House, Senate disagree on August session

Posted August 6, 2014

The state House gave final legislative approval to the $21.1 billion state budget on Aug. 2, 2014, but instead of formally closing the session, lawmakers have left it in limbo.

— House leaders say they're planning to call their members back on Aug. 14 for a full session, but it's not clear yet what they'll be voting on.

Meanwhile, Senate leaders say they're not coming back in August at all. 

The legislature finished up its work over the weekend but did not agree to an adjournment resolution. Since then, the body has been in limbo.

According to the state constitution, the House and Senate have to convene every four days while they remain in session. So far this week, those meetings have been non-voting "skeleton" sessions attended by only a few members of each chamber, mostly members of local delegations.

But Rep. Skip Stam, R-Wake, sitting in for Speaker Thom Tillis at the House meeting Wednesday, said leaders are planning on "an actual session" on Aug. 14. 

"If there's anything that the House and Senate have agreed to, then we could take it up on the 14th," Stam said. "I want people to reserve that time that they may have to actually come." 

There's nothing on that list so far, he said. In fact, House and Senate leaders have not yet even resolved what the terms of the adjournment resolution should be.

"But there is discussion about it," he said.

Asked whether legislation on cleaning up coal ash ponds across the state could be on the agenda, Stam said, "I hope so," but added, "the work will go on regardless of whether there's a bill or not."

House leaders filed an adjournment resolution last Saturday that would have allowed members to take up unfinished work on coal ash, regulatory reform and insurance coverage for autism treatment at the Aug. 14 session. Senate leaders wanted the session to be limited to potential veto overrides.

Aug. 14 is 10 days after Gov. Pat McCrory received the budget, meaning that, as long as the legislature is in session, he would have to sign or veto the budget bill by then. However, McCrory announced last Friday that he would sign it.

"With Gov. McCrory’s decision to sign the budget, the Senate has concluded its business until the previously agreed to session on Medicaid reform in November," said Shelly Carver, spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.


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  • Matt Wood Aug 7, 2014
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    Not that I want to defend the current GA, but each member of the GA only gets paid about $15K annually (or something in that range). This means most of them still have day jobs or businesses to attend to in addition to their work at the capital. Yes, there's a lot that needs fixing, but any competent manager can tell you there's value in giving your employees breaks (and some companies even force their employees to take vacations), as many more mistakes are made if your workers are fatigued, which then causes more costs to fix the mistakes. This is why it's never good to criticize a leader for taking a break, no matter what position or party they're with. Of course, the vacation should be reasonable, and anything excessive is of course open to scrutiny.

  • iopsyc Aug 7, 2014

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    Right after the election would be a perfect time to pass unpopular or polarizing legislation.

  • hiddentreasurescruecds Aug 7, 2014

    The thing to be worried about is that the GA plans to reconvene in November after the elections to "finish up" the session. That could be very, very bad news for the people of NC.

  • raleighboy524 Aug 7, 2014

    Lazy, lazy, lazy. General Assembly and Congress. Taking a month off when the world is crumbling around us.

  • downtowner Aug 7, 2014

    That's all well and good. The less time they have to continue to screw up NC the better.