Raleigh, NC – Our bill, SB-555, was introduced on April 1 by Senator Ralph Hise and referred to the ‘Committee on Rules and Operations in the Senate’, aka the Rules Committee.
The Rules Committee is considered by many to be the most powerful committee in each Chamber because the Chair has complete discretion regarding the fate of any bill in its possession. The Senate Rules Chair is Tom Apodaca, a 6-term legislator representing Buncombe, Henderson and Transylvania counties.
NP constituents of the 23 members of the Senate Health Care Committee were alerted as soon as we knew the bill would be filed. These NPs immediately leapt to action and within 72 hours had contacted all committee members, asking for support of our regulatory reform bill when heard in committee.
Instead the bill went to Rules. NP constituents of all 50 Senators were alerted. Again NPs eagerly jumped in, contacted their Senators and asked for their support in the majority caucus meeting to refer the bill to the health care committee. That caucus meeting has yet to be held.
It’s uncertain what will happen next to our bill in the state legislature.
A Senate ad hoc subcommittee could be appointed—or not. SB555 could go to a study committee—or not.
With just over 3 weeks until the mandatory May 16 crossover deadline, it’s unlikely that any bill could make the trek from committee to chamber floor for two final votes in order to stay alive for the 2014 short session.
The Rules chair and the bill sponsor are visited daily by our lobbyists.
If the bill moves an inch, NPs will be immediately alerted with a strategic action plan. Until the Rules chair makes a decision there is not much logic in contacting other Senators.
However, if you live and/or work in Senate District 48—Senator Apodaca’s district—a call to his legislative office respectfully requesting that the bill be referred to Senate Health Care could not hurt. His office number is 919-733-5745.
Health care may be our epicenter, but it is hardly the biggest draw on Jones Street this session.
This week, long anticipated tax reform legislation will be introduced in the Senate. Last week the Republican caucus devoted two two-hour caucus meetings on this one subject. This is their highest priority right now.
Remember, sometimes when things happen—and sometimes when things don’t happen—it’s not even about us.
Photo by William Warby.