Do You Really Want to Know?

February 23, 2007

School of Government listservs 

The School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill maintains various listservs for public officials. A listserv is a way to share information to a large group via email. The lglaw listserv, administered by Professor Fleming Bell, allows city and county government attorneys to share information and questions with peers and faculty experts at the School of Government. Recent threads have included remedies for abandoned and burned out homes, golf cart advertising, staggered terms for councils, zoning cases, announcements of conferences,  and compulsory water and sewer hookups.

A bad week ends with humor courtesy lglaw listserv 

At the end of a very bad week at the General Assembly, a thread on internet content filtering at local government caught my eye Thursday. With the permission of the posters (Harnett County Attorney Staff Attorney Jennifer Slusser, Charlotte City Attorney Bob Hagemann, and Professor Bell) I’m excerpting some of yesterday’s thread:

“Slusser:  How does your jurisdiction handle internet content filtering, if at all, for general county departments? Currently, we have very limited content filtering because we are on the same band with the county library.

Hagemann:  Yeah, and our fancy filter here in Charlotte decided one day not to let me get to the General Assembly’s home page. Turned out it didn’t want me to see “Who Represents Me”.

Bell:  Do you really want to know?”  

——————–

If you do really want to know 

The General Assembly does have a web-based  application to find out your State Senator, State Representative and member of Congress, you just need to enter your Zip+4, the online tool even allows you to look up your Zip+4.


Bill requests accelerating, up 45%

February 22, 2007

Increase had been 40% after 4 weeks, 35% after 3 weeks

North Carolina legislative staff have received 1,749 substantive bill drafting requests by the end of the fifth week of the 2007 Regular Session today, up over 45% compared  with the same point in the 2005 Regular Session. At the end of 4 weeks, it had been up 40%, at the end of 3 weeks, the increase had been 35%.

2005     2007          CHANGE
RESEARCH DIVISION 162 204 +25.93%
DRAFTING DIVISION 1041 1545 +48.41%
GRAND TOTAL 1203 1749 +45.39%

Single week requests up 71% for week 5

During the period February 16-23, 2007, staff received 350 substantive bill requests, compared with 204 requests during the comparable period in the 2005 session, a 71% increase. 

 Blank bill requests drop

Blank bill requests are down 83% from 2005, dropping from 342 requests in 2005 to 58 in 2007. Senators are limited to two blank bill filings for the biennium, while the new House temporary rules do not allow blank bills. In 2005 there were no blank bill limits for the long session.


Those pesky codes on bill drafts

February 18, 2007

So what are those strange codes that appear near the top of bills before they get a bill number? Codes like, for instance “BILL DRAFT 2007-LBxz-52 [v.3] (1/29)”

 There are two stages a bill passes through prior to filing in the clerk’s office:

  1. Unproofed draft. This is usually the first draft, prepared by a professional in the Bill Drafting or Research Divisions, and sent to the House or Senate member for review. A code is assigned by the drafter in the process of seeting up the file.
  2. Proofed Draft. After the draft that has been approved by the member, it is sent to the Bill Typing and Proofreading Sections for final formatting and proofreading. A new code is assigned to the draft at that time, incorporating much of the old code. At this point, copies are printed and a bill jacket prepared for filing and introduction

Each version has a series of codes to identify persons who have worked on the draft and how to find the file.

 UNPROOFED DRAFT:

Sample code: BILL DRAFT 2007-LB-52xz [v.3] (1/29)

The first part of the code identifies the session for which the draft is being prepared. The “2007” in the code reflects the year of session the draft is prepared for. 2007 is used for the entire biennial session for 2007 and 2008, and began use immediately upon sine die adjournment of the 2005 Regular Session. 

The second part of the code indicates the drafter assigned to the project.  The first letter will either be “L” or “M” reflecting drafters in the Bill Drafting Division (and one attorney in the Fiscal Research Division), or will be “R“, “S“, or “T” reflecting drafters in the Research Division.  The use of the codes began after the 1977 long session to identify the drafter to others in the office, to bill typists, proofreaders, and those preparing bill digests for the School of Government Daily Bulletin. My code is “LB”, and has been assigned to me since 1977. At one time, codes were reassigned to new drafters after staff changes, for the last decade they have been unique.

