NCGA Week in Review

January 10, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

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Members of the North Carolina General Assembly will head back into session for the first time in the new year. Before heading home for the holidays, lawmakers passed SJR 694: Adjourn 2019 Regular Session to November, which lays out what may be up for consideration during the January session, including bills that have been vetoed by the Governor, appointments, confirmations of gubernatorial nominations, new district maps in response to litigation, the adoption of conference reports for bills already in conference committee, the funding and oversight of the Department of Transportation, bills addressing access to healthcare, appropriations modifications, and a joint adjournment resolution. Even with a handful of items lawmakers will be allowed to consider while they are back next week, most seem to only have one thing on their mind: the budget. 

Both the House and the Senate will reconvene next week on Tuesday, January 14th at 12:00 noon. 

January Session

While it is unclear exactly what will be on the House or the Senate’s agenda when they return to the legislature next week, all eyes will be on whether the Senate decides to hold a vote to override the Governor’s veto of HB 966: 2019 Appropriations Act. The House voted to override the Governor’s budget bill veto back in September, but the Senate has held off on holding a vote to override to see if they are able to get one Senate Democrat to vote across party lines, in favor of the budget. Senate Republicans need just one additional vote to override the budget veto.

Whether a vote to override the budget veto in the Senate is held or not, lawmakers likely will not hang around Raleigh for too long. With all 120 General Assembly seats up for election this November, members will be heading back to their own districts to campaign and fundraise before the March 3 primaries – and before they make their way back to Raleigh once again for the short session this spring. 

New Legislator

A new face will likely be joining Senate lawmakers on Tuesday. Early this week, Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham) officially resigned from his state Senate seat. Sen. McKissick was appointed and confirmed to the Utilities Commission back in October but held off on leaving the legislature, unclear of when he would officially make his move to the Commission. The local Durham County Democratic Party is scheduled to meet Sunday evening to select Sen. McKissick’s replacement. The party’s selection will be joining the rest of the Senate Democratic lawmakers at the building Tuesday morning. 

Candidate Filings

Candidate filing for this year’s election officially closed at the end of last month. This election cycle has ushered out a lengthy, and noteworthy, list of names that will not be returning to the legislature in 2021. In the House, a total of 16 incumbents will not seek reelection to their current seats while 10 Senate incumbents will also be retiring or seeking other offices in 2020. As a number of current legislators plan their departure, another lengthy list of familiar names and faces to North Carolina politics compete to fill their seats.

In the House, eight former members have filed for election in 2020, including:

  • John R. Bradford, III (R) is running in House District 98 against current Rep. Christy Clark (D).
  • William Brawley (R) is running in House District 103 against current Rep. Rachel Hunt (D).
  • Mike Clampitt (R) is running in House District 119, currently represented by Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D), but will first face primary challenger Ron Mau in March.
  • Mark Crawford (R) is running in House District 115 against current Rep. John Ager (D).
  • Grey Mills (R) is running in House District 95 with the hopes of filling current Rep. John Fraley’s (R) seat as he retires at the end of his term.
  • Tim Moffitt (R) will face Dennis Justice in the House District 117 Republican primary before facing Josh Remillard (D) or Danae Aicher (D) to fill current Rep. Chuck McGrady’s (R) seat as he retires at the end of his term.
  • Both Sam Watford (R) and Roger Younts (R) are running in House District 80 and will face another Republican primary challenger, Haley Sink (R), before the general election against Wendy Sellers (D) – all hoping to fill Rep. Steve Jarvis’s (R) seat as he makes a run for state Senate. 

Over in the Senate, seven former members of the General Assembly are seeking election, including:

  • Michael Lee (R) is running in Senate District 9 against current Sen. Harper Peterson (D).
  • Current state Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes (R) is running in Senate District 11, along with former state Sen. Allen Wellons (D). Both will face primary challengers in March as they hope to fill the seat left by Sen. Rick Horner’s (R) retirement.
  • Wesley Meredith (R) is running in Senate District 19 against current Sen. Kirk deViere (D).
  • Current state Rep. Steve Jarvis (R) is running in Senate District 29, facing a primary against current Sen. Eddie Gallimore before the general election against Duskin Lassiter (D).
  • Mark Hollo (R) is running in Senate District 42 to fill current Sen. Andy Wells’s (R) seat as he runs for Lieutenant Governor. Hollo will first face a primary race against H. Dean Proctor before facing Tina R. Miles (D) in the general election. 
  • Current state Rep. Kevin Corbin (R) is running in Senate District 50 to fill retiring Sen. Jim Davis’ (R) seat. Rep. Corbin will face Sarah Conway in the March primary before going up against Clifton Ingram (L) and Victoria Fox (D) in the November general election. 

For a full list of former members seeking election, and current members not seeking election in 2020, click here for House and here for Senate

NCDOT Summit

The North Carolina Department of Transportation held its second annual NC Transportation summit at the Raleigh Convention Center on January 8th and 9th. The goal of the self-supported summit was to bring industry and thought leaders together to discuss the future of transportation in North Carolina.  The summit featured multiple breakout sessions covering topics from autonomous vehicles, smart mobility, 3-D printing, and using drones to deliver medicine.

The event featured many familiar faces including NC Secretary of Transportation Jim Trogdon, former NC Governor Jim Hunt, former mayor of Raleigh Nancy McFarland, and Martin Marietta CEO Ward Nye. In addition, the summit featured a trade show with over 70 exhibit booths featuring industry leaders such as HNTB Infrastructure, SAS, and universities from around the state.

Secretary Trogdon addressed attendees stressing smart infrastructure investment as the state population continues to grow. While positive that the Department could find solutions for the state’s transportation problems, Secretary Trogdon reminded the summit of how tough 2019 was. NCDOT faced many challenges with $8 billion in active construction while trying to resolve record-breaking storm-related damages and Map Act settlements.  The Secretary received criticism from the General Assembly earlier this year due to what some called financial mismanagement by the Department. Since then, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 356: DOT Cash and Accountability which gives NCDOT access to a total of $290 million and the creation of a rainy day fund. The Department, in return, will have to meet strict financial reporting requirements set forth by the General Assembly. The Secretary pledged that the Department will streamline its activities, update its systems, and prepare solutions for current and future challenges.

During the summit, the NCDOT Board of Transportation held their monthly board meeting. Members met in an offsite location in between attending the summit to handle their monthly approvals of contracts, minutes, and municipal agreements. The meeting this month was brief as the main goal was for members who come from all over the state to interact with industry leaders and speak on panels during the summit. The Board of Transportation will meet next month on February 6th at their normal meeting spot at the Department of Transportation in downtown Raleigh.

To view photos from the summit please click here.

Upcoming Legislative Meetings

Monday, January 13

1:00PM: Child Fatality Task Force – Intentional Death Prevention Committee

1:00PM: Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee

Tuesday, January 14

12:00PM House: Session Convenes

12:00PM Senate Session Convenes

15 minutes following recess House: Appropriations