The General Assembly has a “crossover” deadline for legislation, which essentially means that by that deadline, proposed bills must have passed either the House or Senate chamber to stay alive, to still have a chance of making it to the law books. Presumably, that prevents North Carolina legislators from camping in Raleigh endlessly, or at least what seems like endlessly.
But the race to beat that crossover deadline, to get bills through their respective chambers, is never pretty, and Wednesday’s mayhem went on until 2:26 a.m. Thursday when House members adjourned after clearing their business. The House passed about 70 bills during 10 hours of debate. That’s not a number that inspires confidence in prospective laws that will govern the state for years to come. Rather, it makes the public wonder whether anything lawmakers discussed got the scrutiny it deserved. The answer likely is no.
The process is ridiculous and hurts the credibility of the chamber that makes haste. (Senators seemed a little sanctimonious about their lack of a rush, owing to the fact that the Senate is less than half the size of the House.)
House members worked late for a couple of nights. They managed to prolong their agony Tuesday with a long debate over hunting on Sundays and another long jawboning session on whether local school boards should be able to sue county commissioners for money for education.
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And a positively dreadful bill easing gun laws made it through, thanks to House members throwing a little money at it, which exempted it from the crossover deadline.
Good grief, ladies and gentlemen. Can you do no better? And if you can’t, could you at least be quicker?