From President Donald Trump on down, everyone it seems is talking about reopening the economy. When and how it will be done are the big questions.
But North Carolina State House Speaker Tim Moore left no doubt about when the North Carolina General Assembly was going to swing back into action.
Moore sent out a press release on Wednesday, April 15 that states, “On April 28, the legislative session will formally reopen for business with appropriate measures in place to ensure health and safety.”
The press release states that access to the legislative building and the legislative office buildings will be limited to members, staff and credentialed media beginning on April 20 and extending through May 8.
It also states, “Building entrants will also have their temperatures taken with a thermometer.”
The policy was adopted in collaboration with the N.C. Capitol Press Corps and public access advocacy organizations.
Both the state House and state Senate will send out more guidance on how sessions and committee meetings will be conducted and how the public can participate.
During the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Roy Cooper has been making the decisions for the state under the state of emergency powers, but it appears that will change after the legislature is in session because the press release states, “The business of the General Assembly is making laws and appropriating money. With appropriate health and safety measures in effect, the legislature will carry on the people’s business and work in a collaborative manner to pass consensus COVID-19 legislation.
Another item on the legislature’s agenda for what is termed, the short session, held in even years, is passing a budget. Usually the state budget is passed during the long session held in odd years and adjustments to that budget are made during the short session.
However, in 2019 the state budget that passed with bipartisan support in the legislature was vetoed by Cooper. The House overrode the veto, but the Senate did not. So the state has been operating with the budget passed in 2017 along with a number of mini-budget bills that passed and Cooper signed into law.
The state budget year began on July 1, 2019, so the state has been without a budget for almost nine months.