Legislators face hectic week

Staff WritersMay 11, 2009 

  • Not all of these bills are affected by the crossover deadline, but they are expected to be discussed on the floor or in committee this week. The list represents a small fraction of the bills that will be heard in the legislature this week.

    House:

    722: Requires glass tubes that could be used as pipes or cutters for splitting cigars to be sold behind the counter in stores.

    827: Makes it a crime to leave a child alone in a car.

    1190: Strengthens requirements for preserving evidence and granting a criminal defendant access to the evidence.

    593: Allows schools to open on the second Monday in August. Currently, schools cannot start before Aug. 25.

    1289: Prohibits the sale of lottery tickets at check-cashing businesses.

    388: Lowers threshold for reporting contributions for municipal elections contribution reporting threshold from $3,000 to $500.

    209: Adds certain sex offenses by teachers against students to the requirement to register as a sex offender.

    Senate:

    200: Temporarily keeps the gas tax from dropping.

    167: Bans cell phones and smoking in prisons.

    1062: Adds the protection of pets to domestic violence protection orders.

    1078: Requires that a probationer who is arrested be held without bond until a judge determines whether the person is a danger to the community.

    205: Prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants.

    920: Increases drug screening and warrantless searches for probationers.

    464: Requires law enforcement to collect statistics to prevent racial profiling.

    To read or track bills, go to www.ncleg.net. On the right side of the page, in the "Find Bills by Number" section, enter the first letter of the chamber ("H" for House and "S" for Senate) followed by the bill number. Example: S 1018.

— A deadline looms this week for lawmakers to get moving on scores of bills. The result: a week's worth of cram sessions for the state House and Senate.

So-called "crossover" is a self-imposed deadline for bills that don't deal with money to clear one chamber or the other. Anything that doesn't make it by Thursday is dead for the session. As anyone who has ever faced a deadline knows, the predictable result is that an awful lot of work will happen this week.

"It's contrary to the idea that if you do what you are supposed to do during the semester, the final exam is not so hard," said Rep. Dale Folwell, a Winston-Salem Republican.

The House will likely debate as many as 30 bills each day this week, more than double a typical workload. The Senate calendars will be full, too.

The bills will still have to move through committees before they can reach the House or Senate floor.

"While it appears it's moving very quickly ... most of this stuff has been vetted and discussed and worked out," said Sen. Tony Rand, a Fayetteville Democrat and majority leader.

Of course, committees will also be cramming to move as many bills as they can. No one said lawmaking was pretty.

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