House roundup: Pension, guns, religion bills pass
Posted June 18, 2014
Updated April 25, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — House lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a handful of bills. The following are among the most notable:
Senate Bill 226: This measure repeals a 1935 firearms law that has applied only to Durham County.
Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, described the current law as "a very odd situation."
Under what amounts to a blue law, Durham County residents have 10 days from the purchase of a pistol, handgun or certain other types of weapons to register it with the clerk of Superior Court. The clerk does not digitize those records or make them available in any other format than paper files kept in filing cabinets.
No other county in the state has a similar registration requirement.
The repeal measure passed the House on a pair of voice votes. It has already passed the Senate. Because it applies to only one county, the governor does not have to sign it, so it will become law.
Senate Bill 719: Student organizations at public universities and community colleges would be able to oust leaders who don’t share the groups’ core beliefs under a bill that cleared the House.
"I would suggest that, in our society, political correctness has run amok," Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, told his colleagues.
In particular, the bill ensures that religious groups can demand that members share their faith in order to serve as leaders.
Opponents of the bill argued that lawmakers were blocking the UNC Board of Governors from setting policy for the system.
The measure passed 78-37. It must return to the Senate for final legislative approval.
House Bill 1195: This bill addresses "pension spiking," the practice of pumping up a public official's salary at the end of his or her career in order to earn a bigger retirement payment from the state pension plan.
A public official's pension is based on a calculation that involves an average of the final years in public service. They can increase or "spike" their monthly pension payments by increasing their salary in the years leading up to retirement. The practice is costly to the state because the worker in question will not have paid enough money into the retirement system over his career to offset the increased costs.
This bill doesn't outlaw the practice, but it requires that either the individual or their public employer reimburse the state retirement system for the increased cost.
The measure, which passed 115-0, will now be reviewed by the Senate.