It’s not even 2pm and already, the state Senate has voted to override six vetoes that Gov. Perdue rejected last month. The legislature is back in session, beginning today, to focus on vetoes and redistricting. The session will resume until July 28th.
SB 33, the Medical Liability Reforms Act was the first on the table. This legislation was offered as an effort to curb frivolous medical malpractice cases and rising medical costs. The bill would limit awards for non-economic damages (pain and suffering) to $500,000 but refrain from putting a threshold on actual damages like lost wages and medical expenses. It was overridden 35-12.
Other overrides quickly followed. SB 781, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2011, was a major priority for the business community. It would cut back state agencies’ regulatory authority and make the rule-making process more transparent. The override passed 48-0 with bi-partisan support.
SB 496 would alter some provider requirements for the state’s Medicaid program (passed 47-1) and SB 532 would modify unemployment benefit requirements and move the Employment Security Commission to the Department of Commerce (passed 31-17).
SB 727, No Dues Checkoff for School Employees, fell down party lines by a 30-18 vote. This bill would end the NCAE’s ability to use the state to collect automatic dues from members’ paychecks.
Finally, SB 709, the Energy Jobs Act, would allow opportunities for energy exploration and possible job creation but also includes a provision to study the pros and cons of the controversial fracking process (passed 31-17).
The Senate has now adjourned until Friday at 10am. The override will next be debated by House legislators who return tomorrow at 9am. However, so far, no votes on any overrides have been scheduled in the House.