General Assembly working through dozens of bills at deadline

May 7, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina House and Senate are trying to pass dozens of bills before a self-imposed deadline designed to winnow policy ideas with enough support from those that lack it.

The General Assembly set Thursday as the “crossover” date for this two-year session. Essentially any measure unrelated to taxes or spending that doesn’t pass one chamber by then is considered dead through 2020. There are exceptions and ways around the rule.

The House is trying to finish its pre-crossover work by Tuesday. On Monday the chamber approved measures regulating zip line and aerial ropes course operators and creating new crimes against drug dealers whose clients die by taking controlled substances. After some parliamentary maneuvers, the House essentially defeated a measure allowing electronic license-plate readers in state highway rights of way.

Late Monday, the full Senate approved more than 15 bills, while members of a House committee advanced a bill that creates $100 fines for drivers who use hand-held cellphones or other hand-held electronic devices in a manner that leads to careless and reckless driving. The cellphone bill almost stalled last week because it almost had made eating or putting on makeup behind the wheel possible prerequisites for being charged with a distracted driving infraction. That language was removed.

The House Rules Committee also voted 12-11 to send to the full House a measure in which local governments with “sanctuary” policies toward immigration could be penalized by the state by withholding their shares of tax dollars. Individuals could sue over such policies. The bill, which is opposed by civil liberties and immigration advocacy groups, also would require some state law enforcement officers to carry out immigration laws through the state entering what’s called a 287(g) agreement.