Commentary, News

Lengthy legislative session wraps-up with some controversial provisions saved for 2016 (video)

A strong push by city and county governments, the LGBT community, and consumer rights advocates successfully prevented the General Assembly from adopting sweeping language Tuesday to limit local control.

Provisions inserted in Senate Bill 279 would have prevented local government leaders from enforcing fair housing requirements, employment protections for LGBT individuals, or even increasing the local minimum wage.

Rep. John Blust asked fellow Republican Rep. Paul Stam why the local pre-emption bill was being rushed through the House in the session’s final hours without a committee hearing or public in-put.

Rep. Stam’s response:

“The Senate insisted on this procedure for this bill.”

Guilford County Rep. Pricey Harrison said the legislation was “flat wrong” in its approach to preventing local governments from enacting progressive policies:

“I’m particularly concerned about the impact on some of Greensboro’s forward-thinking policies regarding employment non-discrimination and housing non-discrimination.”

After hours of intense debate in both chambers and on social media the local government restrictions were removed from the bill.

How did other items fare in the session’s final hours?

Approved – House Bill 318 – places work requirements on childless, able-bodied adults who are receiving food stamps

ApprovedA $2 billion bond proposal for statewide infrastructure improvements now heads to Governor McCrory’s desk. 

Rejected – Voucher expansion – legislation that would have found $2.8 million to expand “Opportunity Scholarships” to kindergarten and first-grade students fell by the wayside on a 24-26 vote.

Withdrawn but likely to return – Charter School Funding (House Bill 539) – A move that would have required traditional public schools to give more money to charter schools was withdrawn from consideration. Look for this bill to re-emerge in 2016.

Legislators are set to return to Raleigh on April 25th.  That’s 208 days from today, but who’s counting?

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