Which NC bills survived crossover?

jfrank@newsobserver.com lbonner@newsobserver.com cjarvis@newsobserver.comMay 17, 2013 

Lawmakers in the House and Senate raced this week to meet their Thursday crossover deadline – when bills that don’t deal with money or constitutional amendments must pass at least one chamber.

Of course, that deadline has always been a bit artificial as there are various ways to push through bills they legislators really want even after crossover.

Here are some of the more notable bills that have passed through the House or Senate as well as some that didn’t make it. Note that even though a bill has managed to get through one chamber, it still needs approval from both chambers and the governor before becoming law.

Bill that remain alive

Education

The state will pay students’ fees to take Advanced Placement exams in House Bill 969. It also will give bonuses to teachers whose students score 3 or higher on AP exams or 4 or higher on International Baccalaureate exams. It was sent the Senate’s Committee on Education/Higher Education this week.

House Bill 146 and Senate Bill 243, Back to Basics, require students learn cursive and memorize multiplication tables. House Bill 146 has been in the Senate’s Education since early April while the Senate’s companion bill was referred to the House Committee on Education April 30.

House Bill 935 NC Pre-K Law Changes tightens income eligibility requirements to 100 percent of federal poverty level. It moved to the Senate’s Health Care Committee last week; if it passes there it goes to Education.

Senate Bill 189 and House Bill 230 broaden the definition of home schools. Parents or guardians would no longer have to provide instruction Parents determining the course of instruction and additional sources of education would meet the definition.

Senate Bill 337 creates an independent board to manage charter schools and removes requirements that instructors hold teaching certificates. It needs to make it through three House committees.

Senate Bill 236 allows the Boards of Commissioners in nine counties, including Wake, to take control of school construction and ownership away from school boards. The bill passed the Senate in a party-line vote and is awaiting action in the House. It moved to the House on Thursday.

House Bill 452, the school safety act, requires schools be issued crisis kits, develop crisis training, have volunteer safety resource officers and hold regular “lockdown” exercises.

Local issues

Senate Bill 334 sends the city of Raleigh back to the negotiating table with state leaders as it tries to turn the Dorothea Dix property into a city park. The bill has been stuck in a House committee since late March.

House Bill 150 limit local governments’ ability to set design standards for houses. After passing the House in March it has yet to get to the Senate floor.

House Bill 120 restricts local authorities from imposing additional inspections on home builders and delays state building code upgrades to every six years instead of three years. It’s still in the Senate’s Commerce Committee.

Senate Bill 325 redraws the Wake County school board districts in a way that critics say will politicize the seats and benefit Republicans. House lawmakers have yet to consider it.

Cities can’t ban the selling of large, sugary drinks under House Bill 683. It also prohibits lawsuits against food makers for obesity or health issues.

Elections

House Bill 9 places a constitutional limit of two terms on the House Speaker and Senate president pro tem on the ballot in November 2014. It’s in the Senate Rules Committee.

Voters will be required to show photo identification at the polls under House Bill 589.

House Bill 311 puts it to voters to remove a literacy test to vote from the state constitution.

Energy

State-mandated energy efficiency standards for new commercial construction would be rolled back by 30 percent under House Bill 201.

Senate Bill 76 lifts the state’s fracking moratorium in 2015, allow deep-well injection of fracking waste, among other things. Passed the House in March and has been tied up in intense negotiations at the Senate for two months. It is likely to change substantially.

Transportation

House Bill 817 implements Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed Strategic Mobility Formula, a new system for distributing transportation funds and setting transportation spending priorities across the state. It replaces the 1989 Highway Trust Fund Law. The measure also cancels a legislative mandate for construction of three turnpike projects in Currituck, New Hanover and Gaston counties. It won bipartisan approval in the House and next will be heard by the Senate Finance Committee.

