RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - The new session of North Carolina’s General Assembly opened at noon Wednesday with Democrats having more strength in both chambers of the state legislature.
House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate President Pro-Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) were re-elected to their leadership positions. It’s the fifth consecutive term for Berger and a record third consecutive term for Moore.
“Many of you represent friends and neighbors still recovering from hurricanes Florence and Matthew,” Moore told legislators during his welcome address. “Our hearts are with the millions of North Carolinians still recovering from the storms.”
Rep. Deb Butler (D-New Hanover County) of Wilmington was named to the Democrats’ leadership team in the state House. Butler will be one of five Whips with Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake County) being named as Democratic leader.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the major responsibilities for the minority (party) Whip are to assist the minority leader on the floor, count votes and ensure attendance of minority party members.
“I am hopeful that our upcoming session will be a productive one," Butler said. "It remains to be seen whether or not the cordial discourse of opening day will endure. I certainly hope so.
"I am honored to be one of the newly elected Whips in the NC Democratic caucus and I will certainly strive to achieve consensus where possible, but I will not compromise on those goals the people of House District 18 elected me to pursue.”
Voters elected enough Democrats to House and Senate seats in the 2018 elections to eliminate the Republicans’ super majority in both chambers. GOP lawmakers now hold a 65-55 edge in the House, where 72 votes are needed to override a veto, and 29-21 in the Senate, where 30 votes are needed to override.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes will carry more weight with Republicans not having enough party support to automatically overturn his decisions.
Both chambers of the General Assembly will reconvene at noon on Jan. 30.