With the holidays behind us, you’ve undoubtedly been asking yourself “What bills are eligible for consideration by the General Assembly during the upcoming year?”
We’re glad you asked. Since Members of the state legislature are elected for two year terms, each regular session of the General Assembly also lasts for two years, called a “biennium.”
The first year of the biennium, which begins the following January (of each odd-numbered year, following the even-yeared November elections), is commonly called the “Long Session.” It is during this time that the two-year state budget is approved. 2015 was a Long Session year, with the General Assembly finally adjourning on September 30 after passing the 2015-2016 biennium state budget on September 18. (For more information on how laws are made in North Carolina, click here.)
The second year of the biennium, which convenes in the Spring of the following even-numbered year (after the odd-numbered Long Session year) is commonly called the “Short Session.” According to the rules set forth by the General Assembly in its Adjournment Resolution, only certain matters may be considered during the Short Session. Short Sessions coincide with even-numbered election years and typically last just a few months.
This year, an even-numbered election year, the General Assembly will reconvene on on Monday, April 25 2016 for its upcoming Short Session.
So what kind of legislation may be considered in the Short Session? Cathy Martin, the General Assembly’s Legislative Librarian, breaks it down for us:
Only certain matters may be considered during the Short Session, as outlined in the Adjournment Resolution. Non-crossover bills and new introductions must be analyzed under the Adjournment Resolution to determine eligibility. Any measure may be introduced and considered if authorized by a joint resolution passed by a two- thirds vote of each chamber’s members present and voting. (S721, Res. 2015-14, §2(7)).
Only the following matters may be considered during the Short Session:
Bills directly and primarily affecting the State budget, including the budget of an occupational licensing board, for fiscal year 2016-2017, provided that the bill must be submitted to the Bill Drafting Division of the Legislative Services Office no later than 4:00 P.M. Wednesday, April 27, 2016, and must be introduced in the House of Representatives or filed for introduction in the Senate no later than 4:00 P.M. Tuesday, May 10, 2016.
Bills amending the Constitution of North Carolina
Click here to read North Carolina’s Constitution.
Bills and resolutions meeting the crossover deadline but not ratified or defeated in the receiving chamber as follows:
- Senate bills and resolutions introduced in 2015 that passed third reading in the Senate by April 30th, 2015 and
- House and bills and resolutions introduced in 2015 that passed third reading in the House by April 30th, 2015.
- However, any bill otherwise meeting these deadlines is not eligible for consideration if it:
- Violates the rules of the receiving chamber; or
- Is disposed of in the other house by tabling, unfavorable committee report, indefinite postponement, or failure to pass any reading.
Click here for a list of bills that appear to be eligible for consideration during the Short Session under the crossover criteria listed in this section. This list does not include all eligible bills, but only those bills that have passed one house and been received in the other and which are “still alive” under the terms of this section. The list of bills was generated by the Information Systems Division of the Legislative Services Office.
Study committee bills
Bills and resolutions implementing the recommendations of:
- Study commissions, authorities, and statutory commissions authorized or directed to report to the 2016 Regular Session;
- The General Statutes Commission, the Courts Commission, or any commission created under Chapter 120 of the General Statutes that is authorized or directed to report to the General Assembly;
- The House Ethics Committee;
- Select committees; or
- The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee or its Advisory Subcommittee.
A bill authorized by this subdivision must be submitted to the Bill Drafting Division of the Legislative Services Office no later than 4:00 P.M. Tuesday, April 26, 2016, and must be filed for introduction in the Senate or introduced in the House of Representatives no later than 4:00 P.M. Tuesday, May 10, 2016.
Any local bill that has been submitted to the Bill Drafting Division of the Legislative Services Office by 4:00 P.M. Tuesday, May 3, 2016, is introduced in the House of Representatives or filed for introduction in the Senate by 4:00 P.M. Thursday, May 19, 2016, and is accompanied by a certificate signed by the principal sponsor stating that no public hearing will be required or asked for by a member on the bill, the bill is noncontroversial, and that the bill is approved for introduction by each member of the House of Representatives and the Senate whose district includes the area to which the bill applies.
Selection, appointment, or confirmation as required by law, including the filling of vacancies in positions for which the appointees were elected by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, or President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Bills authorized by a joint resolution
that passed by a two-thirds vote
Any matter authorized by joint resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the House of Representatives present and voting and by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Senate present and voting. A bill or resolution filed in either house under the provisions of this subdivision shall have a copy of the ratified enabling resolution attached to the jacket before filing for introduction in the Senate or introduction in the House of Representatives.
authorizing introduction of a bill
A joint resolution authorizing the introduction of a bill pursuant to subdivision (7) of this section.
Pension or retirement bills
Any bills primarily affecting any State or local pension or retirement system, provided that the bill has been submitted to the Bill Drafting Division of the Legislative Services Office no later than 4:00 P.M. Tuesday, May 3, 2016, and is introduced in the House of Representatives or filed for introduction in the Senate no later than 4:00 P.M. Thursday, May 19, 2016.
House resolutions, and Senate resolutions
Which are authorized for introduction under Senate Rule 40(b) or House Rule 31.
- Revising the Senate districts and the apportionment of senators among those districts.
- Revising the Representative districts and the apportionment of representatives among those districts.
- Revising the districts for the election of members of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States and the apportionment of representatives among those districts.
- Bills responding to actions related to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- Bills responding to actions related to litigation concerning Congressional, State House, or State Senate districts.
Bills returned by the Governor with objections under Section 22 of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution, but solely for the purpose of considering overriding of the veto upon reconsideration of the bill.
Election law bills
Any bills relating to election laws.
Bills disapproving rules
Bills to disapprove rules under G.S. 150B-21.3.
A joint resolution adjourning the 2015 Regular Session, sine die.