You are invited to share Canes season tickets

June 24, 2007

Join my season ticket group – deadline July 9 

For the 8th straight season, I’m organizing a Carolina Hurricanes season ticket group. Members share season tickets, benefitting from the lower price for season ticketholder and better seating based on my priority based on longevity as a season ticket holder. See the details below, if you want to join, send me an email by noon, Monday July 9.

Already for next season, we have 13 families as members, and we are sharing 9 seats on the upper level (304A1-5 and 303G22-25).  We have 7 legislative staff members, two employees of a trade association, one state employee, my next door neighbor and a coworker of his, and a friend.  I’ve had some interest from others, and here are the opportunities still available:

(click “read the rest of this entry” if you are interested)

Read the rest of this entry »

Tracking bills as the clock winds down

June 23, 2007

As the 2007 Regular Session of the North Carolina General Assembly winds down, there are a few bill tracking features on our website I’d like to point out:

1) Bill and joint resolutions that have been enacted, in order by enactment date, or by bill number. (136 as of June 23)

2) Public bills signed by the Governor.

3) Public bills vetoed by the Governor (move along, nothing here for this session, but a compendium of all vetoes since 1997)

4) Bills pending on the Governor’s desk (28 as of June 23)

5) Bills scheduled to be ratified (they have passed all parliamentary stages except signature by the presiding officers in the House and Senate). Ratification is the step before public bills go to the Governor or local bills become law.

6) Bill in conference (some sort of glitch here, nothing shows up, and I KNOW the budget is in conference).  UPDATE JUNE 24: FIXED!
7) General Statutes amended by bills enacted in 2007

Most of these reports are current within a day, but some actions Thursday evening and Friday (and the weekend, too) by the Governor are often not shown until Monday afternoon.

There also lots of other reports available on our bill reports page.

NC House electronic cosponsorship all the rage

June 20, 2007

NC House allows members to co-sponsor bills online, new feature used 4,284 times in 2007 

Reading members signatures was a drag

Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives can cosponsor bills by signing the bill jacket, either before the bill is filed or up until 30 minutes after the adjournment of the session where it gets first reading.  One of the biggest drudge jobs in the House Principal Clerk’s office used to be figuring out based on handwriting who had signed onto the bill as a cosponsor.  This often delayed processing of the bills.  Down the line, the bill typing section (part of my office) then had to type the member’s names into the bill itself before the bill could be printed.


The process of signing the bills, especially on deadline days, was also difficult, converting the floor and the clerk’s office into bazaars where bills were passed around to be signed or long lines of members formed to look at the bills, which often numbered over 200 a day at deadline.

 Electronic sponsorship added to House Rules this year

This year’s permanent House rules for the first time allowed members to sponsor bills electronically from a secure web page on our network, and Rule 59 gave an incentive to use this by extending the sponsorship deadline to one hour after session if done electronically. The Principal Clerk was allowed to establish procedures for this function. Electronic cosponsorship is available beginning when the bill is filed on the clerk’s office and the clerk’s office posts the bill and it becomes a public document.


Implementation of electronic cosponsorship in the North Carolina House was the brainchild of Principal Clerk Denise Weeks, who told me “It was my idea to implement this program.  I sent out an inquiry to the ASLCS  listserv to see if any states had anything similar and found that Florida did.  Our Information Systems Division (ISD) contacted Florida programmers and took it from there.  We worked with ISD to develop an application suitable for our needs and then members of my staff provided training to the members which takes less than 5 minutes.” The practice screen used in member training is shown at the bottom of the post.

 35% of all cosponsorships in the House handled online

Statistics from our Information Systems Division showed that the 2,058 House bills had a total of 4,304 primary sponsors, all of which required original signatures of the sponsors (the rules allow one to four principal sponsors on a bill). There were 13,740 cosponsorships (an average of 6.6 per bill), of which 4,824 were electronic, 35% of the total (an average of 2.3 per bill). The bill with the highest number of electronic cosponsorships was House Bill 1720, (Honor North Carolina National Guard) with 29 of the 38 signing up online.

Read the rest of this entry »

GA creates Program Evaluation Division

June 20, 2007

This just in from Legislative Services Officer George Hall: 

FROM:            George Hall

SUBJECT:       Program Evaluation Division 

This is to announce that by authority of the Legislative Services Commission and pursuant to SL 2007-78 (SB 1132), the Program Evaluation Division has been created in the Legislative Services Office.   Also by authority of the Legislative Services Commission I am pleased to announce the appointment of John Turcotte as Director of the Program Evaluation Division effective June 15, 2007.  John has a long and distinguished career in the program evaluation field serving as Director of the Mississippi and Florida programs. John’s office is located in Room 206A of the Legislative Office Building. 

UPDATE:  This story has been picked up by NCSL’s “Thicket at State Legislatures” blog.

NC Pumpkin Budget

June 15, 2007

I get a report each day from WordPress (my blog host) on how many hits this blog gets, and if a person got there from a Google search, what phrase was being searched for.

Today, someone came to my blog after searching:  NC Pumpkin Budget.

I wonder what that was about?

