings, family support services, and early literacy programs to more than 500,000 children across the state.

“Children’s safety is a priority. As a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 737, we will be moving towards a positive direction by creating a safe learning environment for our students. I am also a proud co-sponsor of Senate Bill 726, Go Big for Early Childhood, which gives more children the resources they need to thrive in the communities and schools,” said Senator Joyce Waddell.