House Bill 786 (The RECLAIM NC Act) offers special driving permits for immigrants who are in the United States illegally, and it establishes tough new immigration enforcement measures for police and the courts. It cleared a House judiciary subcommittee and was sent to the House Finance Committee for possible action later during this session.

House Bill 267 allows the state to collect tolls on existing interstate highways, but only in new lanes added to the highway. Drivers would have the option to use the same number of toll-free lanes that existed previously. The bill, prompted by a proposal to charge tolls on I-95, won unanimous House approval and was sent to the Senate.

House Bill 428 increases penalties for drivers who pass school buses that are stopped to discharge or pick up children. The House passed it unanimously and sent it to the Senate.

House Bill 10 repeals a 2011 law that blocked the state from considering the unpopular Red Route, which runs through Garner, for the Triangle Expressway extension of the 540 Outer Loop across southern Wake County. The change is needed to win federal approval of the route eventually chosen. The House passed it but refused to accept Senate changes. Both chambers are expected to find another way to allow the Red Route study.

Senate Bill 709 allows DOT to set speed limits as high as 75 mph on some freeways, instead of the current top limit of 70 mph. It zoomed through the Senate with only one dissenting vote, and now is before the House Transportation Committee.

Environment

House Bill 628 promotes the use of North Carolina-grown timber in state buildings which would keep them from receiving LEED green building certification.

Senate Bill 515 repeals rules that have been in place for several years to improve water quality at Jordan Lake. It would require new rules be written that focus on cleaning up the lake rather than the sources of upstream pollution.

Senate Bill 151 allows the building of terminal groins or jetties in all 14 of the state’s inlets despite warnings that the state’s beaches would end up looking like New Jersey’s.

Criminal Justice

House Bill 908 allows district attorneys to convene grand juries to investigate white collar crimes.

Senate Bill 306 repeals the Racial Justice Act. It has been stuck in a House committee since April.

Consumers

Senate Bill 327 prohibits the sale of cars in North Carolina by unlicensed out-of-state dealers online or by phone. It is aimed at Tesla.

Senate Bill 489 raises the rate on many consumer finance loans.

House Bill 829 allows restaurants and grocery stores to fill growlers of beer:

Workers

House Bill 834 enables a massive government restructuring, creates more political appointee positions and weakens civil service protections for state employees.

House Bill 872 prohibits state contracts that require contractors or subcontractors hire union labor.

Guns

House Bill 937 allows people with permits to carry concealed weapons to bring their firearms into bars, restaurants that serve alcohol, college campuses and greenways.

House Bill 17 makes confidential the records of permits issued to purchase handguns and to carry concealed weapons.

Health

House Bill 18 prohibits people younger than 18 from using tanning beds.

House Bill 498 requires health insurance companies and the state health plan to cover autism spectrum disorders. It passed the House and now goes to the Senate.

House Bill 609 requires health insurance companies to pay for oral cancer drugs as they do IV chemotherapy. Patients may be charged up to $300 for each oral chemotherapy prescription.

House Bill 181 requiring physician supervision of nurse anesthetists was approved by the House on March 27 by a vote of 89 to 28 and sent it to the Senate where it has resided ever since in the Committee on Rules and Operations.

House Bill 177 to exempt same-day surgery centers from portions of the state’s certification process was amended to establish a study committee to look at various aspects of state and federal regulation of medical facilities.

Abortion

House Bill 716 makes it illegal to perform abortions based on the gender of the fetus.

House Bill 730 expands to all health-care workers legal protections for refusing to participate in abortions, and prohibit the state’s health insurance exchange and cities and counties from providing coverage for abortions.

Senate Bill 132 requires schools teach that abortion is a “preventable cause” of premature birth in subsequent pregnancies.

Miscellaneous

House Bill 930, Dog Breeding Standards or the “puppy mill bill” sets minimum health and housing standards for large commercial dog breeders.

House Bill 8 would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to prevent taking of property by eminent domain except for public use.

