Today @NCCapitol (April 27): House members start work early in advance of deadline

Posted April 27, 2015

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Monday, April 27. Here's what's going on at the General Assembly and around state government.

FOUR DAYS: Thursday is the crossover deadline by which House and Senate rules say a bill that doesn't affect taxes or spending – or meet certain other narrow loopholes – must pass one chamber or the other in order to remain eligible for consideration. The crossover date is a way to help avoid a protracted session that never ends. With only four days to go until the deadline, an unusually busy Monday kicks off a legislative week that will see a flood of bills passing through both chambers.

THE SENATE: The state Senate is scheduled to hold a floor session at 7 p.m. Among the measures due to be considered are a bill requiring state agencies to divest from contracts and investments dealing with Iran, a measure putting limits on how much data police can collect with license plate readers and a bill curbing city governments' use of design standards for new houses. That design standards bill faces opposition from the North Carolina League of Municipalities, whose members say cities such as Raleigh should at least be able to set some requirements for new homes built in existing neighborhoods. WRAL.com plans to care the Senate session live online. Check the Video Central box on our homepage.

SENATE HEALTH: The only Senate committee scheduled to meet Monday is the Senate Health Committee. The committee is scheduled to review bills curbing the use of tanning beds and expanding the ways food trucks and other mobile food preparation stations can cook when they are at festivals.

THE HOUSE: The House is scheduled to begin its floor session with seven bills on the calendar but is likely to add more from committees meeting in the afternoon. Among the bills already on the calendar is a measure clearing the way for a pilot program that will study the use of GPS devices to monitor domestic violence offenders. Another bill would curtail the cases in which North Carolina's State Environmental Policy Act would apply.

HOUSE COMMITTEES: The General Assembly publishes a full legislative calendar daily. Here is some of the legislation we're keeping an eye on:

REGS: The House Regulatory Reform Committee at 1 p.m. rolls out an omnibus measure aimed at paring back regulations. Such hodgepodge measures have, in recent years, become the subject of horse-trading between the House and the Senate. The current version of this reg reform bill scales back the use of buffers along streams and rivers used to curtail pollution.

BOOZE AND MILK: The House Health Committee meets at 3 p.m. and will be talking beverages. It will take a look at a bill banning the sale of powdered alcohol in North Carolina and another legalizing the sale of raw milk that hasn't been pasteurized. That second measure will draw concern from food safety advocates, who say raw milk can be a vehicle for deadly bacteria, while those who advocate for its availability say the untreated product is healthier than what is sold in stores. WRAL.com plans to care this committee meeting live online. Check the Video Central box on our homepage.

EXECUTIONS: The House Judiciary I Committee takes up a bill at 3 p.m. that would clear the way for executions to go forward without a doctor directly overseeing the lethal injection.

DEBTS: The House Banking Committee meets at 4 p.m. and will take up a bill to make it easier for debt collectors to sue for judgments against people who may or may not owe money.

THE GOVERNOR: Gov. Pat McCrory allowed a bill making tweaks to how appointments to state panels are done to become law without his signature. The bill settles some minor points in a lawsuit over legislative appointments to boards that oversee executive branch agencies. The bill in question makes it optional for McCrory to give ethics-related direction to members of the Coal Ash Management Commission. It also ends a long-standing practice on three other commissions.

In a statement, McCrory said the bill doesn't settle the issue of whether lawmakers can force a governor to issue an executive order. As well, the governor said the bill still allows lawmakers to make some appointments that he thinks they should not.

"I believe that it is unconstitutional to allow legislative appointees to serve on boards and commissions that perform executive functions, and the three-judge panel agreed with respect to the Coal Ash Commission and two other commissions," McCrory.

Not signing a bill is a way governors allow a measure become law but withhold their approval.

ICYMI: WRAL News anchor David Crabtree spoke with Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger "On the Record" this weekend about education, tax reform and his relationship with the governor. Also from this weekend: What's North Carolina's plan B if the U.S. Supreme Court rules Affordable Care Act subsidies are illegal here? And what's going on with legislative efforts to reform the Medicaid health insurance system for the poor and the disabled.

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