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Thursday Wrap: They keep going and going and going

June 14th, 2018

— Lawmakers held their fourth late-night session of the week on Thursday as they try to clear the decks of policy-related bills by the end of the week.

The House gave preliminary approval to a measure rolled out after Wednesday’s late-night work that would change the early voting schedule by moving everything up a day, thus sacrificing the popular final Saturday voting, and requiring all early voting sites to be open 12 hours a day every weekday during the period.

The controversial farm bill received final approval in the House and returned to the Senate for a concurrence vote, but not before Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, ripped into the bill, his colleagues and House leadership over a section of the bill dealing with lawsuits against hog farms and how the legislation had been handled.

The Senate gave final approval to the HOPE Act, which is designed to crackdown on opioid abuse on the demand side, following last year’s STOP Act, which focused on tightening up on the supply side. Some House lawmakers criticized the new legislation, which would allow law enforcement to access without a warrant the state prescriptions database, as infringing on civil liberties.

The Senate also passed a measure allowing state associations to provide their members health coverage that doesn’t meet Affordable Care Act standards. The plans aren’t called insurance to get around such requirements, but an amendment before final approval guaranteed the groups would offer options to cover pre-existing conditions.

The Senate also approved a bill upping the penalties for making a threat against schools or places of worship and giving authorities time to determine if the threats were credible.

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