The North Carolina General Assembly is scheduled to officially reconvene at noon on Wednesday in Raleigh. After November’s midterm elections, Republicans in the Senate have a supermajority and in the House, Republicans are one vote shy of a supermajority. The partisan make up means that a careful attendance numbers game will likely play a prominent role in this session.
In the official swearing in earlier this month, Republicans proposed rules that eliminated a waiting period for veto override votes. Previously, to override a veto, legislators must wait “until the second legislative day following notice of its placement on the calendar,” creating a minimum of 48 hours before House members can vote on an override. Newly adopted House Resolution 1 does not contain the rule.
During his time in office, Cooper has vetoed more bills than all previous N.C. governors combined. He and legislative Democrats publicly objected to eliminating that waiting period, calling it “trickery.” Republicans argued that members are expected to be there for all votes, saying “ambush votes,” are not a part of their plan, and notice will be given when floor sessions are to have votes. Under the new rule, all members would need to be careful about skipping voting sessions.
House Rules Chairman Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, implied these changes to the rules might be temporary. Hall said he and Minority Leader Robert Reives, D-Chatham, had spoken about passing a permanent rules package in February.
Some issues that are likely to surface in legislation during this session are a new voter ID law, legislation to protect the state’s power grid, sports betting, school choice or a Parent’s Bill of Rights, and Second Amendment legislation.
Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, was elected by the Senate membership for a seventh term at the head of the chamber. He announced committee appointments for the 2023-24 legislative biennium earlier this month. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, was also re-elected, making history as the longest-serving N.C. House speaker in history with five terms. Moore also announced committee assignments this month, putting 12 Democrats in committee leadership positions.