On Wednesday this week, the General Assembly reconvened for an extra legislative session. After weeks of speculation regarding what legislators might do upon returning to Raleigh, the House and Senate took up very few matters before recessing Wednesday evening. Several potential topics that could have been considered during the extra session included judicial redistricting and election/appointment methods, school class size changes, and Constitutional amendments. The legislature could also have pushed back the primary and filing dates for the upcoming 2018 Congressional and state legislative elections, especially considering litigation associated with the state’s Congressional maps and state legislative maps. However, the legislature considered only the following issues during the day-long session:
- The House unanimously passed legislation allocating $2.3 million for the Department of Environmental Quality to address concerns over GenX (a chemical recently detected in drinking water in the southeastern part of the state) and other future water quality concerns. The Senate adjourned its session Wednesday afternoon without taking action on the House GenX legislation, and it remains to be seen whether the Senate will consider the measure in the future.
- The House and Senate agreed on a handful of appointments, including three nominees from Governor Roy Cooper and several by House Speaker Tim Moore. Ten Governor’s nominations to various boards, including the State Board of Education, Oil and Gas Commission, and Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System Board of Trustees, await legislative consideration.
While most legislators returned home from Raleigh on Wednesday evening, the extra legislative session has not formally ended. The House and Senate announced their intent to meet every few days for no-vote sessions to keep the extra session open until one or both of the chambers decides to take up further business, or adjourn the session. This pattern will likely continue while legislators await court rulings regarding state and federal district maps. Continuing the extra session leaves open the option for legislative action, and extends the opportunity to build consensus between the House and Senate on new judicial election/appointment methods and maps.