The third part of the code is a sequence indicating the sequential file number for that particular drafter, in this case 52 is my 52nd draft for the biennium. This helps in locating the hard copy file. Somewhere in my office are 30 years of files.

 The fourth part of the code (which does not always appear) identifies the type of bill, and assists the Principal Clerk’s office in making up the calendar. “x” indicates a vote where a roll call is required by the Constitution (taxes and bonds), “f” where a roll call is required by the House rules (fees), “z” for bills recommended by study commissions, “qq” indicates it establishes a licensing board, and * indicates a companion (identical) bill has been prepared for a member of the other house with knowledge of both sponsors.

 The fifth part of the code indicates the version number of the draft, [v.3] indicates it is the third revision.

The sixth and final part of the code  (1/29) is the date the request was received, which alerts the clerk’s offic as to whether the draft met the request deadline.

PROOFED DRAFT:

sample code: DRS55064-LB-52* (1/29)

Here are the difference from the codes on the unproofed draft:

The year has been replaced with a code indicating several other pieces of informnation. 

  1. DR” means draft,
  2. S” or “H” the house of origin
  3.  the first digit 5 is the code # for the bill typist, and
  4. the remaining digits 5064 indicates the typist’s sequential number in finding the hard copy of the file.

The version number is dropped in the proofed draft.

When the bill is filed in the clerk’s office, a bill number is stamped on the hard copy, but the file with the codes is posted on the internet. After the bill is read the first time and referred to committee, the first edition is printed (“1″ in the upper right corner) and all the codes drop off. Both the unproofed and proofed drafts had a “D” for draft in the upper right corner of the bill.
 
 


Substantive bill requests up 40%

February 15, 2007

North Carolina bill drafting requests climb 40% over 2005; cumulative totals through week 4 

North Carolina legislative staff have received 1,399 substantive bill drafting requests by the end of the fourth week of the 2007 Regular Session today, up 40% compared  with the same point in the 2005 Regular Session. At the end of 3 weeks, the increase had been 35%.

2005     2007          CHANGE
RESEARCH DIVISION 133 184 +38.35%
DRAFTING DIVISION 866 1215 +40.30%
GRAND TOTAL 999 1399 +40.04%

Week 4 requests

During the period February 9-15, 2007, staff received 257 substantive bill requests, compared with 156 requests during the comparable period in the 2005 session, a 64% increase. 

 Blank bill requests drop

Blank bill requests are down 85% from 2005, dropping from 279 requests in 2005 to 43 in 2007. Senators are limited to two blank bill filings for the biennium, while the new House temporary rules do not allow blank bills. In 2005 there were no blank bill limits for the long session.


Senate local bill request deadline February 27th

February 14, 2007

The first North Carolina Senate bill deadline is Tuesday, February 27, 2007. Requests for Senate local bills must be received by bill drafting staff by 4 pm that day.  Bill in that category must be filed in the Senate Principal Clerk’s office by 3 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2007. The eight day gap is to allow drafting staff adequate time to prepare the legislation and to obtain any additional information and documents.


Substantive Bill requests up 35% over 2005: week 3 totals

February 8, 2007

North Carolina Legislative Staff sees same steady 35% increase in bill requests three consecutive weeks

North Carolina legislative staff have received 1,142 substantive bill drafting requests by the end of the third week of the 2007 Regular Session today, up 35.47% compared  with the same point in the 2005 Regular Session.   This a slight increase in the rate of increase from the 34.85% reported last week and the 35.07%  reported two weeks ago. The 2007 increase through three weeks was 41.80% in the Research Division and 34.40% in the Bill Drafting Division.

2005     2007          CHANGE
RESEARCH DIVISION 122 173 +41.80%
DRAFTING DIVISION 721 969 +34.40%
GRAND TOTAL 843 1142 +35.47%

Blank bill requests drop due to new rules 

Blank bill requests are down 91% from 2005, dropping from 227 requests in 2005 to 21 in 2007. Senators are limited to two blank bill filings for the biennium, while the new House temporary rules do not allow blank bills. In 2005 there were no blank bill limits for the long session.


2007 Temporary House Rules in one document

February 8, 2007

The 2007 North Carolina House of Representative temporary rules, derived from House Resolution 318 (2005) and House Resolutions 1 and 128 (2007), have been incorporated in one document.


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