The contrast between yesterday and today could not have been clearer. If yesterday was all about pomp and pageantry then today was all about politics and policy.
Yesterday was indeed historic. For the first time in over 100 years the North Carolina House and Senate are now being lead by the Republicans. The day was full of events welcoming the new leaders and new members of the General Assembly to Raleigh. The first business of the session was the election of the chamber leadership, specifically the Speaker of the House and the Senate Pro Tempore. These decisions were made prior to the holiday break when both Republican caucuses met to nominate their leaders. The new Speaker of the House is Representative Thom Tillis from Mecklenburg and the new Senate Pro Tempore is Senator Phil Berger from Guilford and Rockingham.
As the evening festivities wrapped up the work of governing the state through a $3.7 billion deficit, the largest gap in revenue and spending since the depression dawned.
Today the newly sworn in Republican-controlled legislature got right to work debating their first bill.
House Judiciary 1 met 15 minutes after the completion of the House session. On the calendar was House Bill 2 Protect Health Care Freedom:
This bill would block the implementation in our state of the independent mandate for health insurance that is part of the Affordable Care Act (federal health care reform).
During the Senate’s first official session, the members found out their official committee assignment. The first bill of interest from the Senate will be to eliminate the cap on charter schools in our state. Senate Bill 8 No Cap on Charter Schools:
This bill would remove the current statutory cap on the number of charter schools in the state.