On August 20, the North Carolina General Assembly adjourned sine die (Joint Res. 2014-8). The term sine die is from the Latin “without day;” this type of resolution means that the legislature did not set a date to return to Raleigh to continue the work of this legislative session. The House and Senate were considering several different adjournment resolutions and it looked like they might even return to Raleigh to take up additional legislative business after the elections in November. Ultimately, they opted to end the short session in August, which is fairly typical.
According to the resolution, the legislators will return in January to begin the 2015-16 biennium. It’s possible they could return to Raleigh sooner if the Governor reconvenes the legislature to reconsider vetoed legislation (NC Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 23) or the Governor or legislature calls an extra session (NC Constitution, Art III, Sec. 5; Art. II, Sec. 11). There have been a few rumors to that effect.
Now that it’s (probably) over, you may be wondering how can you learn more about the bills that actually passed. I have a few suggestions…
We will be hosting our annual Local Government Legislative Update Webinars on September 3 and September 9. Program details and registration links are available here. These webinars are designed to provide an overview of the most significant legislative changes that will impact local governments. Faculty members will review the bills and answer questions that are sent in during the program. If you are not able to join the live program, the on-demand version will be available later in September.
At the end of each session, SOG faculty members and staff typically prepare summaries of significant legislation in their fields. These summaries can come in different shapes and sizes – blog posts, conference handouts, and bulletins. We collect these in a centralized location on our website. We will be adding summaries as they are produced so check back periodically if you don’t find what you are looking for right away.
Session Law Digests
If you are interested in getting even more summaries of enacted legislation, check out the new “Session Law” feature on the School of Government’s Legislative Reporting Service (LRS) website (access available by subscription). Under “Subscriber Tools” (on the left), there is a heading entitled “Session Laws.” Click on that heading to pull up a list of every bill that was enacted this session. You can link to the bill page, which includes all of the information about that bill, or you can link directly to all of the digests the LRS staff prepared for that particular bill. Digests are posted in reverse chronological order so you should start at the bottom with the summary of what was initially introduced and then read about each change that happened along the way.
Index of Legislation
At the end of each legislative session, the LRS publishes the Index of Legislation. The Index includes several detailed reports:
- a status report for ratified public bills,
- an index of ratified bills and resolutions in chronological order by chapter number,
- a status report for public bills listed by General Statute chapter number affected,
- a status report for local bills listed by counties affected,
- an index of public bills by bill number, and
- an index of local bills by bill number.
The 2014 Index will be available to LRS subscribers here once all actions are completed on the bills passed during the final days of session.
General Assembly Website
The legislature’s website is a treasure trove of information about the legislative session. One of the most comprehensive resources is the table that identifies every statute and session law affected by bills that were passed by the legislature (“ratified”). The list of Session Laws is also very helpful because it can take you directly to the homepage for every bill that was enacted (you can also get there via a link from the LRS site if you prefer to start with the SOG digests). In the coming weeks, legislative staff will also be preparing a document that includes summaries of substantive ratified legislation, which you will be able to find here. You can also access many valuable resources through the Legislative Library’s site, such as this step-by-step guide to researching the history of a specific piece of legislation.
There are, of course, many other sources of information about recent legislation, such as news outlets and professional associations. Do you have a favorite “go-to” resource? If so, please share it in a comment so others can seek it out as well.