Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly was busy, both on the floors of the House and Senate and in committee rooms: we passed bills on school safety and elections; we moved the Build NC Bond Act through three committees; we passed local bills, including two for Brunswick County towns; and we saw the Governor veto the budget, which was overridden in the Senate immediately.
Monday we passed a school safety bill, House Bill 938 – Various School Safety Changes, defines School Resource Officers (SROs) and requires training for them, requires peer-to-peer support groups in grades six and higher, and sets up reporting requirements for other school safety measures. I was a cosponsor of this bill, and it passed 111 – 0 in the House.
Senate Bill 486 – The Elections Security and Transparency Act had passed the Senate and was in the House for a vote Monday. It requires criminal background checks for local election board employees who have access to the computer programs for election data. This does not include the poll workers. It also establishes the order of the judges on the ballot. As expected, it passed on a party line vote of 66 – 44 and was sent to the Governor.
The Build NC Bond Act, House Bill 1010 was in the House Transportation Committee Tuesday. It was approved and moved on to the House Appropriations Committee and House Finance Committee, where it was approved almost unanimously. It should be on the House floor this week for a vote. The bill allows borrowing against future transportation funds to speed up regional and division highway projects. This includes those approved by local transportation groups, The Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), which are made up of local officials. This should help projects in the rural and eastern NC areas.
Two local bills passed the House State and Local Government committee and came to the floor Thursday. House Bill 1027 – Bald Head Island/No Wake Zone allows the local public safety department to enforce the no wake zone in their town limits. House Bill 1028 – Oak Island Charter Amendment allows the Town Manager to reside outside the town limits and defines some of their duties. These were both requested by the towns.
Last Wednesday, the Governor vetoed the state budget. Without getting into the politics of it, this was not unexpected, but we were hoping he might let it become law without his signature. However, since it is a Senate Bill (SB 99), the Senate voted on Thursday to override his veto by a vote of 34 – 13. We expect to override it this Tuesday, and it will become law.
During the week we had various groups of visitors, many from back home in Brunswick County. One in particular, Brunswick County Association of Realtors brought a large group, and I was able to meet with them twice, at a Tuesday night reception and Wednesday in my office. It is always good to see these folks from back home interested in what we do in Raleigh.
Another very busy time is expected this week. We are reporting for Monday night votes and a full week of committees, floor votes and visitors.