Last Thursday was the General Assembly’s crossover deadline, the date by which bills without a financial element must move from one chamber to another in order to stay alive for the session. Usually, this is a week filled with late nights and craziness, but this session they actually planned ahead and moved bills quickly the week before so it was surprisingly calm. The House wrapped up its work on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday, meaning most lawmakers weren’t even in town for the actual deadline. A total of 1,687 total bills have been introduced this session, including more than 1,000 House bills and nearly 700 in the Senate. Most bills that had been heard in committee made it to the floor for a vote, and many remaining bills have a budget or finance component, exempting them from crossover. And some bills that may not have made the deadline, may be revived later in session with the addition of a fiscal element or by being added to another measure. Now that crossover has passed, the budget will take center stage again. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, indicated that the goal is for the Senate to complete the budget by the end of the month, which would likely mean floor votes on the week after Memorial Day. According to Brown, budget subcommittees are already working on the pieces of the budget. Read the full report here.
Last week was extremely intense as up to 17 committee meetings happened each day with 30-50 bills being considered in those committees. As members and lobbyists tried to get their bills through one chamber before the cross-over deadline, we heard some similar phrases. Many bills clearly had problems that legislators promised to work on when the bill arrived in the Senate or House but their fate is unclear. Whether the other chamber will be willing to take up these issues will depend on whether legislators on the other side are willing to move the bill and fight for it.
Last week, the House also finalized and approved their budget proposal, which we have summarized later in this legislative report. The budget moved quickly through the process and although there were a lot of amendments proposed, the main controversy was the Democrats efforts to include Medicaid Expansion in the budget, which was defeated by the majority Republicans. The budget now goes to the Senate and they will create their own version of the budget before the House and Senate work out their differences. Read the full report here.
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