Legislators made more progress last week on dozens of bills as we tried to finish our remaining work and adjourn for the year. As you know by now, we are back in Raleigh again for this week as members of the House and Senate try to resolve differences over ethics and lobbying reform bills, strengthening our sex offender laws, establishing a lottery oversight committee, creating a “first-in-the-nation” innocence commission for our judicial system, strengthening our state’s DWI laws, among others. At least 10 pieces of legislation were sent to conference committees this week, which are made up of members of the House and Senate. Legislators on these conference committees met through the weekend and are meeting this week in an attempt to reach an agreement on final bills to send to the Governor before we adjourn.
The House passed numerous bills this week on topics such as reforming our campaign finance laws, establishing a high-risk health insurance pool, protecting private property rights, cracking down on businesses for price gouging at gas stations, and several issues related to our environment.
The House held long sessions all week, especially on Thursday, the Senate held a rare Friday session, but all Senators were not expected to return until today (Tuesday) at the earliest.
Please remember that you can listen to each day’s session, committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly’s website at www.ncleg.net. Once on the site, select “audio,” and then make your selection – i.e. House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room.
Legislators Hash Out Differences on Lobbying, Ethics Reform Bill
Following action by the House in recent weeks on numerous ethics, campaign finance and lobbying reform bills, the Senate approved HB 1843, which will overhaul the state’s ethics and lobbying laws by barring gifts and campaign donations from lobbyists and creating a more powerful state commission to monitor the behavior of state officials. The bill, which was slightly different than three separate bills passed earlier by the House, was not agreed to by the House on Wednesday and a conference committee was set-up to reach a compromise. Continue reading