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Big bills on hold: Where are they now?

Posted June 21, 2013
Updated June 24, 2013

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— The budget and tax reform bills aren't the only high-profile bills still in limbo as the 2013 legislative session draws to a close.

House Speaker Thom Tillis said Thursday he expects the session to adjourn by July 4. If that's the case, lawmakers will have just a week and a half to resolve the fate of some high-profile bills. 

A few of the ones we're watching for:

VOTER ID: House Bill 589, requiring government-issued photo identification for voters at the ballot box, passed the House April 24. The proposal drew fire from right-wing activists who say it isn't stringent enough. It was sent to the Senate Rules Committee and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

FRACKING: Senate Bill 76 would have set a start date of March 2015 for natural gas drilling to begin in North Carolina. The Senate bill removed many of the environmental and consumer protections in the current law. The House version put many of those protections back, including a requirement for a final legislative vote to approve the state's regulations before drilling, including a controversial method known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," can begin. Senate sponsors were unhappy with the House changes. It passed the House June 7, but the conference committee wasn't named until this week.

DIX DEAL REPEAL: Senate Bill 334 would void a lease agreement for the Dorothea Dix property signed by Raleigh and former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue. The House approved a more moderate version that allows for re-negotiation of the deal. The bill has been in conference since June 4. Conferees say they're getting close but don't yet have a deal.

IMMIGRATION REFORM: House Bill 786, titled "Reclaim NC," came out of lengthy negotiations between employers, law enforcement, anti-immigrant groups and immigrant advocates. It would allow driver's licenses for illegal immigrants but would also allow Arizona-style enforcement measures. After it was amended and softened in the House Judiciary B Committee, it was sent to the House Finance Committee on May 2 and has not surfaced since then.

REGULATORY REFORM: Senate Bill 612 would roll back a host of environmental regulations and would ban not just state but local officials from enacting any rules stricter than federal regulations. It passed the Senate May 2 and was sent to the House Regulatory Reform Committee, where it hasn't yet been heard. 

GUN OMNIBUS: House Bill 937, in its House version, would have allowed concealed weapons in bars, at sporting events and on college campuses. The Senate rewrite expanded the proposal dramatically, eliminating pistol permits, allowing guns on all school property and allowing hunting with silencers. The Senate passed its version June 13. It's been sent to the House Rules Committee, but no concurrence vote has been taken yet. 

JORDAN LAKE RULES: Senate Bill 515 would immediately repeal water-quality rules and upstream mitigation requirements for cities and landowners in the Jordan Lake basin. It won Senate approval May 15 and was sent to the House Environment Committee, where it has not yet been heard. 

BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS: Senate Bill 10 caused heated conflict between the chambers. The Senate version eliminated special Superior Court judges and fired virtually all members of the state's top oversight boards. The House version was substantially more moderate. After difficult negotiations, the House voted not to approve the compromise. Instead, House leaders filed House Bill 1011, "Son of Senate Bill 10," to resurrect the version preferred by the House. That bill passed the House May 9 and was sent to the Senate Rules Committee May 13. It has not yet resurfaced.

Any of these bills could surface at any time in the next two weeks – those currently sitting in Rules Committees are the most likely to pop up with little notice – and they would all be eligible for consideration when the session resumes in 2014.

However, Tillis will be on the May Republican primary ballot for U.S. Senate, where he may be joined by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. Other legislators will likely face primary challengers before they return next May, too. So, bills that appeal to the GOP base, like voter ID and gun rights, are very likely to resurface before lawmakers leave town.

38 Comments

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  • sisu Jun 24, 6:30 p.m.

    Tax Reform bill should be held off to next year's session. Something as big as this should not be rushed and needs more study.
    mistervegas
    June 24, 2013 5:25 p.m

    That's one of the best ideas I've heard in a long while!

  • mistervegas Jun 24, 5:25 p.m.

    Tax Reform bill should be held off to next year's session. Something as big as this should not be rushed and needs more study.

  • Singlemalt Jun 24, 5:11 p.m.

    Its a non issue to you because you don't grasp what will inevitably happen. Sooner or later some one is going to lose it and go out to their car and get their gun and start firing. Its happened in workplaces and it will happen at schools too.
    Click to view my profile Grand Union
    June 24, 2013 3:22 p.m.

    Anyone who would react as such would likely have a firearm at the ready anyway. Nice try. Even if it wasn't in the car, they could still return the next day with it, same thing and same result.

  • RadioDJ Jun 24, 3:57 p.m.

    Just like Intelligence and Common Sense in our legislature, these big bills are nowhere to be found.

  • scvmcdoc Jun 24, 3:39 p.m.

    And the Grand Onion finally sounds of to tell us all how it really is....Don't you really think that if someone is going to use a gun in a case of workplace violence they will do it if the gun is legally in the car or not??? You're going to have to come up with a better "inevitable" than that. Personally I think the chance is much greater that I might need to defend myself at a stop at Walmart or the ATM on my way home from work than me going out to my car, getting my gun and going back into my place of employment (educational facility) and opening fire....

  • Grand Union Jun 24, 3:31 p.m.

    "Jlp- The article says "on all school property." That is misleading and not true. The distinction between the classroom and the parking lot is important."

    yeah because we all know kids and teachers can't walk all the way from a classroom to a parking lot...........

  • Grand Union Jun 24, 3:24 p.m.

    "In response to sonicbluezx3: I am a bit sick of the implication that if a person is not ultra conservative they do not belong in NC. I was born in NC, and I have lived here the entire sixty years of my life, which means I was here long before the carpetbaggers in the legislature. In the last sixty years, I have watched NC rise from a backwards, poverty ridden shadow of a state to one of best places in the country to live, both economically and environmentally. High quality of life in NC is a direct result of an excellent education system and balancing growth with environmental concerns. While I love this state, I detest the right wing fools who seem bent on destroying everything accomplished in the last century simply because they lack the intelligence to see that their prejudices are being used by a cadre of power hungry special interests to further their own considerable wealth. rasengineers June 24, 2013 10:09 a.m."

    Well put.........

  • Grand Union Jun 24, 3:22 p.m.

    "OMG - people will be allowed to have guns on school property? The fact of the matter is, this is a non-issue."

    Its a non issue to you because you don't grasp what will inevitably happen. Sooner or later some one is going to lose it and go out to their car and get their gun and start firing. Its happened in workplaces and it will happen at schools too.

  • Grand Union Jun 24, 2:59 p.m.

    Is it possible the GOP are finally grasping that they are committing electoral suicide if they continue the way they are going?

  • The Deadhead Jun 24, 2:57 p.m.

    Jlp- The article says "on all school property." That is misleading and not true. The distinction between the classroom and the parking lot is important. You are right, the article doesn't say classrooms. That's why it needs to be pointed out. Note the use of the word "all." In any case, I am very happy about this proposed bill.

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