Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Rep. Holliman told me today he believes the House will close shop up sometime next week.

Here's a brief piece I did today on the subject..

RALEIGH -- Lawmakers approved a budget but their work is not over just yet.

From the drought to gang issues, some big ticket items remain on lawmakers plates. They are trying to finish up by next week and won't be back until january.

Outside the legislature, advocacy groups continue to push lawmakers for approval of several bills.

A moratorium on forced annexations passed the House already, but it still needs Senate approval. The Senate has approved a bill to repeal the land transfer sales tax, but it needs House approval. Both face an uphill battle.

There is likely a week or two left and it's a fast and furious push for lawmakers looking to get their bills passed.

"We want enough time to take a look at it and see if it's something we want to accomplish," House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman (D-Davidson) said. "If it's something that's not needed we'll be back in January."

Before then lawmakers are still working to pass new laws defining gangs for the first time. Leaders hope to resolve that soon.

Drought proposals are a major focus among House and Senate members. The most current compromise gives the state power to force water restrictions but local governments can still decide who must conserve and how much.

"This issue is not going to go away," Rep. Holliman added. "We can't just wait to see where it goes. We know we're getting a little rain but we still have a drought problem in this state and we need to address it."

But some lawmakers are worried about pushing through this legislation too fast.

"There are some questions about seeding too much authority to the state government or providing local governments too much over people who are not under local rules," Sen. Minority Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said.

While there are a few big ticket items for lawmakers to take up, it's clear their goal is to leave as soon as possible with an election this fall. Rep. Holliman believes they will be out of raleigh sometime next week.

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