News: Quick Takes

General Assembly roundup: Senate close to finalizing confirmation process

CJ file photo
CJ file photo

RALEIGH — Senate leader Phil Berger on Thursday said senators are “close” to finalizing the procedure for confirmation of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Cabinet officers.

Lawmakers may announce the process next week.

“We’re pretty close, but I just want to make sure that we’ve thought through some things and we’ve talked to our members about it before we talk about it in public,” Berger said after Thursday’s brief session in the Senate chamber.

When the Senate adopted its rules two weeks ago, Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick,  and chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said senators would probably have a select committee review a nominee’s credentials. The nomination would be referred to the Senate policy committee, which most closely aligns with the nominee’s duties.

Previous governors have not had to seek confirmation of their Cabinet appointees from the Senate. But in December 2016, the General Assembly approved a bill invoking a state constitutional provision that provides for Senate consent of such officials.

Cooper is challenging the new law in court.

Meanwhile, both chambers of the General Assembly met briefly Thursday before adjourning for the weekend. No action was taken in either chamber, as is typical during the early days of a new legislative session.

Both the House and the Senate plan to reconvene at 4 p.m. Monday. Berger said no votes would be taken in the Senate on Monday.

Lawmakers did file a handful of bills Thursday. They include:

  • A bill to study the unfunded liability of the state’s Retiree Health Benefit Fund (House Bill 24), introduced by Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph.
  • A bill providing additional teachers in “geographically isolated” schools that contain kindergarten through first grade (H.B. 23, Senate Bill 15), introduced by Rep. Kevin Corbin, R-Macon, and Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon.