May 1, 2015
Legislative Update: Rushing to
meet the 'crossover' deadline
By SANDY SEMANS
are taking a four-day weekend after a crazy week of pushing legislation
forward to meet the April 30 deadline for completing work on bills in
one chamber so that they could be forwarded to the other.
the more than 1,600 bills filed this session, fewer than one-third have
moved from one chamber to the other and, if the past is a good
indicator, many of those will never be sent on to the governor for
signing. Thus far in this session, just 11 pieces of proposed
legislation have reached the governor's desk.
But bills that
didn't meet the deadline aren't necessarily dead. Proposed legislation
containing appropriations or fees are exempt from crossover rules and
as the deadline neared, several bills were amended to add finance
issues so that they remain alive for further tinkering before sending
One such bill is House Bill 562,
titled "Second Amendment Affirmation Act." If passed, the proposed
legislation would loosen restrictions on carrying concealed weapons by
mandating that businesses wishing to bar weapons from their
establishments would have to post prominent signs stating such. One
particular provision has drawn the ire of the medical community. That
provision would make it illegal for a doctor or psychiatrist to ask if
patients possess firearms. And it would further prohibit them from
notifying law enforcement that a patient who shows signs of possibly
hurting themselves or others has access to weapons. To keep the bill
viable for further consideration, a $20,000 appropriation was added to
it this week to exempt it from the crossover deadline.
HB 346, sponsored by Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Edenton, and HB 591,
sponsored by Rep. Paul Tine, U-Dare, both cleared the House chamber
this week and are now in the Senate. Both bills aim to give local
governments authority to regulate structures that restrict access to
public trust beaches. Language in the bills differ but both would
particularly help in situations where condemned buildings are on the
publicly-owned beach. HB 346 pertains to county government. HB 591, if
signed into law, gives authority to cities.
Senate Bill 524
passed the Senate and is now in the House. The proposed legislation, if
passed into law, would expand the required teaching of Founding
Principals to include: Constitutional limitations on government power
to tax and spend and prompt payment of public debt; money with
intrinsic value; strong defense and supremacy of civil authority over
military; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations,
entangling alliances with none; eternal vigilance by "We the People."
Founding Principals is currently taught as part of American History but
the latter has been struck from the statute as being required. Sen.
Bill Cook voted for the bill.
has passed the Senate and is now in the House. The bill, if it becomes
law, would instruct the Board of Transportation to issue a Request for
Information for the privatization of the North Carolina Ferry System.
The board would forward its findings to the Joint Legislative
Transportation Oversight Committee and the Fiscal Research Division no
later than Feb. 1, 2016. Sen. Bill Cook voted against the bill.
has moved to the House. The proposed legislation restricts local
government authority to dictate design and aesthetics of
HB 248 seeks
to eliminate end-of-year testing in schools. The bill states that the
State Board of Education shall eliminate the use of the N.C. Final Exam
and the analysis of student work process to assess teachers'
performance in relation to Standard 6 of the North Carolina Teacher
a blank bill filed early in the session by Sen. Bill Cook, had language
added in last week that would add Dare County to the list of counties
that must approve any other county's efforts to purchase property
within Dare County. It passed the Senate and is now in the House.
contains an assortment of issues, ranging from eliminating pre-audit
certifications for government payrolls to changing the manner in which
absentee votes are reported. The bill also includes new technology to
use for paper ballots. Rep. Paul Tine voted for the measures.
Semans is a retired newspaper editor and reporter who now works as a
free-lance writer. She lives in Stumpy Point. Her update on the
goings-on in this session of the General Assembly will appear weekly in
The Island Free Press, usually on Friday.)
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED 2015 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
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Legislative Update: And they are off -- sort of
Legislative Update: The gold rush in Raleigh is underway
Legislative Update Most Bills Moving At Snails Pace But One Achieves Warp Speed
Legislative Update: Humor unleashed in the General Assembly
Legislative Update: Lawmakers made hay while the sun was shining
Legislative Update: Bill on dredging causes local turmoil
Legislative Update: 156 new bills filed this week
Legislative Update: Lawmakers keeping busy in Raleigh
Legislative Update: It was raining bills all week
Legislative Update: Occupancy tax provision is out of dredging bill
Legislative Update: Lawmakers take aim at N.C. Constitution
Legislative Update: More taxes and Constitutional amendments proposed
Legislative Update: Lawmakers racing the clock to get bills moved