Bill aims to restore retiree medical benefits for new NC teachers

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — This week, North Carolina representative Julie von Haefen introduced a bill that she’s all too familiar with. 

“Well, actually, this is a bill that I introduced last session in 2019. We tried to get it to stop before it went into effect,” she said. 

The bill? House Bill 147. 

“Our state has already put so many burdens on teachers in the last decade or so,” von Haefen said. 

The proposal would rescind the elimination of retiree medical benefits for new North Carolina teachers who started on or after Jan. 1, 2021. 

According to the Associated Press, the change, which also includes state employees, was included in the 2017 state budget law. They report Republicans who backed it said it was needed to rein in future anticipated costs which were calculated in the tens of billions of dollars.  

“What that signaled to me and other veteran teachers and educators is that the General Assembly doesn’t plan on sustaining the teacher workforce,” said Kristin Beller. 

Beller is president of the Wake County chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators.  She said that teacher recruitment starts early. 

“When we think about teacher pipeline, we have to think long term. We actually want high schoolers to see teaching as a profession that is worth dedicating their college term to,” Beller explained. 

Rep. von Haefen said the bill has been referred to the rules committee in the house. 

“We already know that their salaries are low so we have to be able to compete with these large corporations,” said von Haefen. 

Click here to view the text of House Bill 147

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