Legislative Report by David Ferrell

The legislature adjourned the 2017 “long” session at 2:00 a.m. Friday morning, wrapping up an approximate 6-month session that began in late January.
A press release from the Senate said it was the “second quickest” long session adjournment since 1973. This week the House and Senate worked long days and late into the evenings in a last push to have legislation considered and enacted this session. Many bills passed this week, and some were close, but did not quite make it into law.

When the legislature adjourns its “long session” in odd-numbered years, lawmakers typically do not return in a formal legislative session until the “short session” begins the following spring. Not this year. The adjournment resolution adopted by the House and Senate as one of their last acts of the session adds two more legislative sessions this year – one starting on August 3, and another starting on September 6.

In the August session, the legislature could address a variety of topics, including overriding any vetoes from Governor Roy Cooper, making appointments, approving bills currently in negotiations between the House and Senate or bills involving impeachment of an elected official, and responding to lawsuits — including any court order on redistricting. The September session will likely focus on state legislative redistricting, and the legislature could consider redistricting plans for judicial and prosecutorial districts as well. A plan to redraw judicial districts that was released this week did not move forward this session due to strong opposition from judges and others. The September session could also involve appointments, veto overrides, referendums on constitutional amendments and impeachment matters.

The adjournment resolution also includes a final deadline of November 15 for court-order legislative redistricting to be completed. However, the process could happen much earlier depending on the deadlines imposed by judges.

Once these 2017 sessions are adjourned, the General Assembly is scheduled to be out of session until they reconvene on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 12:00 noon for the 2018 “short” session.

As expected, on Tuesday of this week Governor Cooper vetoed the 2017 state budget bill. The Senate passed little time in voting to override the Governor’s veto, and did so on Tuesday by a vote of 34 to 14. The House voted to override the veto by a vote of 76 to 43 on Wednesday. So, the state budget bill took effect by the end of the state’s fiscal year, June 30.

I will begin preparing this year’s Final Legislative Report and will publish it later this summer. It will include a summary of all of the bills enacted by this year’s General Assembly that are of interest to the association, and some bills that were considered but not enacted.