The North Carolina General Assembly will go into session on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
In odd numbered years, the North Carolina legislature meets in what is called “the long session” and sets the budget for the next two years.
It appears it is going to be tough for Guilford County in the state Senate in this session. Committee assignments for the state Senate recently released reveal that senators from Guilford County – the state’s third largest county after Wake and Mecklenburg – don’t chair or co-chair a single committee in the state Senate.
District 27 state Sen. Michael Garrett and District 28 state Sen. Gladys Robinson represent districts that are entirely in Guilford County. Both are Democrats, and since the state Senate has a Republican majority, neither are the chair or co-chair of any committees.
District 24 state Sen. Amy Galey represents a portion of eastern Guilford County and all of Alamance County. Although Galey is a Republican, she was elected to her first term in 2020 and it is rare for a first term senator to be a committee chair.
District 26 Sen. David Craven represents all of Randolph County and a portion of southwestern Guilford County. He was appointed to fill the seat of former Sen. Jerry Tillman when Tillman retired at the end of the 2020 session. Craven, while not technically a freshman senator, had only served a couple of months when he was elected to his first full term in the state Senate in November.
So Guilford County is represented by two Democrats and more or less two freshman Republicans in the Senate and, as a result, doesn’t have a single committee chair.
In 2019, the last long session, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the state budget that was passed with bipartisan support in both the state House and state Senate. The House voted to override Cooper’s veto, but the Senate did not, which means the state has been operating on the budget originally passed in 2017. Unlike the federal government, which shuts down if Congress can’t pass a budget, the state continues to operate based on the last budget passed.
As a result of the 2020 election, North Carolina continues to have a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both the state House and state Senate.