A good description of last week in the N.C. General Assembly would be “fast-paced activity.” Committees were meeting constantly. On Tuesday, my schedule was full from 8:30 to 6:00 with eight hours of committees and a floor session. The 2:00 P.M. Elections Law Committee lasted four hours.
Previously, at Monday night’s floor session in the House, we passed House Bill 49 – Laura’s Law on a 118 to 0 vote. This legislation increases the penalties for a repeat DWI offender and is named after a young lady that was killed in Gaston County by just such a person. I was a co-sponsor of this bill. It was sent to the Senate where it was referred to a Judiciary Committee. It should be out soon for a final Senate vote.
House Bill 8 – No Cap on Charter Schools was back in the Education Committee on Tuesday morning. It contained about 30 new amendments to address some of the concerns expressed by the public and members the previous week at a public hearing. After almost two hours of discussion and other amendment votes, it passed the committee on a party line vote of 27 – 21 with all 27 Republicans voting for it.
House Bill 351 – Restore Confidence in Government was introduced and sent to the Elections Committee on Tuesday. This is the bill that contains a photo I.D. provision for voters. A public hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in the Elections Committee, of which I am a member. We heard from many individuals and representatives of different groups. A large group of people from the Cape Fear area and Brunswick County came up to Raleigh on a bus sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. It was great to have them there to support the bill. After two hours of public hearing, we had two hours of discussion among committee members. No votes were taken, so we will likely continue the committee discussion and vote this week.
House Bill 92 – Repeal Land Transfer Tax, which passed the House two weeks ago, is now out of the Senate Finance Committee and is on the Senate calendar for a floor vote on Monday night, the 21st.
Another important bill for the coast is Senate Bill 110 – Permit Terminal Groins, which would permit a local town or a beach community to install a groin at an inlet to hold the sand which is placed there and prevent erosion into the inlets. This legislation passed the Senate Monday with a vote of 41 – 6 and was introduced into the House on Wednesday. The bill was sent to the Committee on Environment. I hope to see it this week as a member of that committee.
Some of our local bills that have previously passed in the House are now in Senate committees. I am awaiting their notice to go over and present them before those committees. I’ll keep you posted.