House Bill 1011 would replace more than 100 incumbents on regulatory boards with Republican-appointed members. This is the second attempt at a compromise between the House and Senate, which wanted to replace 12 special superior court judges that the House wanted to spare.

House Bill 695, aka Sharia law, prohibits judges, mediators and agencies from applying foreign law to divorce, child custody, alimony and other similar domestic cases.

Bills that appear dead

House Joint Resolution 494 dubbed the “Defense of Religion Act,” would have allowed the state to create an official religion.

House Bill 640 would have repealed the ban on lawmakers receiving gifts from lobbyists and tweaks disclosure rules.

House Bill 603 said business owners couldn’t use gender to determine an employee’s pay. It never received a hearing.

Senate Bill 125 would have made it a low-level misdemeanor for a government employee to deny access to public records

Senate Bill 674 removes from state law the ability of school boards to sue county commissioners for more money to build and operate schools.

House Bill 298 and Senate Bill 365 would freeze or roll back the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard, the 2007 law that requires electric utilities to offset retail power sales by purchasing (or generating) renewable electricity from solar, wind or biomass. It passed one House committee and failed in another. It passed a Senate committee and stalled thereafter.

Senate Bills 27, 59 and 146 would have allowed armed marshals, guards or volunteers in schools

House Bill 34 would have clarified that it is a crime for women to bare their breasts in public. The so-called “nipple bill” was aimed at an event in Asheville that has included topless women.

Senate Bill 308 would have required doctors performing abortions remain physically present until after the woman is discharged, require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the place where the procedure is performed. It could put an end to the use of pregnancy-ending pills.

House Bill 117 allows school buses to drive 55 mph, instead of the current 45 mph limit, when no schoolchildren are on board. It died in the House Transportation Committee.

House Bill 109 originally would have repealed the safety helmet requirement for North Carolina motorcycle riders, except for those under 21. It found little support, because of medical and fiscal concerns, so it was rewritten to call for a legislative study of the issue. The House approved the helmet study proposal and sent it to the Senate.

Senate Bill 107 to allow certified professional midwives the right to practice legally in North Carolina was approved by a Senate Judiciary committee before being withdrawn from the Senate calendar. Sponsor Sen. Thom Goolsby said the bill will not move forward until a regulatory committee is convened next session that can establish practice rules for certified professional midwives.

Senate Bill 703 would have repealed local smoking bans in public places such as parks and the beach.

Senate Bill 956 would have required anyone taking ownership of pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, chows, Perro de Presa Canarios and any “wolf hybrids” to submit to a criminal background check, enroll in a four-hour course provided by the Humane Society or another rescue organization approved by the state Department of Insurance and get a special permit from the Department of Insurance to possess a dog “belonging to an aggressive breed.” It remained parked in the House rules committee.

Senate Bill 518 wanted to make couples wait two years to get a divorce instead of one. It never got a hearing in committee.

What has already become law

Federal health care law: One of the first bills to pass the House and Senate and get the governor’s signature prevented the state from adding more low-income people to Medicaid and blocked the implementation of a state-based health insurance exchange under the federal law.

Unemployment benefits: The House and Senate acted quickly earlier this session to approve a bill trimming unemployment benefits to pay down the state’s debt more quickly. The governor signed the bill.

High school diplomas: All high school will state whether the graduate is prepared for college, a career, or both under a bill signed into law.

Protections for children: Lily’s Law makes it murder if a child born alive dies as the result of injuries inflicted before his or her birth. While a bill known as Kilah’s Law increases the penalties for convicted child abusers.

Good Samaritans: Gives limited immunity to drug users who seek medical assistance for someone who is overdosing.

Asheville Water: The bill transferred Asheville’s water system to a regional water system over the city’s objections. The governor allowed it to become law without his signature. A judge has issued a temporary restraining order.

Contributions by Staff writers John Murawski, Bruce Siceloff, Renee Elder, T. Keung Hui, David Ranii, Anne Blythe and Mary Cornatzer

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