By Cady Thomas
Ceremonial Legislative Session Opening
On Wednesday, the NC General Assembly concluded the 2022 Legislative Session and immediately opened the 2023 Legislative Session. The ceremonial sessions saw little excitement and offered no surprises as the leadership, Principal Clerks, and Sergeants-at-Arms for each body were elected unanimously. They adjourned until Wednesday, January 25 at noon when the real work will begin. Senate Leadership and House Leadership
Senate committee assignments were made before opening. House committee assignments should be made this week. Below are the Senate committees appointments for those committees that handle most of the important issues to CRMCA:
Commerce and Insurance: Chairs – Sens. Todd Johnson, David W. Craven Jr., Dean Proctor; Members – Sens. Gale Adcock, W. Ted Alexander, Val Applewhite, Sydney Batch, Danny Earl Britt Jr., Kevin Corbin, Michael Garrett, Brent Jackson, Steve Jarvis, Paul A. Lowe Jr., Natasha R. Marcus, Tom McInnis, Timothy D. Moffitt, Paul Newton, Brad Overcash, Jim Perry, Gladys A. Robinson, DeAndrea Salvador, Vickie Sawyer
Finance: Chairs – Sens. Bill Rabon, Paul Newton, Jim Perry; Members – Sens. W. Ted Alexander, Sydney Batch, Dan Blue, Danny Earl Britt Jr., Jim Burgin, Jay J. Chaudhuri, David W. Craven Jr., Warren Daniel, Carl Ford, Ralph Hise, Brent Jackson, Todd Johnson, Joyce Krawiec, Michael A. Lazzara, Michael V. Lee, Paul A. Lowe Jr., Natalie S. Murdock, Gladys A. Robinson, DeAndrea Salvador, Vickie Sawyer, Joyce Waddell, Mike Woodard
Judiciary: Chairs – Sens. Danny Earl Britt Jr., Warren Daniel, E.S. “Buck” Newton; Members – Sens. Sydney Batch, Dan Blue, Amy S. Galey, Lisa Grafstein, Rachel Hunt, Michael A. Lazzara, Michael V. Lee, Natasha R. Marcus, Mujtaba A. Mohammed, Paul Newton, Brad Overcash, Norman W. Sanderson, Benton G. Sawrey
Transportation: Chairs – Sens. Tom McInnis, Vickie Sawyer, Michael A. Lazzara; Members – Sens. Gale Adcock, Mary Wills Bode, David W. Craven Jr., Warren Daniel, Michael Garrett, Steve Jarvis, Todd Johnson, Graig Meyer, Timothy D. Moffitt, Natalie S. Murdock, E.S. “Buck” Newton, Dean Proctor, Bill Rabon, Eddie Settle, Kandie D. Smith, Mike Woodard
Transportation Appropriations: Chairs – Sens. Tom McInnis, Vickie Sawyer, Michael A. Lazzara; Members – Sens. Michael Garrett, Natalie S. Murdock, Bill Rabon, Mike Woodard
Bills and Legislation
After the election Republicans gained a supermajority in the NC Senate but the NC House fell one vote short. This means the House leadership will have to convince one Democrat to vote with them to override any vetoes by Governor Cooper. To make this easier, the House adopted their Rules in HR 1 which changed to allow an override vote to happen without notice.
Potential 2023-24 Legislative Issues
Several key issues that were not completed last year are likely to be introduced again this year and will determine the pace of the legislative session. Those issues are:
New District Maps
Numbers as of January 11, 2023:
3,382,420 total cases
1,659 people – 7 day average of those hospitalized
74% of adult population fully vaccinated, 63% of total population fully vaccinated
This is the first report in 5 months that has an increase of the vaccinations in the adult population.
Because the laws for campaign contribution limits are tied to inflation, the amount raised from $5,600 per election cycle to $6,400. This means individuals and political action committees can give a candidate $12,800 total per election.
Effective January 1, 2023, the contribution limit for North Carolina candidates and political committees increased by $800 per election, from $5,600 to $6,400. No individual or political committee may contribute more than $6,400 to a candidate committee or political committee in any election. There are a few exceptions to the contribution limit, including that a candidate or candidate’s spouse may contribute unlimited amounts to that candidate’s committee and any national, state, district or county executive committee of any political party recognized under N.C.G.S. § 163-96 is exempt from contribution limits.
2024 Gubernatorial Election
Don’t like political ads – too bad. They are going to start, and start soon. The Cook Political Report has named the NC race for Governor as the “only early battleground” state. Since Governor Cooper is term limited, the race will be wide open and we are already seeing people throw their hat into the race. For the Republicans, current Lt. Governor Mark Robinson has announced and politios believe current state Treasurer Dale Folwell will also throw his hat into the race. On the Democrat side, current AG Josh Stein and Michael Regan, current Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency and former Secretary of NC DEQ are both in the running but neither has announced.
Other Important Items
Last week the federal government announced a $110 million grant to NC to help replace the 60-year Alligator River bridge on U.S. 64. The total cost is expected to be $268 million from state coffers and is expected to start construction in 2025.
For clean energy advocates, the carbon-reduction plan announced by The NC Utilities Commission announced the carbon-reduction plan required by HB 951. As expected, the energy industry and clean energy advocates disagree. The advocates say it relies too much on natural gas and Duke Energy believes the plan is realistic to meet environmental goals.
While the country is looking at a recession, NC seems to be avoiding that for the near future.
At an Economic forum last week, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of NC, Christopher Chung, announced NC is “[H]eading into 2023, the trend has stayed consistent from what we’ve seen over the past 18 months.” Which means NC will see company relocation and growth announcements this year. He also mentioned that NC is “in the running” for 18 large projects that will create at least 1,000 jobs and invest at least $1 billion in our state.
Chung also acknowledged that the workforce shortage is a real issue for bringing in new companies and meeting the needs of our existing industries. He wants to work without our 58 community colleges to start programs to address these shortages.