The North Carolina House of Representatives was busy last week. We honored a beloved deceased former member of the House, we passed a major regulatory reform bill, and we had a special House page helping us for the week.
While the full Appropriations Committee chairs and top leaders from the House and Senate put the finishing touches on the 2017 – 2019 state budget, both chambers got busy on the bills that remain to be handled. We were assured that we were close to having a final budget on which to vote this week.
Committees got busy passing bills and sending them to the floor of each chamber. However, we paused on Wednesday to honor a past member of the House with whom many of us had served. Representative Ruth Samuelson served in the House from 2007 to 2014. So I served about five years with her. Ruth retired to go into charity fundraising and then was taken by cancer at the young age of 57. She was a strong leader, a talented negotiator, and a friendly, Christian influence on her colleagues. One of her passions was abortion, and she led us on giving women more information before they choose to abort a baby. House Joint Resolution 765- Honor Ruth Samuelson, Former Member was read aloud. Many of the members who served with Ruth spoke to the resolution, praising her talent and demeanor. It was very emotional for us all.
Thursday, we took up Senate Bill 16 – Business and Agency Regulatory Reform Act of 2017. This bill has over 20 provisions, many of interest to us on the coast: making the rule-making process more open; studying the setting up of arbitration panels for disputes between local governments and developers, as well as disputes concerning property owner associations; storm water issues; pool electrical safety; pet kennel rules; alarm system sales rules; inspection of back-up lights during vehicle inspection procedures; and many others. The goal is to simplify the making of rules, as well as give citizens more access into the process.
I was very fortunate the week before Father’s Day to have my granddaughter as a page for the House. Elisabeth Iler, who actually lives in Mooresville in Iredell County, served with a large page class last week. They were able to see more debate and voting on the House floor than other recent groups. I encourage any high school students or parents to consider paging in the House or Senate next session. Applications for the 2018 session will be taken starting in January, and the procedures are on the legislature’s web site, www.ncleg.net . You may also read our bills and get other information on this site.