Not much is happening at the legislature tomorrow, so we're going back to high school civics class (it used to exist!) to learn or review a bit about the NC General Assembly (NCGA).
The NCGA is the main legislative body for the state and, like the US Congress, comprises two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The House includes 120 representatives, one from each House district in the state.
- Representatives serve two-year terms.
- The presiding officer is the Speaker of the House, elected by House members for a two-year term. This person controls the calendar and determines if and when bills are scheduled for a vote - which is a powerful tool to wield.
- The current Speaker of the House is Republican Tim Moore from House District 111, Cleveland County.
- There are 45 Democrats and 75 Republicans currently serving in the NC House.
The Senate is made up of 50 senators representing the 50 Senate districts.
- Senators also serve two-year terms.
- The lieutenant governor, elected by voters for a four-year term, is the presiding officer/president of the Senate. This person presides over the daily sessions, but only casts tie-breaking votes. Republican Dan Forest is our Lt. Governor.
- The Senate elects officers from among its members, including the Chamber Leader, President Pro Tempore. This person controls the calendar and determines if and when bills are scheduled for a vote.
- The current President Pro Tempore is Republican Senator Phil Berger from Senate District 26, Guilford and Rockingham Counties.
- There are 15 Democrats and 35 Republicans currently serving.
Legislative committees are where most of the daily work of the NCGA occurs.
- Committees have jurisdiction over specific topic areas; this allows for specialization on a few topic areas by members.
- Committees often are divided into subcommittees that handle smaller issues in a committee’s jurisdiction.
- Committee assignments are made by the majority and minority floor leaders or the heads of parties. In practice, the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore name most committee chairs and appoint committee members.
- Find a list of all the NCGA committees here.
We'll continue with these mini-civics-lessons on days that look quiet at the NCGA.