McCrory calls special legislative session to address hurricane recovery
Posted December 2, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday called lawmakers back to a special session on Dec. 13 to address disaster recovery needs in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which brought flooding to much of eastern North Carolina in October.
That call comes after McCrory completed a series of meetings in communities most affected by flood damage.
"I want to thank the communities for their feedback and the members of the committee for their tireless work to help North Carolina recover," McCrory said in a news release.
McCrory's office did not immediately distribute a copy of the proclamation. In the news release, the governor focused on damage from Matthew. It does not mention wildfires that have swept through the western part of the state in recent weeks.
"Governor McCrory and his staff continue to do a tremendous job leading the Hurricane Matthew recovery effort," Joseph Kyzer, a spokesman for House Speaker Tim Moore, said earlier this week. "House leaders look forward to reviewing his proposal for a special session to assist North Carolina citizens affected by the storm."
Senators also said they were ready to work on a storm package if called to session.
"Gov. McCrory has been working hard on a disaster relief package, and if he calls the legislature back into a special session, our senators will be here and ready to work," said Amy Auth, a spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, when asked earlier this week about the potential for a special session.
It's unclear exactly what lawmakers might be able to do. Estimates of damage from the storm have run to over $2 billion.
The federal government is expected to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more than $1 billion, to the hurricane recovery effort. But Congress has not yet passed a recovery package for states affected by Matthew, so lawmakers may not know exactly how much in state money they will need to plow into recovery efforts. They may also want to address damage from wildfires in the western part of the state.
In the mean time, Republican legislative leaders have tried to tamp down speculation they could use the special session to expand the Supreme Court in order to overturn a Democratic majority that came from this fall's election. As well, they have shown little enthusiasm for a scenario in which McCrory could appeal his election loss to the legislature by virtue of a contested election process.