Brooks Pierce Capital Dispatch: Legislators Consider Bills Before Crossover and Pass New Abortion Bill
It was a very busy week at the General Assembly. Legislators considered dozens of bills to meet the May 4 crossover deadline (the date by which policy bills must pass one chamber to remain eligible).
The week of May 8 will not be as busy since the House has announced it will not take recorded votes. Activity will pick back up the week of May 15 as Senate leaders have announced they plan to consider their version of the budget bill (H 259) that week.
Both chambers late this week passed a conference committee report (S 20) governing abortion and women’s health care issues. The House approved the bill by 71 to 46 and the Senate approved it by 29 to 20.
Under the new law, abortion would be permitted through the first twelve weeks of pregnancy for any reason (a change from the current law of twenty weeks), through the twentieth week of pregnancy if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, through the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy if there is a “life limiting anomaly” in the unborn child, and at any time if there is a medical emergency for the pregnant woman. It also would appropriate funds for long-term birth control, increase the Medicaid rate for obstetrics maternal bundle payments, and expand the practice authority of Certified Nurse Midwifes. Gov. Roy Cooper has indicated that he intends to veto the bill. It would take a vote of 60 percent of the members present and voting in both chambers to override the veto.
UNC Health Changes
The Senate this week unanimously approved a bill (S 743) that makes significant changes at the University of North Carolina Health System.
Among other things, the bill would give the System the ability to enter into cooperative agreements with any other entity for the provision of health care, including the “acquisition, allocation, sharing, or joint operation of hospitals or any other health care facilities or health care provider, without regard to their effect on market competition.” Such agreements would not be subject to state and federal antitrust laws.
The bill now goes to the House for consideration.
Daylight Saving Time
The House this week approved a bill (H 326) that would have North Carolina observe Daylight Saving Time year round if authorized by the U.S. Congress. The vote in favor of the bill was 93 to 24.
Regulatory Reform Bills
As in past sessions, “regulatory reform” bills have been introduced in both chambers. These bills cover a variety of topics ranging from operation of state agencies to regulatory and environmental issues.
This year’s House regulatory reform bill (H 600) cleared that chamber on Thursday and was sent to the Senate. The typical process is for the Senate either to amend the House bill and then the two chambers resolve differences between their bill versions or the Senate may pass its regulatory reform bill (S 686) and send it to the House.
Information about bills and work of the General Assembly can be found at its website: www.ncleg.gov.
For more information, contact a member of the Brooks Pierce Government Affairs Team.