Last week at the North Carolina General Assembly we handled well over 100 bills in the House and Senate, we overrode the Governor’s veto of the state budget, and we passed several bills of local interest.
Last Monday, June 11th, we reported for a night session at 7:00 p.m. While many weeks there are no votes on bills on Monday, we started right out with 15 bills in this session. It was a sign of the week to come. We were kept busy all week until Friday afternoon with committee meetings and midnight voting sessions. Mostly “Public” bills were being voted and passed back and forth between the House and Senate. Public bills are those effecting the entire state. In the coming weeks we expect to handle more local bills and constitutional amendments, which are not subject to the Governor’s veto.
On Tuesday, we voted to override the Governor’s veto of our state budget, Senate Bill 99 – Appropriations Act of 2018. The Senate had voted to override it the previous Thursday. Our vote was 73 – 44 to override, in excess of the required three fifths. It became law immediately.
Several public bills of local interest were passed and sent to the Governor. One of them, Senate Bill 711 – NC Farm Act of 2018, impacts our rural areas in Brunswick County and surrounding counties. It has many provisions, but one in particular got the most attention. It puts conditions on the ability to sue for nuisances surrounding farms. It was amended many times, and I believe it is as fair as possible to farmers and the neighbors of farmers. It does not prevent neighbors of farmers to sue for a legitimate nuisance. This provision has been misrepresented by groups on all sides of the issue. It passed on primarily a party line vote of 67 – 47 on Wednesday and 65 – 42 on Thursday. It was then sent to the Governor for his action.
Another bill that impacts our area is House Bill 512 – Monitor Implementation of TBI Waiver. However, this bill was used to include other health-related provisions, one of which was included at the request of Dosher Memorial Hospital. The added provision allows Dosher to operate their business on the same basis as other hospitals. Prior to this they had been treated differently. We originally thought this could be a local bill, but our NC Constitution requires health issues to be in public bills.
This week should be devoted to local bills, constitutional amendments, and possible veto overrides. Two local bills that have passed the House unanimously should be passed by the Senate shortly. House Bill 1027 – Bald Head Island/No Wake Zone and House Bill 1028 – Oak Island Charter Amendment are priorities this week. We may well be able to adjourn this session by June 30th.