Raleigh, N.C. — UPDATED Tues. 8:00 P.M.: House leaders have canceled Wednesday morning's hearing on House Bill 562, saying "New provisions are anticipated in the coming days. As a result, the Speaker wants to give adequate time for consideration."
Just hours before, House leaders announced they would fast-track the controversial omnibus gun bill after a lengthy delay in committee.
House Speaker Tim Moore announced Tuesday afternoon that a new version of the bill would available to the public online by 9 p.m.
It was scheduled to "pass through" – that is, to be approved by – the House Rules Committee at a 9 a.m. meeting Wednesday and then to be added to the House's floor calendar for debate during Wednesday's 2 p.m. session.
The legislation passed two House committees last month but was re-referred to the House Appropriations Committee and then pulled from that panel's calendar last week by its sponsor, Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, R-Mecklenburg. Schaffer has not responded to questions about why it was pulled.
Tuesday's announcement came a day after a national gun-control group began running television ads statewide urging viewers to ask their lawmakers to oppose the bill.
Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake, questioned the need for speed on such a controversial topic. He asked Moore, R-Cleveland, to follow the regular calendaring process, which would put the bill before the House on Thursday, the day following its committee vote.
Minority Leader Larry Hall, D-Durham, seconded the request, saying the fast-track schedule doesn't give the public enough notice to read the new version and weigh in or to come to the committee meeting if they want to speak.
"Most of us have citizens we represent that are going to want to give us some feedback," Hall, D-Durham, said. "What we’re concerned is to make sure we have an opportunity to hear from them."
Moore said the swift movement of the bill doesn't violate any rules.
There's no word yet on when the bill will – again – be rescheduled.