NC floor amendments online

January 31, 2009

We’ve added another upgrade to the North Carolina legislative website — copies of floor amendments beginning with opening day of the 2009 Regular Session. In the past, to get a floor amendment, you had to go to the bill books in either of the two legislative libraries, where copies of all amendments were filed  within 24 hours with the bill they relate to.

Now, floor amendments (whether passed or failed) will be scanned and uploaded with a link to the bill status page.  For example, there were three floor amendments to Senate Resolution 1. For those amendments prepared by staff, the barcode when scanned links the amendment to the correct bill status page.  The upload is NOT a MSWord document, but a .pdf of a scan (note the three amendments  to SR1 all have handwritten material on them), and some floor amendments are entirely in handwriting.

Here is a cut and paste of the bill status page for SR1, note the hotlinks to the amendments: Read the rest of this entry »

Archived audio of 2009 NC House now online

January 30, 2009

Archive audio of daily North Carolina House of Representatives floor sessions is now available on the official North Carolina House website.

I had noted last year that voterradio. com had archived audio of the 2008 House and Senate sessions online.

Receding and depressing bill filing historical stats

January 28, 2009

Interestingly, the number of bills filed in North Carolina has dropped during bad economic times. During the eight-month long  2001 recession, bill filings dropped by 3% between 1999 and 2001; during the 1990-1991 recession, there was a sharper 32.3% drop from 1989 to 1991; while at the start of the Great Depression the filings dropped 32.3% between 1929 and 1931. While I was not around here in 1929, the big drop in 1991 was due to almost no special appropriations bills being filed, which there had been a glut of the previous biennium. If history repeats itself, our printing costs should drop.

2001 3,320
1999 3,437

1993 4,271
1991 2,990
1989 4,053
1987 4,528

1931 2,155
1929 3,184
1927 3,362

data source:

2009 NC bill deadlines

January 28, 2009

Here are the North Carolina General Assembly House and Senate deadlines for getting bill drafting requests to staff, filing those bills, and crossover when non-money bills must clear one house. The deadlines can also be found here on the Legislative website.




2009 House Deadlines 



To Bill Drafting

by 4 pm

Filed in House

by 3 pm Wednesdays

Local Bills


Wednesday, March 18

April 1

Public Bills

(Not Appropriations or Finance)


Thursday, March 26

April 8

Appropriations and Finance

Wednesday, April 22

May 6




2009 Senate Deadlines



To Bill Drafting

by 3 pm

Filed in Senate

by 3 pm Wednesdays



Tuesday, March 3

March 11 

Public & Resolutions


Friday, March 13

March 25


Crossover Deadline Thursday May 14

NC Bill filing deadlines in 2009

January 20, 2009

 I’m getting a lot of inquiries about the bill filing deadlines for the North Carolina General Assembly’s 2009 Regular Session, which convenes January 28.  Those deadlines have not been set — typically, they appear in the temporary or permanent rules adopted the first day of session.

new email addresses over at the NCGA, but don’t worry

January 15, 2009

Our primary email addresses at the NC General Assembly have changed again, though the old ones will still operate as aliases for the forseeable future, so need to worry about your address books.

When we moved into the internet age in the late 1990s, we started with the balky email server and domain name <> Now, THAT was a mouthful. Evenetually, we went to <> as an easier to remember moniker. Mail sent to <> still automatically forwards!

Before the @, we used to be firstnamelastinitial  which lead to a lot of problems when different persons had the same first name and the same first letter of a last name, we kept adding letters, like (all hypothetical names) in order of employment: Pat Richards Pat Richardson Pat Ricco

Now, we we have moved to firstname.lastname  or when two persons have the same first and last name, the second one gets firstname.middleinitial.lastname

For those of you out there using our email addresses, no need to change them, though I found that when I changed from gerryc to gerry.cohen at the beginning of the month, listservs began rejecting my posts as they could not find me on their list of approved senders/members.

I’m not listing any full email addresses in this post lest they be indexed by spambot spiders and my spam increases from 98% to 99%, but you can find me at gerry.cohen @ (remove spaces) instead of gerryc @ (remove spaces). 

gerryc @ still works

My first internet email address?  Spam that at will, I closed my account in 1995.

NC General Statutes updated through 2008 online

January 15, 2009

The North Carolina General Assembly website now contains the North Carolina General Statutes updated to include enactments in 2008. Thanks to all our IT people, bill typists, proofreaders, The Revisor of Statute’s Office at the North Carolina Department of Justice and the folks at Westlaw for getting this done.

Formatting changes mean shorter NC bills, less paper

January 12, 2009

Effective for the 2009 Regular Session of the North Carolina General Assembly, we are making formatting changes to all new legislative drafting documents (drafts, bills, amendments, proposed committee substitutes, conference reports, and conference committee substitutes). This should enable a significant reduction in the number of pages many legislative documents take, reducing printing and processing costs and speeding production. A test of the formatting changes showed that one bill that was 200 pages under the old formatting was reduced to 163 pages with the formatting changes, an 18.5% reduction.

The primary change was to reduce the font on legislative documents  from 13 point to 12 point.

Here are the other changes:
All Documents:
• Top Margin will be 0.6 inches (currently 1.0 inches)
• Bottom Margin will be 0.5 inches (currently 0.75 inches)
• Header and Footer Distance will be 0.25 inches from the page margin (currently 0.50 inches)
• Bar code will be added to the front page of every document. (This will enable more automated processing of documents, although no automation using the bar code is planned at the beginning of the session. This will take up about a line of space on the first page only.)

Proposed Committee Substitutes, and Proposed Conference Committee Substitutes:
• 2 extra blank lines will be removed from the first page header, immediately after the Bill History.

Amendments and Conference Reports:
• The State Seal will be removed from the  header on all pages except for page 1.
• Three lines (see below) in the header of the amendment will be moved up 3 lines and will share the space that contains the date:
Comm. Sub. [xx]
Amends Title [xx]
xx Edition

Draft bills now circulating that were produced after January 5 are in the new format. Drafts done earlier will be converted at the time they are prepared for filing.

149th NC General Assembly convenes January 28, 2009

January 12, 2009

The General Assembly of North Carolina will convene at 12:00 noon January 28, 2009 in the State Legislative Building in Raleigh. This will be the 149th session of the General Assembly, counting from the first assembly elected under the Constitution of 1776 (the official count of 148 apparently omits one of the sessions listed in John Cheney’s North Carolina Government 1585-1979). The General Assembly has convened at the seat of government in Raleigh since 1794. Before then, it met at various times in New Bern, Halifax, Hillsborough, Fayetteville, Tarborough, and Smithfield.

(history courtesy Cathy Martin, Legislative Librarian)

Franklin Freeman’s legislative service (and some of our folk)

January 5, 2009
the Charlotte Observer’s Mark Johnson had an excellent piece yesterday on Franklin Freeman, most recently Governor Easley’s legislative liason, noting that
“Freeman is leaving after four decades of public service in two branches of state government and daily interaction with the leaders of the third.”
The article does not mention that Franklin was chief page in the State Senate, working 45 days in the 1963 session!
  Read the rest of this entry »


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