Hartsell signs a bill

June 1, 2009

Hartsell signs bill
Hartsell signs bill

When Senator Fletcher Hartsell signed Senate Bill 750 on May 28, 2009, he became since at least 1945 the first rank and file Senator to sign a bill as part of the enrollment and ratification process. The North Carolina Constitution in Article II, Section 22 requires the “presiding officer” of each house to sign the bill before it becomes law. The signature is the certification of the presiding officer that the enrolled bill, a transcribed and substituted copy,  is the same as the bill that passed both houses of the General Assembly.  After ratification, public bills move on to the Governor’s office for action, while local bills (those affecting 15 or fewer counties) become law when the second presiding officer signs.

The North Carolina Constitution of 1776 required the Speakers of both houses to sign legislation (there was no Lieutenant Governor back then, and the Senate elected a Speaker just like the House).  The Constitution of 1868 substituted a requirement that the “presiding officer” sign the bills.  It was not until 1947 that the Senate adopted a rule on the subject, prescribing that only the President of the Senate could sign bills, an authority expanded to the President Pro Tempore in 1985 and to the Deputy President Pro Tempore in 1999. Finally, the 2009 Senate amended Rule 66 to allow the President Pro Tempore to designate another Senator as presiding officer to sign bills and resolutions.  Whether any rank-and-file Senator signed any bills between 1868 and 1945 is unknown.
In the House, the matter is different.  House Rule 55 allows the Speaker “or other presiding officer” to sign bills, while Rule 6 allows the Speaker to designate another member to preside.  It is not the custom for the Speaker to designate someone other than the Speaker Pro Tempore to sign bills, however. Our database shows the names of all bill signatories since 1991, since then only Session Law 2003-11 was signed by in the House by someone other than the Speaker or Speaker Pro Tempore. (The House had two Speakers that session, they alternated signing bills on the day they were Speaker, but on April 10, 2003 Richard T. Morgan signed a bill on a day Jim Black was Speaker, so he signed it as “presiding officer”.)
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Crossover deadline FAQ

May 1, 2009

I am getting a lot of emails and phone calls from members and others about the crossover deadline.  While questions requiring definitive answers are best directed to leadersip offices and the rules committee chairs, here are some basics:  

1) The crossover rules are set out in the House Rules and Senate Rules.  

2) The rules on crossover for House bills are set by the Senate Rules, the rules on crossover for Senate bills are set by the House rules.  

3) Although the language varies slightly, the basic point of the rule is that a bill is exempt from crossover if it is a public bill that appropriates money or has a substantial impact on the budget this biennium or in the future, or is a public or local bill that has to do with taxes, fees, or bond issues. Not included in the exemptions are bills that merely raise or impose or change fines for criminal offenses or impose or change civil penalties.  

4) The rule applies to a bill as it exists when it passes the house that originates it.  In other words, it is not significant what is in the bill today or on May 14, but what is in the bill when it passes third reading in the first house.  

5) The fact that a bill is in the appropriations or finance committee now, or has a serial referral to one of those committees is a good indicator that the current version of the bill is exempt from crossover, but the test is whether the rules REQUIRE the bill to go to one of those committees. As explained in #4 above, the test is actually applied based on what is in the bill when it passes third reading in the first house.  

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Here is the full text of the applicable rules   Senate Rule 41:

RULE 41. Crossover bill deadline. – In order to be eligible for consideration by the Senate during the 2009 or 2010 Regular Sessions of the  2009 General Assembly, all House bills other than those required to be referred to the Committee on Finance or the Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget by Rule 42 or adjournment resolutions must be received and read on the floor of the Senate as a message from the House no later than  Thursday,  May 14, 2009, provided that a message from the House received by the next legislative day stating that a bill has passed its third reading and is being engrossed shall comply with the requirements of this rule and provided that the House accepts Senate bills ordered engrossed on the next legislative day.

 Senate Rule 42:

RULE 42. Reference of appropriation and finance bills. – (a) All bills introduced in the Senate providing for appropriations from the State, or any subdivision thereof, shall, before being considered by the Senate, be referred to the Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget and bills referred to other committees carrying any such provisions shall be reported to the Senate as being bills to be referred to the Appropriations/Base Budget Committee before proper action may be taken by the Senate.

(b)        All bills introduced in the Senate providing for bond issues, imposing or raising fees or other revenues payable to the State, its agencies, its licensing boards, or any of its subdivisions, levying taxes, or in any manner affecting the taxing power of the State or any subdivision thereof, shall, before being considered by the Senate, be referred to the Committee on Finance, and bills referred to other committees carrying any such provisions shall be reported to the Senate as being bills to be referred to the Committee on Finance before proper action may be taken by the Senate.

(c)        This rule shall not apply to bills imposing civil penalties, criminal fines, forfeitures, or penalties for infractions.

House Rule 31.1(e)

(e)        In order to be eligible for consideration by the House during the first Regular Session, all Senate bills other than finance or appropriations bills which would be required to be re‑referred to the Appropriations or Finance Committee under Rule 38 or adjournment resolutions must be received and read on the floor of the House as a message from the Senate no later than Thursday, May 14, 2009; provided that a message from the Senate received by the next legislative day stating that a bill has passed its third reading and is being engrossed shall comply with the requirements of this subsection and provided that the Senate has a similar rule.

