Before starting work on the budget, I thought that it might be valuable to summarize what happened with all of the bills that I introduced this session.
Not counting a blank Appropriations bill that all full chairs of the Appropriations Committee file for potential use during the budget process, I introduced fourteen bills and one resolution. Of the fourteen bills, nine bills made crossover by passing in one form or another, one bill was not subject to crossover, and four bills are still pending but are multi-year bills at best. The bills that are now in the Senate include:
- House Bill 3 [Eminent Domain]
- House Bill 532 [Hard Apple Cider/Growlers]
- House Bill 552 [Graffiti Vandalism]
- House Bill 553 [Ordinances Regulating Animals]
- House Bill 554 [Protect Public from Dangerous Animals]
- House Bill 571 [11D Implement of Carbon Dioxide Regulations]
- House Bill 647 [Epi-Pens in All Child-Serving Businesses]
- House Bill 706 [Building Code/Rustic Cabins]
These bills will be assigned to Senate committees and will hopefully be acted upon by the Senate. Additionally, after talking to Senator Apodaca, he moved his autism bill, Senate Bill 676 [Autism Health Insurance Coverage], in the Senate, and I expect that I’ll combine parts of my autism bill, House Bill 646 [Insurance Coverage for Autism Treatment], with his bill when the House takes up the issue of insurance coverage for autism.
The four bills that did not make crossover were:
- House Bill 534 [NC Benefit Corporation Act]
- House Bill 545 [Information/Guidelines Re: Eating Disorders]
- House Bill 625 [Brewery Law Revisions]
- House Bill 648 [Prohibit Toxic Flame Retardants in Bedding]
My expectation was that the bills relating to eating disorders and flame retardants in bedding were going to be multi-year bills — but my hope was that the craft brewery bill would pass before crossover. I had no expectation with respect to the benefit corporation bill, since I was seeking direction from House leadership on that bill. Since leadership decided that they didn’t want to spend time on the bill prior to crossover, I pulled back from attempting to pass the proposed piece of legislation.
One bill, House Bill 533 [Modify PUV Exceptions to Disqualification], was not subject to crossover. I expect that the House Finance Committee will take up the bill in the coming weeks, and it is still eligible to be taken up by the Senate if it passes the House in the coming weeks.
In the past, some portion of time in the House chamber has been spent on adopting resolutions that commemorate some person, organization or event. While one can learn a lot of North Carolina history and geography from these resolutions, most House members felt too much time was spent adopting such resolutions. I had shied away from introducing resolutions, but former Speaker, now U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, asked me to consider introducing a resolution to honor the memory and work of Jean Moulthrop Hoogstra who was instrumental in the founding of what is now Four Seasons Compassion for Life, the hospice and palliative care nonprofit based in Henderson County. Learning that Four Seasons’ Elizabeth House was named for my grandmother, Senator Tillis asked that I introduce the resolution.
Representative Chris Whitmire and I introduced House Bill 852 [Honor Hendersonville Hospice], but rather than passing it as a bill, I spoke on the floor on a “point of personal privilege” and essentially summarized what was in the resolution. Those comments were made part of the permanent House journal, and Four Seasons’ CEO, Chris Comeaux, was in the gallery when I spoke and was recognized by the House.
Both my mother and I served with Jean Hoogstra on the hospice board in its early years, and I appreciated the opportunity to work with her family and with Chris Comeaux on an appropriate recognition of her work and the continuing work of Four Seasons.
Beginning immediately, I pivot to the budget. With the budget starting in the House this session, my expectation is several weekends will be spent in Raleigh, although we’ve been promised that we can go home for Mother’s Day. Look for an overview of the budget issue in my next update.