Last week at the North Carolina General Assembly was the busiest week yet, due to the crossover deadline on Thursday. Crossover is the date that bills must be voted out of the House or Senate and sent to the other chamber if they do not involve budgeting or redistricting. They are otherwise not eligible to pass during this session. We handled over 90 bills in the House during the week that were then sent to the Senate. Some of the main topics were education, law enforcement, and women’s and children’s health.
One bill involved citizens’ rights when confronted by their homeowners’ association (HOA). House Bill 542 – Protect Homeowners’ Rights sets the minimum delinquent assessment before the HOA can begin foreclosure at $2500- or one-year’s dues, whichever is lower. I am one of the primary sponsors of this bill, along with members of both parties. It passed 117 – 0 and went to the Senate.
There were two charter school bills, House Bill 618 – Charter School Review Board and House Bill 219 – Charter School Omnibus, which remove some of the caps on charter schools and require more accountability. Both bills passed 75 – 42 with some Democrats joining all Republicans and were sent to the Senate.
House Bill 768 – LEO Return to Work from Retirement enables law enforcement officers to receive their retirement benefits and still return to active duty. It is a 4-year trial period. Rep. Miller is a primary sponsor of this bill, and I am one of the co-sponsors. It passed 118 – 0 and went to the Senate.
The most controversy and debate surrounded two health-related bills. House Bill 808 – Surgical Gender Trans./Minors prevents transgender surgery on minors under 18 years of age. It passed 74 – 44 and went to the Senate. Senate Bill 20 – Care for Women, Children and Families Act has been criticized as a 12-week abortion ban. What it really does is have provisions for safe abortion at 12, 20, and 24 weeks. It also contains the born-alive bill, which provides healthcare for infants that survive a failed abortion, as well as expanded parental leave, safe surrender of an unwanted infant, and millions of dollars for additional childcare. It passed 71 – 46. It then passed the Senate 29 – 20 on Thursday and was sent to the Governor.
We are expecting a much lighter week with more time spent back in our districts and attendance at conferences. This week I plan to attend the spring conference of the N.C. Beach, Inlet, and Waterway Association (NCBIWA), where I have been invited to be on a legislative panel along with other coastal House and Senate members. Many local leaders and environmental group leaders attend this organization to share ideas.