Last week marked the state legislature’s “crossover”, a self-imposed deadline in which bills must pass at least one chamber, either the state House or Senate, in order to have a chance of becoming law this session. In total, 336 House bills and 156 Senate bills cleared the crossover deadline.
Among the flurry of bill filing, there were some notable highs like House Bill 608 which would limit use of shackles on pregnant incarcerated women and several lows with bills relaxing rules on guns, including a bill that allows concealed carry in churches on school grounds, restricting abortion access for individuals and limiting a governor’s powers in a state of emergency just to name a few.
- Many bills pushed by Republicans were unnecessary and were merely solutions in search of problems. One notable bill, House Bill 47, would allow elected officials who hold concealed weapons permits to bring their guns into places that are currently prohibited by state law. The bill does not require elected officials to undergo additional training and disregards the money already spent on additional metal detectors and increased staff at the General Assembly.
- Republicans also passed bills aimed at consolidating their hold on power by giving House and Senate leaders veto power over some legal settlements negotiated by the state Attorney General, limiting a governor’s powers in a state of emergency and stripping North Carolina voters from their constitutional right to vote.
- While Republicans pushed for their own agenda, several criminal justice measures prompted by Democrats cleared the deadline, along with a bill that increased the state’s minimum age for legal marriage from 14 to 16.
- Yet, a host of common sense bills spearheaded by Democrats were left on the table, with several not able to get through before the deadline. Those included legislation dealing with maternal health among women of color, Medicaid expansion and bail reform.
What’s Next? In the aftermath of the crossover deadline, bills that have to do with taxing, or spending that can be placed in the state budget are still eligible to advance this year and next, even if it hasn’t been passed in one chamber by the crossover week deadline.
Most notably, several Democrat-sponsored bills in both the House and Senate that propose decriminalization, legalization of medical marijuana or full legalization, haven’t passed but remain eligible for consideration due to possible financial changes within the state budget surrounding courts and prisons.