NC Legislative Press Corpse skits June 20

June 14, 2007

This just in via email:

 “The members of the N.C. Legislative Press Corps are delighted to invite everyone to our annual press skits night. It will be held Wednesday, June 20, at Temple Beth Or. The bar will open for socializing at 6:45 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. And yes, the 2007 press corps t-shirts have arrived.  If you have questions about the skits or t-shirts, please stop by the press room.”

 I’ll be there.


The Press Corpse has already sent out a correction of sorts:

 “The N.C. Capital Press Corps invites everyone to our annual press skits night.It will be held Wednesday, June 20, at Temple Beth Or, 5315 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. The event is free and open to all. Click this link for driving directions: The bar will open for socializing at 6:45 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. And yes, the 2007 press corps t-shirts have arrived. They cost $15. Personal checks and cash accepted. See you Wednesday night!”


I actually prefer my own map link to Temple Beth Or.

Drafting requests, found some really old stats

June 8, 2007

I’ve posted this session about staff workload, but I just found a memo I wrote to Legislative Services Officer George Hall on September 18, 1985 on the same subject. That memo covered the 1983 and 1985 long sessions, and I had made handwritten notes on the side about workload for the 1989 long session.  Here are the comparable number of bill drafting requests:

1983      1,852

1985      1,832

1989      3,282

2001      2,594        (2,993*)

2003      2,341        (2,865*)

2005      3,241        (3,733*)

2007      4,044**    (4,129*)

* includes blank bills, totals prior to 2001 do not distinguish between blank and substantive bill requests

** to date

graphics in a bill?

June 6, 2007

The National Conference of State Legislatures sent out an information request email yesterday to their bill drafting listserv that said:

“For an information request, I am researching some aspects of bill drafting.  Specifically, I’m trying to determine which states have rules/guidelines regarding inclusion of graphic aids or charts within the actual bill.  Do your legislature‘s bill drafting rules, laws or other regulations prohibit the use or inclusion of graphic aids or charts within the actual bill? If their use is prohibited, could you provide the actual language and it’s location?”

We have no policy for or against this in North Carolina, though I know of no case where this has happened in recent memory. When we rebound old volumes of session law a few years ago, I recalled seeing a map, and went back this morning to search, and voila! Below is the map, scanned from the North Carolina Public Laws of 1921, the actual map was 22×8.5″. Also included is a thumbnail of the first page of Chapter 2 of the 1921 North Carolina Public Laws, and a scan of a page in the act that says “A map showing the proposed roads to constitute the State highway system is hereto attached to this bill and made a part hereof” .

Image of the first page of Chapter 2 of the North Carolina Public Laws of 1921

The map bound into the North Carolina Public Laws of 1921:
The law with material highlighted:

Table of laws amended this year

June 4, 2007

The North Carolina legislative website has a page to search the General Statutes (our compliation of public laws) which is current to January 1, 2007 as well as searchable Session Laws, which goes back to 1963 and is current to bills that have become law during the 2007 Regular Session.

One of the lesser known research tools is a compilation updated several times per week that shows each General Statute and Session Law amended in 2007. It is organized by Chapter # for both law bases. On our Bills, SLs and NCGS Reports page, you can click on “NCGS and Session Laws Affected by 2007 Ratified Bills” to get the .pdf file.  The table even includes public bills on the Governor’s desk for action, these are distinguished with an “R” for ratified under the 2007 Session Law chapter number, indicating they have passed both houses but are not yet law.

word for the day: Enroll

June 1, 2007

en·roll also en·rol   (ěn-rōl’)  

2 : to prepare a final copy of (a bill passed by a legislature) in written or printed form

At the beginning of each legislative day’s session, the presiding oficer calls for bills ordered enrolled. In accordance with G.S. 120-33, “All bills passed by the General Assembly shall be enrolled for ratification under the supervision of the enrolling clerk.” They are then deposited with the Secretary of State.  Under G.S. 8-1 (last amended in 1826), “All statutes, or joint resolutions, passed by the General Assembly may be read in evidence from the printed statute book …”

So what is an enrolled bill, and what is the statute book or statute roll? The term “enrolling” came from the ancient English practice of writing down each act on a roll of parchment, to be signed at the top by the King.  The bill passed by Parliament was memorialized by writing it down, and ratified to show it was a true copy of the original.  According to a 1958 House of Lords publication, in the British Parliament, from where American legislative procedure originated,  prior to 1849 each act “… was written on a parchment roll, which might consist of a single skin, or more frequently of skin sewn to skin, until the roll took on formidable proportions. One of the longest is in fact nearly a quarter of a mile long, and took two men recently a whole day to re-wind … Other misunderstandings arise concerning the time-honoured phrase ‘the Statute Book’. Originally there was a ‘Statute Roll’ – at the end of a medieval Parliament a collection of those Acts of a Public character was made and given the title of the King’s regnal year; each particular Act forming a section, or a chapter, of the complete Statute, so that, e.g. the Vagabonds Act of 1383 became VII Ric. II, c.5.  … the ‘Statute Book’ was originally the Statute Roll.”

While we no longer prepare laws on a parchment roll, the process of preparing the enacted bill is still called “enrolling”. The Secretary of State annually binds all the session laws into large folio called the “statute book”, the printed session laws are copies of the originals of the acts.


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