House Rule 38:

RULE 38. Reports on Appropriation and Revenue Bills. – (a) All standing committees, other than the Standing Committees on Appropriations, when favorably reporting any bill or resolution which:

(1)        Carries an appropriation from the State; or

(2)        Requires or will require in the future substantial additional State monies from the General Fund or Highway Fund to implement its provisions shall indicate same in the report, and said bill or resolution shall be referred to the Standing Committees on Appropriations for a further report before being acted upon by the House.

(b)        All standing committees, other than the Standing Committee on Finance, when favorably reporting any bill which in any way or manner raises revenue, reduces revenue, levies a tax, authorizes the levying of a tax, an assessment, or a fee, or authorizes the issue of bonds or notes, whether public, public‑local, or private*, shall indicate same in the report, and said bill shall be referred to the Standing Committee on Finance for a further report before being acted upon by the House. This subsection shall not apply to bills only imposing fines, forfeitures, or penalties.

(c)        Action on Amendment Before Re‑Referral. – If any standing committee recommends adoption of an amendment or committee substitute of a bill which, under the rules of the House, must be referred to the Standing Committees on Appropriations or the Standing Committee on Finance, the amendment or committee substitute shall be considered and, if adopted, the amendment or substitute engrossed before the bill is re‑referred.

*While the House rules refer to “public, public‑local, or private” bills, this should be read as “public or local”, as the terms “public-local” and “private” were merged into the word “local” by the 1943 General Assembly when the General Statutes were first enacted February 4, 1943, but the terms still persist in this rule. I am sure some session we will get around to changing the reference.


2009 NC legislative rules online

February 2, 2009

Rules for the 2009 Regular Session of the North Carolina General Assembly are now online:

The Senate permanent rules are here, while for the House of Representatives  you need to look at the House temporary rules for 2009, which reference the permanent rules for 2007 with updated deadlines.


short session authorizing resolutions explained

May 12, 2008

I have had several requests recently to explain “authorizing resolutions” for the 2008 short session of the North Carolina General Assembly

 
The adjournment resolution lists ten categories of bills that can be considered in the short session:
(1)    state budget and state tax bills,
(2)    state constitutional amendments,
(3)    bills that passed one house in 2007,
(4)    bills recommended by study commissions and select committees in the interim,
(5)    noncontroversial local bills,
(6)    appointments,
(7)    state and local pension bills
(8)    joint resolutions allowed under the rules,
(9)    adjournment resolutions, and
(10)   bills disapproving administrative rules.
 
It then allows bills that are not otherwise eligible to be considered in the following circumstance:
 
“(7)       Any matter authorized by joint resolution passed during the 2008 Regular Session by a two‑thirds majority of the members of the House of Representatives present and voting and by a two‑thirds majority of the members of the Senate present and voting. A bill or resolution filed in either house under the provisions of this subdivision shall have a copy of the ratified enabling resolution attached to the jacket before filing for introduction in the Senate or introduction in the House of Representatives.”
 
In order to use this provision, the member needs to have the substantive bill drafted and also ask the drafting staff to prepare the “authorizing resolution”, which lists the title of the bill proposed to be authorized. The member may ask for an authorizing resolution at the same time the substantive request is made. The member files the authorizing resolution, and when passed by two-thirds vote of each house and ratified, the member may then introduce the main bill.
 
Here is how many authorizing resolutions were ratified in each short session the past 20 years:
2006:     7
2004:     0
2002:     1
2000:     0
1998:     0
1996:     9
1994:     5
1992:    37
1990:    31
1988:    11
 
Here is what one authorizing resolution that passed looks like:
 

A JOINT RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE 2005 GENERAL ASSEMBLY, REGULAR SESSION 2006, TO CONSIDER A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT ALLOWING THE STATE LICENSING BOARD OF GENERAL CONTRACTORS TO EXTEND THE PERIOD IN WHICH A LICENSE REMAINS IN EFFECT AFTER A PERSON LICENSED ON BEHALF OF A FIRM OR CORPORATION CEASES TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THAT FIRM OR CORPORATION.

 

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

 

SECTION 1.  The 2005 General Assembly, Regular Session 2006, may consider “A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT ALLOWING THE STATE LICENSING BOARD OF GENERAL CONTRACTORS TO EXTEND THE PERIOD IN WHICH A LICENSE REMAINS IN EFFECT AFTER A PERSON LICENSED ON BEHALF OF A FIRM OR CORPORATION CEASES TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THAT FIRM OR CORPORATION.”

SECTION 2.  This resolution is effective upon ratification.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 15th day of June, 2006.


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.


House committee changes

February 8, 2007

The North Carolina House of Representatives temporary rules for the 2007 Session were amended to add, delete, and rename committees by House Resolution 128 on February 7, 2007, available in .pdf and html formats.    The House temporary rules were adopted on January 24, 2007.

 Changes are:

ADDITIONS:

Agribusiness and Agricultural Economy

Energy and Energy Efficiency

Juvenile Justice

Mental Health Reform

Read the rest of this entry »


House Temporary Rules – 2007

January 24, 2007

North Carolina House of Representatives temporary rules for the 2007 Session were adopted by House Resolution 1 on January 24, 2007, available in .pdf and html formats.    Those rules refer to the Permanent Rules from the 2005 Regular Session, (available in pdf  and html formats) as amended by House Resolution 1.

Deadlines from the 2007 rules are excerpted.