Raleigh, N.C. — The Senate gave key approval Thursday to a legislative compromise on House Bill 74, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2013, which knits together several different regulatory reform bills lawmakers have seen this session.
The most sweeping section of the bill creates a plan for getting rid of unneeded administrative rules. Agencies would designated their rules as unneeded, needed but not controversial and needed but controversial. They would then be winnowed based on those designations.
Yet, senators got hung up on a section that would allow college students facing disciplinary hearings to be represented by an attorney.
Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Madison, and Sen, Malcolm Graham, D-Mecklenburg, both work in higher education and said turning such hearings into legal proceedings would be a mistake.
"This is an educational process. It's actually an alternative to going to law enforcement," Hise said.
Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, said the new rule only ensures a student's rights are protected.
Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, also expressed reservations about a provision that would make the deputy commissioner of the state Industrial Commission an at-will employee, meaning he or she could be fired without the due process required for other state employees.
Bryant called working for the Industrial Commission, which handles workers compensation disputes and tort claims against the state, "extremely political," and making the deputy commissioner an at-will employee would only aggravate the situation.
The Senate voted 27-19 in favor of a version of the bill negotiated between the House and Senate. A final vote is expected Friday, and the House also must approve the measure.
The latest version stripped out a provision that would have prevented the state from keeping a copy of the list of specific chemicals used by natural gas drilling companies.