Raleigh, N.C. — After pulling 41 House bills off the calendar and sending them to limbo last Thursday, Senate leaders are now reversing themselves and taking them up.
Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca moved 11 bills onto Monday night's calendar and has put most of the remainder on the Senate's agenda for Tuesday.
When Apodaca, R-Henderson, moved the bills last week, he said he hoped it would serve as an "incentive" in the slow, difficult negotiations between the House and Senate on their differing plans for tax reform and the $20.6 billion state budget.
On Monday, he said restoring the bills to the calendar doesn't portend an imminent deal on either issue.
"I got some rest this weekend," he joked.
"We thought everybody was working this week, so we were planning to be here, might as well get them knocked out," said Apodaca. "So hopefully, we can come back and make a run to the finish line and not have a lot of things to handle. That’s the pure intent – get it narrowed down so we don’t have to stay here forever."
Asked whether the move could be taken as a sign of progress in negotiations, Apodaca replied, "I wouldn’t go that far at this point."
He said the Senate will take up its tax overhaul proposal Tuesday and Wednesday, sending it to the House before senators leave town for the holiday weekend.
"As far as I know on the budget, nothing’s moving yet," he said, "but we want the field clear so we can run forward."
The House has taken this week off, but House leaders say they still haven't reached a deal with the Senate on the tax overhaul. That bill is likely to go to a conference committee.
Apodaca also said an omnibus bill of changes to voting laws, including voter identification, will likely come out next week. "We don’t have it quite ready for prime time yet, but it’s getting there."