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Lawmakers Rush to Rescue Bills Before They Die In Committee

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RALEIGH — State lawmakers scrambled to push legislation through before it was too late Thursday, which was the deadline to vote on bills being considered by theGeneral Assembly.

Any bills that were not voted on by the House or Senate by midnight were declared dead in committee. However, the lawmakers surprised everyone when both chambers called it quits late Thursday afternoon.

It was a busy time at the state legislature as lawmakers dealt with hundreds of bills that meant a lot to people throughout North Carolina.

Thursday morning the House saved a bill allowing people in HMOs to choose their pharmacy. The Senate passed nursing home legislation to tighten enforcement and regulation of rest homes; that still has to go to the House.

During the afternoon, the Senate passed a ban on billboards along I-40 between the Triangle and the coast. They also established higher fines for people who buy alcohol for underage drinkers.

Legislation concerning the environment and the hog industry was spared the ax by tying it to the state budget, which is one of the creative ways that lawmakers can save their bills.

"If a bill has a fee attached to it or if a bill has an appropriation as a part of it, then it's not subject to the crossover deadline," says Sen. Tony Rand. "So sometimes that will be done to keep an issue alive that you want to look at and work on some more."

Other legislation that is still alive includes a state lottery proposal, and a bill that would require mechanics to tell people exactly what is being done to their cars.


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