By Rick Henderson
Carolina Journal/State News Today
RALEIGH — Round one of this year’s legislative session is over. But they’ll be back.
At 1:49 Friday morning, the House passed a resolution to adjourn (temporarily), almost an hour after the Senate wrapped up its business.
A statement issued early Friday by Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, noted that the long session’s adjournment date is the second-earliest since 1973. During the session, Berger said, Republicans “fulfilled their promises to further reduce taxes on middle-class families and job-creators, provide a fourth consecutive teacher pay raise, appropriate nearly $700 million more for public education, and rebuild communities devastated by Hurricane Matthew — all while saving for a rainy day.”
The General Assembly is set to return Aug. 3 to handle any vetoes from Gov. Roy Cooper, consider appointments, iron out bills that remained in limbo during the waning hours of the main session, and consider potential impeachment proceedings — dealing with an investigation of Secretary of State Elaine Marshall launched by Rep. Chris Millis, R-Pender.
Lawmakers will come back again Sept. 6 to tie up any loose ends left from the August session.
They also set a deadline of Nov. 15 to satisfy federal court orders and draw new legislative and congressional district maps. While they’re at it, they may take the initiative to redraw districts for judges and prosecutors — although the resolution allowed an earlier return for redistricting work if courts demanded it.
With that in mind, both House and Senate leaders selected the members who will serve on the redistricting committee.
During the session’s final week, the House acted on 341 pieces of legislation, the Senate 335. As of 10:30 a.m. Friday, 39 had been sent to Gov. Roy Cooper. Several others passed both bodies late Thursday or early Friday but had not been processed by the legislative staff and sent to the governor.
Several issues weren’t resolved, including:
•A measure setting up a commission to streamline the state’s criminal code
•A provision in the Senate budget phasing out certificate-of-need mandates for investment in medical equipment that was removed from the final House-Senate compromise spending plan
•A catch-all bill amending environmental regulations that would repeal the ban on businesses providing customers with plastic bags in several Outer Banks counties.