House sends regulatory reform, other final bills of session to McCrory
Posted July 26, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The state House wound down the legislative session Friday, giving final approval to a handful of bills before leaving town for the year.
There were few surprises. The state Senate adjourned before 2 a.m. this morning, leaving only a handful of bills that the House could send to Gov. Pat McCrory.
Most notable were two bills upon which the House took no action. Gov. Pat McCrory had pursued legislation that would allow him to reorganize the Commerce Department into a public-private partnership. Both the House and Senate left for the year without taking final action on the bill. Although lawmakers seemed amenable to allow McCrory reorganize an agency, an attached provision dealing with hydraulic fracturing proved controversial.
Late Thursday night, Senators passed a bill that would strip state protections for small isolated wetlands, something its sponsors said would be a boon to economic development. But the House members declined to take up the measure, sending it instead to the Rules Committee. Environmental watchdogs say the bill would eliminate key protections that help control flooding and clean water headed to surface water supply.
Juvenile justice bill
House members took up one bill that had no hope of becoming law this year. Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, has been pushing a bill that would raise the age at which teenagers are treated as juvenile offenders rather than adults. Currently only those under age 16 are in the juvenile system. This bill would keep 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds in the juvenile system.
The Senate adjourned before the state House could vote on the bill. Still, Avila asked that it be heard.
"We need to move our juveniles to a system that works," Avila said. Teenagers, she said, don't belong in the adult court system. Studies, she said, show that juveniles in adult court are more likely to recommit their crimes.
But some fellow Republicans blasted the measure. Rep. Allen McNeill, R-Randolph, suggested that gang members would send the lawmakers "thank you notes" for raising the age. Gangs, he said, use young teens to commit crimes because they don't face the same penalties as adult offenders do.
The measure tentatively passed the House on a 61-37, but McNeill raised a procedural objection. The bill will be waiting for the House to return on May 14 for a vote that will send it to the Senate.
Other bills pass
Other bills headed to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk after action by the House Friday include:
- A package of regulatory reform measures, including changes to landfill regulations. The provisions tucked into the 68 pages of House Bill 74 would allow trash trucks to leak, allow landfills to be built at the edges of state gamelands and ease rules regarding how landfills must cover their trash and maintain systems that keep liquid coming from the landfill from leaching into nearby groundwater supplies.
- A package of "technical corrections" that adjust the state budget.
- A measure that will change how the courts discipline judges who commit ethics violations. Among the bill's provisions, the state Supreme Court will sit in judgment of its own members accuse of transgressions and the Judicial Standards Commission will have to keep more information about hearings on lower court judges secrete.