RALEIGH — The North Carolina General Assembly’s long session deadline for bills to be eligible for enactment into law, known as “crossover,” ended on May 4.
Crossover is the date by which most bills must pass from one chamber to the other to be eligible for consideration for the remainder of the session, but there are some exceptions.
The rules for bills exempted from the crossover deadline are similar in both chambers with some small differences.
Both chambers exempt bills such as those addressing elections, finance, appropriations, district maps, appointments, nominations, amendments to the U.S. Constitution or the North Carolina Constitution, and adjournment resolutions.
The one small difference in the rules of the House allows bills introduced on the report of the Committees on Appropriations, Finance, or Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House to be exempt from the deadline.
A total of 704 bills were introduced in the Senate and 895 introduced in the House during the 2023-24 long session.
Of the bills filed this session, 402 are on the crossover list posted on the General Assembly’s website.
Of that total, 272 are House bills, including 44 with a matching Senate companion bill. In the Senate, 129 bills made it through, including 19 with a matching companion House bill.
Bills that have a companion in the opposite chamber typically signal a priority item and can have bipartisan support and momentum behind them. They can be recognized on the crossover list with an equal sign between two bills, such as “Senate Bill 53 (= House Bill 41).”
Regular legislative sessions known as “long sessions” at the General Assembly start in January of odd-numbered years.
Bills to watch in the coming weeks include House Bill 574, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which bars biological males from female sports teams, and the bill allowing for medical use of marijuana, the Compassionate Care Act (Senate Bill 3).
Two bills dealing with adult entertainment likely to see passage include House Bill 673, which places age restrictions on certain adult entertainment, and Senate Bill 579, titled Prevent Harm to Children, which raises the penalty for disseminating obscenity from a Class I (3-12 months) to a Class H (4-25 months) felony.
Another bill to watch is House Bill 808, Surgical Gender Trans./Minors. The bill seeks to prohibit health care practitioners from providing or referring out surgical gender transition procedures to minors.
Education-related bills to keep an eye out for include Senate Bill 142, the Protect our Students Act; Senate Bill 49, the Parents’ Bill of Rights; House Bill 26, the education omnibus bill; and House Bill 824, Teacher licensure changes. Additionally, House Bill 98, which prohibits students from being required to have a COVID-19 shot to attend school, also made crossover.
The full list of crossover bills can be accessed on the General Assembly’s website at ncleg.gov.
Four bills became law without Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature prior to crossover, including three bills that Cooper vetoed in the prior session: Senate Bill 53 (Hotel Safety Issues), House Bill 40 (Prevent Rioting and Civil Disorder) and House Bill 11 (Schools for the Deaf and Blind).
Additionally, Senate Bill 157, Limited Provisional License Modification, also passed the 10-day action window and became law without the governor’s signature on May 6.
There was one veto of a bill this session, Senate Bill 41, a firearms package titled Guarantee 2nd Amendment Freedom and Protections, that, among other things, repealed the state’s pistol permit purchase law. The veto was overridden by both chambers within days of the veto being issued and was the legislature’s first successful veto override since July 2018.
Cooper later issued a second veto on Senate Bill 20, which reduces elective abortions from 20 weeks to 12. That veto was quickly overridden by both chambers of the legislature.
So far, Cooper has issued 77 vetoes during his two-year tenure, which represents 69% of all vetoes issued by North Carolina governors that had veto power during their tenure.
The four governors who preceded Cooper had issued a combined total of 35 vetoes: Gov. Jim Hunt had none, while Gov. Mike Easley had 9, Gov. Beverly Perdue 20 and Gov. Pat McCrory six.