Thursday Wrap: Long day's journey

Posted April 6

— House lawmakers plowed through more than 20 bills Thursday as they attempt to accomplish as much as possible before the crossover deadline at the end of the month.

Among the contentious issues they dealt with were two bills designed to give school districts more flexibility in setting their annual calendars – the latest battles in a decade-old tug-o-war between tourism interests and districts grappling with weather-related cancelations or seeking to move their semester finals before the Christmas break. House members appeared to be exhausted with the annual fight and overwhelmingly approved both.

The House also cleared the revised plan to combine the State Board of Elections with the State Ethics Commission after a three-judge panel threw out a law on the issue passed in December. A measure that would limit the damages people who live near hog farms could collect in lawsuits over nuisances such as odor received preliminary approval, but debate was short-circuited when House Speaker Tim Moore quickly called the question, so a final vote is slated for Monday.

Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen and Secretary of Administration Machelle Sanders. Secretary of Environmental Quality Michael Regan received a unanimous recommendation in a committee confirmation hearing.


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