Last week the North Carolina General Assembly became extremely busy with committees hearing dozens of bills, voting them onto the House and Senate floors and members voting them out to the other chamber. It is called “Crossover,” and the deadline is this Thursday, May 4th.
The House passed over 50 bills, several with widespread reforms and others of particular interest to the coast. House Bill 98 – Medical Freedom Act prevents state and local governments in our state from discriminating against persons due to not providing proof of Covid vaccination. I was a co-sponsor of this bill, and it passed on a mostly party line vote of 73 – 41 with 3 Democrats joining all Republicans to pass it and send it to the Senate.
Most of our bills passed unanimously. House Bill 370 – Responsible Firefighting Foam Management Act prevents the use of foam containing PFAS chemicals in training and testing by firefighters. It was filed by our neighbor in New Hanover, Rep. Davis, and passed 114 – 0. House Bill 463 – NC Farmland and Military Protection Act prevents purchase of farmland or land near military bases by buyers from foreign countries considered adversarial. I was a co-sponsor and it passed 114 – 0. House Bill 409 – Regulation of Accessory Dwelling Units addresses the affordable housing issue. It passed 106 – 7. These bills were sent to the Senate.
A House resolution was adopted supporting recognition of the Lumbee tribe by the federal government. House Resolution 499 – Support Lumbee Fairness Act urges Congress to pass the Lumbee Fairness Act, giving full recognition to the Lumbee tribe. It passed overwhelmingly and will be sent to our Congressional delegation.
I had filed a bill to allow the inspection of modified street-legal golf carts, known as low-speed vehicles, by a mobile inspection station, if the licensed inspector also has a fixed licensed location. House Bill 309 – Inspection of low-speed vehicles would help our residents on islands without an inspector to avoid the problem of an expensive pick-up and delivery each year to get their required inspection. (As we know, these vehicles can go 25 mph, but they cannot legally drive on roads with a limit over 35 mph.) It passed 114 – 0 and went to the Senate.
Three bills dealt with our wildlife here on the coast. House Bill 536 – Loggerhead Turtle/State Saltwater Reptile, which I filed, would adopt our sea turtle as the saltwater reptile for NC. House Bill 513 – Adopt Osprey as State Raptor, filed by Carteret County’s Rep. Cairns, would adopt the Osprey as the title says. Both bills passed 112 – 0 and went to the Senate. Rep. Miller sponsored House Bill 544 – Limited Shark Fishing Tournament Moratorium. It outlaws shark fishing tournaments from our shores or piers during tourist season from May 1st to October 31st. It includes all six Brunswick beaches as well as Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. This is particularly important to our citizens and visitors here. It passed 113 – 0 and went to the Senate.
This week will again be busy, the crossover deadline will be this Thursday, and we will then anticipate Senate bills to consider, including the state budget coming back over to us later in May