The North Carolina General Assembly is kicking off 2018 with a special session on January 10th. While the agenda for the session has not been announced, lawmakers are considering GenX legislation, judicial reforms, and some budget tweaks. The legislative short session begins in May and there are some items lawmakers are eager to address before then, but whether they can get agreement on constitutional amendments, for example, will determine the scope of the session. An article written by The Insider is shared below and includes links to interviews with Senator Berger and Speaker Moore.
In addition to the special session, interim committees continue to meet as they study issues and consider possible legislation for the May session. Upcoming committees meetings include:
- House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality
- House Select Committee on Strategic Transportation and Long Term Funding Solutions
- Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy
- Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee
- Environmental Review Commission
- Session Preview
- Resources: Berger Interview | Moore Interview
House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger have dropped a few hints about what to expect during the legislative session that begins Jan. 10. In separate interviews broadcast last week on Spectrum News' "Capital Tonight," the legislative leaders said they could take action on constitutional amendments, GenX river contamination, Gov. Roy Cooper's appointments to state boards, possible budget tweaks and judicial redistricting proposals.
Both Berger and Moore voiced some uncertainty about whether proposed judicial changes will be ready for a vote this month. The House and Senate have separate maps for redrawing District Court and Superior Court districts, and a switch from elected to appointed judges is still under discussion. "I don't know if we'll be ready at the time of Jan. 10 to move forward," Berger told Spectrum. "I think it's clear we're going to have to do something (on judicial districts). ... I don't think it can wait until May." Moore told Spectrum that he doesn't think merit selection has enough support yet to get the three-fifths majority vote required to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot, but he said he'd support a system in which the legislature appoints judges -- "if the process is set up the right way, with input from the local communities. ... It works in Virginia, it works in South Carolina." But Berger said in the interview that he'd like a system that includes "participation or input from all branches of government" with "some component of popular involvement," such as a retention election.
Moore also told Spectrum that constitutional amendments and potentially some budget tweaks could be on the agenda, but he didn't offer specifics. Berger said the Senate is vetting some of Cooper's appointments and expects to take action during the session. Moore predicted a session of several days but floated the possibility that the entire session could be postponed. "We may actually come into session and then recess until a later date," he said in the Spectrum interview. "We don't know yet. One thing we're watching is to see if we need to do anything on legislative redistricting." (Colin Campbell, THE INSIDER, 1/02/17)