Opportunity Scholarship Funding Would Not Violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
May. 20, 2013
Parents and other proponents of education reform have long urged lawmakers to enact tax credits or other means of financial assistance for parents who send their children to nonpublic schools. This session, North Carolina lawmakers are considering House Bill 944 which would create Opportunity Scholarships to help empower parents to chose the school that will best meet the needs of their children. While HB944 is still in committee, opponents are claiming, rather inaccurately, that the scholarship program violates the First Amendment. Critics of such reforms, like the proposed opportunity scholarship program, condemn them as voucher programs; many maintain scholarship and tax credit programs violate the First Amendment because students often use the funds to attend religious schools. This paper is a brief rebuttal to those critics who argue that opportunity scholarships violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
To read this paper, click here.
NCICL Staff Attorney, Tyler Younts, wrote a letter to the editor concerning his recent white paper about nurse practitioners and the solution they offer to the growing healthcare problems.
Now, more than ever before, nurse practitioners (NPs), who are nurses with advanced degrees, play a key role in the delivery of affordable medical services. With increased demand for high quality and cost effective health care, NPs can be found in general practices, clinics, hospitals, and surgery teams.
This paper highlights the laws and administrative rules that regulate NPs and thereby restrict patient options. It then explains why these laws are bad for patients. Finally, this paper explores research showing that nurse practitioners provide safe, high quality, cost-effective medical care. It concludes that with rising healthcare costs and looming physician shortages, nurse practitioners should be empowered to practice independently, consistent with their education and training.
A recently introduced bill (House Bill 994) would preserve North Carolina’s film incentives tax credits but limit their use to the reduction of film companies’ tax liability and put an end to the refundability provision of the current law that results in the State making direct payments to film companies. Below is a brief legal analysis of House Bill 994’s effect on constitutional questions about North Carolina’s film incentives.
Recently introduced, Senate Bill 668 (SB 668) is a state constitutional amendment that proposes to take away the right to vote of any “person adjudicated incompetent by a court of this State or another state…unless an order is entered that the person is restored to competency.” SB 668, Section 1. However, SB 668 is probably unconstitutional in its current form. As explained below, this amendment likely violates individual due process and equal protection guarantees, in addition to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
During the past four years, as Democrats and Republicans battled over sales and income taxes, higher tuition at state universities and the loss of 4,350 teachers in public schools, a substantial amount of money slipped through the fingers of state leaders.
It didn’t disappear in one big sweep. The money stayed out of the state treasury, with little debate or notice, through scores of breaks in the state’s tax code. Some of the cash vanished in a string of new breaks granted by legislators, while still more evaporated because of loopholes approved years ago that continued to grow.