In the wee hours Saturday morning, House lawmakers gave final approval to a $19.6 billion budget that modestly trims spending and allows a 1-cent temporary tax increase to expire. Gov. Bev Perdue, also a Democrat, will make the next move — and it could be a veto.
Meanwhile, legislators will face a hectic schedule this week due to a looming crossover deadline, the drop-dead point for non-fiscal bills to clear either the House or Senate before they can be considered during next year’s short session. So far, that’s lead to a harried committee schedule Tuesday in both chambers.
Depending on Perdue’s budget decision, legislators could be out of Raleigh in less than two weeks, despite a broad spread of bills still to be enacted. Chief among those: charter-school reforms, a medical liability overhaul, and redistricting.
On the latter of those issues, Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, has filed a bill that will be heard on the Senate floor Monday to exempt redistricting from the June 9 crossover deadline. Unconfirmed plans are for the legislature to reconvene for a special session in July to tackle map drawing for the new decade and in September for another special session to address constitutional amendments.
Also on Monday, the full House will take up House Bill 342, High School Accreditation. The measure would shield North Carolina public school districts from what critics of outside school-accreditation groups call unnecessary interference and even political punishment.
Two pro-life bills — House Bill 854, Abortion-Woman’s Right to Know and House Bill 289, Authorize Various Special Plates — could be heard on the House floor early this week in advance of the crossover deadline. The first measure would require physicians to provide additional information to abortion-minded women before terminating a pregnancy. The second would authorize a “choose life” license plate, in addition to a dozen other new plates.
The House Education Committee take up another social issue — immigration — when it considers House Bill 744, Safe Students Act. The bill would require parents who send their kids to public schools to disclose his or her immigration status.
• House Bill 200, Appropriations Act of 2011, Rep. Harold Brubaker, R-Randolph
• Senate Bill 8, No Cap on Number of Charter Schools, Sen. Richard Stevens, R-Wake
• House Bill 542, Tort Reform for Citizens and Businesses, Rep. Johnathan Rhyne, R-Lincoln
• House Bill 342, High School Accreditation, Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke
• House Bill 845, Annexation Reform Act of 2011, Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir
KEY COMMITTEE HEARINGS
A list of the regularly scheduled House Committee meetings can be found here.
• The Senate Judiciary Committee I will hear S.B. 47, Restore Partisan Judicial Elections, at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7.
• The House Education Committee will hear H.B. 588, The Founding Principles Act, at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7.
• The Joint Legislative Committee on New Licensing Boards will hear two midwifery licensing bills at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7.
• The House Education Committee will hear H.B. 744, Safe Students Act, at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7.
David N. Bass is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.