Every legislative session there are hundreds of bills filed in the State House and Senate. So far this year, there have been 676 bills filed in the Senate and 921 filed in the House. Only about a fourth of the almost 1,600 total bills will actually become law, but in order to be eligible, a bill must be passed in one chamber and cross over to the other chamber by a certain day called “Crossover Deadline”. Yesterday was the Crossover Deadline, and we want to update you as to some bills we hope to help get passed. This list will change as other bills get filed or revised, but it is a partial list for now.
BILLS THAT MADE CROSSOVER
Restore & Preserve Campus Free Speech—HB 527
This bill is the signature issue of Lt. Governor Dan Forest this year, and its primary sponsors are Representatives Chris Millis and Jonathan Jordan and Senators Dan Bishop and David Curtis. The bill essentially requires the University of North Carolina system to create a policy that encourage free expression on campus through maintaining a posture of administrative and institutional neutrality on issues of political and social importance and keeping public forums open to expression of all ideas. The policy must include:
- Universities must strive to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression.
- It is not the proper role of a university to “shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment, including, without limitation, ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”
- Universities may not “require students, faculty, or administrators to publicly express a given view of social policy.”
- Students and faculty are free to discuss any problem, and the campus is open to any speaker invited by students, student groups, or faculty members, subject only to reasonable and published time, place, and manner restrictions.
- Universities “shall implement a range of disciplinary sanctions for anyone … who substantially disrupts the functioning of the constituent institution or substantially interferes with the protected free expression rights of others, including protests and demonstrations…”
We wholeheartedly support this bill as an essential tool to guarantee that indoctrination, intimidation, and bullying do not squelch the free expression rights of students and faculty who hold more conservative or Christian views. It is a growing trend across the country for left-leaning groups to protest conservative speakers on campus and even shout them down so that their freedom of expression is effectively denied. It is also a trend on college campuses for students to protest, punish, and even extinguish speech that is offensive to them, although it should be protected speech under the First Amendment. By providing clear legislation that protects free expression on college campuses in North Carolina, this bill will help prevent situations like the one that recently happened at UC Berkley.
UNC Public Records/Athletic Conferences—SB 323
This bill clarifies that the UNC System and its constituent universities are subject to the Public Records Act, so that members of the UNC system are required to publicly disclose any records or communications it has with the NCAA, the ACC, or any other collegiate sports organization. The need for this bill arose when the ACC and the NCAA instituted economic boycotts of the State of North Carolina by pulling championship games from the state because of the passage of HB 2—the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act that required that bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms be designated and used in accordance with one’s biological sex as indicated on one’s birth certificate. Chancellors Carol Folt of UNC-Chapel Hill and Randy Woodson of N.C. State refused to produce records of how they voted on the ACC’s resolution to boycott the State. Despite being public employees paid by the taxpayers of North Carolina, Folt and Woodsen claimed a nondisclosure agreement with the NCAA allowed them to refuse to disclose the public records. We thank Senators Mike Lee, Ralph Hise, and Warren Daniel for filing this bill and getting it passed by the Senate.
Convention of the States—SJR 36
This Joint Resolution calls on Congress to call a convention of the States for the purpose of amending the U.S. Constitution to “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.” Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows the states to call a convention if 34 of the state’s legislative bodies pass resolutions calling for a convention. So far, 10 states have passed resolutions calling for a convention of the States. If the House passes SJR 36, North Carolina will become the 11th state calling for a convention of states.
BILLS WE ARE SUPPORTING THAT DID NOT MAKE CROSSOVER:
Require Information about Abortion Pill Reversal Procedure—HB 62 and HB 575
These two bills would require that abortion clinics be required to furnish information to pregnant women who seek a chemical abortion that the process can still be reversed and their baby’s life saved even after they take the first pill. A new medical procedure has saved hundreds of lives of unborn children whose mothers change their minds about having an abortion after they take the first of two pills that cause a chemical abortion. This procedure involves administering large doses of progesterone to the pregnant woman and has resulted in saving the lives of unborn child in about 40% of the cases. Most of the time, abortion clinics are not eager to tell women who change their minds that they can reverse the process. This bill requires that women be given the facts about abortion pill reversal. We wholeheartedly support these bills and thank Representatives Pat McElraft, Pat Hurley, Rena Turner, Michele Presnell, Beverly Boswell, Larry Pittman, Sarah Stevens, and Michael Speciale for filing the bills.
Home School Education Tax Credit—HB 329
This bill would allow taxpayers a tax credit of $1,250 per child for each semester a child is home schooled. Representatives Larry Pittman, Beverly Boswell, and Mark Brody filed the bill.
Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act—S 425
This bill, filed by Senators Joyce Krawiec, Shirley Randleman, and Deanna Ballard, would prohibit any person from purposefully performing a dismemberment abortion. Dismemberment abortions are defined as “With the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, purposely to dismember a living unborn child and extract him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp, or a combination of these, a portion of the unborn child's body to cut or rip it off.” This is the gruesome process most used for second trimester abortions. There are seven states that have passed dismemberment abortion bans, but the laws in four of these states have been stayed by court challenges.
While there were bills that were filed that would have recognized life begins at conception and would recognized tradition marriage, those bills did not seem to gain traction. We will keep you updated as bills are filed or advanced in the General Assembly.