Many interesting bills were in committees and on the House floor last week. Many bills of local and state-wide interest are still in committee, including the photo I.D. bill, the charter school bill, and the terminal groin bill. The Joint Appropriations Sub-committees are still meeting every morning on the budget, and the Appropriations Chairs are meeting every afternoon.
Senate Bill 8 – No Cap on Charter Schools, after passing the Education Committee, has been sent to the House Finance Committee. It may or may not be on the floor this week.
House Bill 351 – Restore Confidence in Government was discussed for a second week in the Elections Committee. This is the photo I.D. bill. After a full discussion, we should be ready to vote this bill out of committee his week. I anticipate some amendments, including one which I will co-sponsor that will require a copy of a photo I.D. to be sent in with a mail-in absentee ballot. This bill will make it easier to obtain an absentee ballot, but should still require the photo I.D. copy. As currently written, it would require a copy of a utility bill or the photo I.D. copy.
Senate Bill 110 – Permit Terminal Groins is still in the Environment Committee. We don’t know if this bill will be considered this week, but we can certainly hope.
House Bill 92 – Repeal Land Transfer Tax passed the Senate on Monday by a vote of 40 – 8, and was sent to the Governor on Wednesday. We hope she will sign it, as it had already passed the House 78 – 38.
House Bill 215 – Unborn Victims of Violence Act / Ethan’s Law passed the House on Thursday by a vote of 74 – 35, and will be in the Senate this week. This law makes it an equal crime to kill or assault an unborn child if the pregnant woman is killed or assaulted. It is believed that it will be the first time that North Carolina law recognizes that an unborn child is a person at conception. Many amendments were offered to water it down, but were defeated. We hope the Senate passes it and the Governor signs it, as it passed with a bipartisan vote.
Two tax reform bills have been filed to relieve some of the tax burden on North Carolina citizens: House Bill 399 – Cap Motor Fuel Excise Tax Rate will stop the automatic two cents per gallon tax that would be imposed this year if this bill doesn’t become law. House Bill 473 – Equal Tax Treatment of Gov’t Retiree Benefits will eliminate the state income tax on federal and state retirees’ benefits, including military retirees. I am a co-sponsor of HB – 399 and a primary sponsor of HB – 473.
Many important bills are coming to the House and Senate. Things will become even more exciting. Stay tuned…