Term limits

Bills filed as NC legislature begins in earnest

A look at some of the bills filed at the North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday, the first work day for the 2013 session:

— House and Senate Republicans filed bills identical bills that would block the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and leave it to the federal government to build the state’s online marketplace for health insurance. The Senate version was expected to be heard in committee Thursday and possibly reach the floor later in the day.

— A House bill makes clear group homes — not just adult care homes — can benefit from $40 million set aside last summer to provide financial stability to facilities that provide personal care services for residents who no longer qualify for Medicaid coverage. House Republicans aimed to put the measure on the floor Thursday. (unregulated group homes–a breeding ground for fraud and using funds that licensed adult care homes could be using)

— A House bill would let voters decide whether to place in the state constitution the state’s right-to-work status — meaning union membership can’t be a requirement for employment and other provisions. Other proposed amendments in the bill would make clear collective bargaining between local or state governments and unions is illegal and would affirm the right of workers to vote by secret ballot to determine whether they want union representation. House Speaker Thom Tillis, (R-ALEC) R-Mecklenburg, and Senate leader Phil Berger, (R-ALEC) R-Rockingham, have said they’re interested in a right-to-work amendment. (Of course they are, it’s ALEC’s goal to eliminate all unions.)

— Another proposed amendment in a House bill would let voters decide whether private property condemnation by state or local governments should be barred except for a “public use,” such as highways or government buildings. Similar bills have passed in the House only in previous sessions.

— Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, filed his own constitutional amendment that would make the superintendent of public instruction an appointed position, rather than the current elected position. Legislators and the public have debated the issue for decades.

— Tillis is the primary sponsor of a bill that would amend the state constitution to limit the time a speaker or Senate leader can serve in the post to four years. A term-limits bill passed the House in 2011, but Berger has preferred limiting the time to eight years.

— As expected, Tillis is the primary sponsor of a bipartisan bill that would again seek to give $50,000 to the living victims of North Carolina’s previous forced sterilization program. A similar bill passed the House in 2012, but Senate Republicans wouldn’t support it. House Minority Leader Larry Hall, D-Durham, also is a primary sponsor.

— A bill filed by Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, would raise the mandatory retirement age for judges from 72 to 75.

— Some House Republicans are again seeking to allow concealed weapon permit holders to bring their guns into restaurants where alcohol is served unless there’s a notice prohibiting them from doing so. A similar provision was debated in 2011 but ultimately did not remain in a gun-carry bill that ultimately became law. The bill also would exempt from public records laws the information collected by local sheriffs from people with concealed handgun permits.

— A bill filed by Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, would revoke the driver’s license of a motorist who passes a stopped school bus that’s picking or dropping off passengers for as long as three years if the action results in fatally striking someone.

— House members filed a bill creating new or tougher penalties for people who make methamphetamine or who possess a key ingredient in making meth after they’ve already been convicted previously of making meth.

New Michigan Law in the Works to Destroy Public Education

A posthumous legacy of Michigan’s 96th Legislature — some ugly unfinished business the state can expect to see lead the parade of bills introduced in the new session:

Neophyte Republican party hard-liner, Lisa Posthumus-Lyons rode the coat-tails of her daddy, Dick Posthumus, into the Michigan House in 2010. After his failed gubernatorial race and loss to Jennifer Granholm, Dick worked his backroom corporate affiliations, and the father-daughter team surfed their well-greased skids into power positions within the Snyder Administration. The 32 year old freshman lawmaker, Lisa Posthumus-Lyons, fresh out of dabbling in the real estate business, was appointed Chair of the House Education Committee when the previous occupant, Rep. Paul Scott, was recalled.

Upon election, Snyder named the elder Posthumus as his senior advisor and legislative lobbyist. The appointment of Posthumus, a Michigan farmer with extensive legislative experience (having been the longest serving Senate Majority Leader in Michigan’s history) should have been the first clue that the Snyder administration would be nothing like the one painted in the campaign. More →