Session Gavels In
The 2015-16 “Long Session” of the North Carolina General Assembly reconvened on Wednesday January, 28th to begin the lawmaking process. A largely uneventful first week, it is likely to remain that way for another week or two as bills are filed and assigned to various committees. Lawmakers had a no vote session and none are expected until the Governor addresses the General Assembly next Wednesday.
There was one piece of legislation that passed both chambers on Wednesday, the resolution inviting the Governor to address all 170 members of the General Assembly in the biennial State of the State address. That will take place next Wednesday Feb. 4th at 7:00PM. The Governor is expected among other things, to lay out his proposals for enhancing economic development and to give further detail to his $1 billion transportation and infrastructure bond recommendation. Wednesday was also the first day legislators could begin filing bills. The 47 bills filed so far cover a wide range of topics including restoring partisan judicial elections, a constitutional amendment to prohibit eminent domain, crowd funding, unemployment insurance, etc. A full list of 2015 bills can be found here.
Senate Pro-Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) announced his committee chairs two weeks ago and unsurprisingly, there was little difference from last session. Sen. Apodaca (R-Henderson) remained Rules chairman. Senators Brown (R-Onslow), Jackson (R-Sampson) and Harrington (R-Gaston) will continue to serve as co-chairs of Appropriations. And Senators Rabon (R-Brunswick) and Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) return as Finance co-chairs along with a new co-chair, Sen. Tillman (R-Randolph). Speaker Moore (R-Cleveland) announced the new House committee chairs on Tuesday of this week, the day before session and handed out gavels on Wednesday. While several members will chair the same committees as they did last session, there are also some changes. Rep. Lewis (R-Harnett) will serve as Rules chairman, the role previously served by Speaker Moore. Rep. Dollar (R-Wake) will continue to serve in the capacity of senior chairman of Appropriations. Rep. Saine (R-Lincoln) and Rep. Brawley (R-Mecklenburg) will serve as senior co-chairs of the Finance committee. Significantly, a large number of second-term lawmakers will serve in high ranking chairmanships. Speaker Moore also gave other co-chairmanships to two Democrats, Rep. Brisson (D-Bladen) and Rep. Glazier (D-Cumberland) as well as Rep. Tine (U-Dare), who recently switched parties from Democrat to Unaffiliated to caucus with Republicans. A link to the full list of chairmen and chairwomen of the various House committees can be found here and a link to both the House and Senate standing committees and their membership can be found here.