Regulatory reform, criminal changes still sitting on McCrory's desk

Posted September 17, 2014 10:36 a.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2014 10:47 a.m. EDT

Gov. Pat McCrory

— Gov. Pat McCrory has until the end of the day Thursday to decide whether he will sign bills increasing the penalties for certain crimes, make certain kinds of development easier and make poaching Venus flytraps a felony. 

Four bills remain on the governor's desk from the summer legislative session. He has already said he will neither sign nor veto a measure governing the cleanup of coal ash ponds in North Carolina, leaving the fate of three bills in doubt. 

If McCrory does not take action by the end of Thursday, the remaining measures will become law without his signature. 

Aside from the coal ash bill, the three bills remaining on his desk are: 

House Bill 1086: NC and SC Rail Compact – A bill that will allow North Carolina and South Carolina to continue their cooperation on a regional rail line near Charlotte. 

House Bill 369: Criminal Law Changes – A bill that increases the penalties for a number of crimes, including giving a cellphone to a prison inmate and making threats against the relatives of district attorneys and other court officers. Those two provisions stem from a high-profile case this spring in which the father of a Wake County prosecutor was kidnapped

The bill also would allow State Crime Lab technicians to testify over video conference, an effort to save time and money, as well as keep technicians on the job. 

Senate Bill 734: Regulatory Reform Act of 2014 – This bill is a hodgepodge of different measures. It would make it easier for developers to build in coastal counties and reduce the amount of "isolated wetlands" they would have to replace when building, depending on where in the state a property is located. 

The measure also would make stealing a Venus flytrap a felony in an effort to address a rampant poaching problem in the plant's native eastern North Carolina habitat. It also would clear the way for the state to rent out state parks and forests for road races, a measure that proved controversial during the legislative session due to ties between McCrory and a group that wanted to hold such a race.