Two big bills landed with a muffled thump today, lost in the shuffle over guns in parks, consular IDs, State Health Plan reform and redistricting:
1. Involuntary Annexation Reform: House Bill 531 would rewrite the state's 50-year-old laws governing how cities can grow. Local officials are already protesting the measure would essentially shut down annexation as we know it. The sponsors are Reps. Larry Brown, R-Forsyth, Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, and Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir.
No word yet on the committee referral, but House Speaker Thom Tillis said Tuesday he's hoping it will replace individual local annexation rollbacks, so it's likely to be fast-tracked.
2. Tort Reform: House Bill 542 is the big omnibus bill House Republicans have been promising. But consumer advocates say the measure could be the most draconian restriction of liability laws in the entire country.
H542 will be taken up in Thursday's House Select Committee on Tort Reform at 11 a.m. in 1228 LB, where we're told in-state and out-of-state witnesses will testify to the need for it.
By the way, the House had to miss today's Joint Redistricting informational meeting due to their long debate over the State Health Plan. House Redistricting Chairman David Lewis, R-Harnett, says a condensed version of the briefing will be rescheduled for next week. In the meantime, the resources and maps lawmakers will be using in the process are available at the NCGA website.