Under the Dome

Drug testing bill, regulatory reform bill denied concurrence

Lawmakers asked the House not to concur on two big bills Monday so the sponsors could work out issues. With session days dwindling down, and a budget left to debate, it’ll be tough to work out remaining differences and get these two complicated pieces of legislation passed.

A wide-spanning regulatory reform bill’s sponsor, Rep. Timothy Moffitt of Asheville, a Republican, asked the House not to concur because the bill came back from the Senate with measures from two other regulatory bills incorporated into it. Segments deregulating the billboard industry, and affecting environmental issues, the living wage, city ordinances and more are now under the 60-provision bill’s umbrella.

House and Senate lawmakers will need to compromise between the two vastly different versions of the bill: The original House version was only two short sections long, and allowed legislative rules to expire.

Rep. Dean Arp, a Monroe Republican, asked the house not to concur on a seperate measure that would strengthen background checks on welfare applicants and require drug testing for suspicious applicants to the Work First program, which gives support, cash benefits and job training to low-income families.

County Departments of Social Services and some lawmakers deny the bill’s usefulness, saying drug screening processes currently in place do more than enough to weed out illegal substance users. Recently, a provision allowing county DSS employees to fingerprint applicants was added.

“This has been a good bill that has been received with bipartisan support,” Arp said. “A few issues regarding technical changes, we need to work out regarding effective dates.”

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