House budget writers have slowed down passage of the appropriations bill in anticipation of good news about more money being available from the Department of Revenue. House Democrats plan to spend any additional money on education, reducing the Medicaid burden on counties, and giving income tax relief to the working poor. House leaders still anticipate passage of their budget early next month. The measure will then go to the Senate and lawmakers will try to approve a final version before the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, 2007. The pace of business in the House continues to quicken as we approach the May 17th "crossover deadline" which is the date non-funding bills must pass the chamber in which they were introduced in order to remain eligible for consideration during this two-year biennium. For the next several weeks committees will hold extra meetings and floor sessions will run long so bill sponsors will have the opportunity to pass their legislation.
My colleagues and I continued to work on many important policy issues. A House committee has recommended changing the way criminal investigators perform suspect identification lineups, another approved measures protecting residents near hazardous waste facilities, and another committee is considering ways to open birth records for adoptees.
Please remember that you can listen to each day's session, committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly's website at www.ncleg.net. Once on the site, select "audio," and then make your selection - House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room, or Press Conference Room.