Just after adjournment this morning, Republican Senate Leader Phil Berger called this week's amendment session "productive."
“It’s a session that I think most people will recognize as the result of the 2010 elections,” he said. “We said when we were running that we wanted to move this state in a different direction, that we want to do things differently from what had been done in the past.”
“Some folks have said ‘Promises made, promises kept,’” he added.
An amendment that would limit the number of years any member could lead the House or Senate was also on this week's agenda, but it stalled over disagreement between the chambers on the number of terms in power it should allow. The House wanted 2 terms (4 years), while the Senate wanted 4 terms (8 years). Senate Leader Phil Berger on constitutional session
"There are many folks who feel that if we’re going to term limit the leadership in the General Assembly, that there should be balance between the General Assembly and the governor," who can serve 8 consecutive years, he said. “I’m confident we’ll find common ground with the House, he added, “but in the last two days we were unable to do that.”
Berger also said his caucus decided not to take up the third proposed amendment changing the makeup of the State Board of Education because members wanted more time to evaluate its impact.
Minority Democrats in both chambers criticized GOP leaders this week for not taking action on job creation or hurricane relief. The committee assigned to Irene response only met for the first time this morning.
Berger said Perdue’s Irene chief Bob Etheridge told the committee his office is still assessing disaster relief needs and working on proposals.
“This is not something that we need for some folks to try to take partisan advantage on or to try to play politics with,” said Berger. “We need to make sure that we do what’s right when it’s right.”
“The governor and I have not agreed on a whole lot of things, but I think they’re right on this,” he continued. “We need to make sure we have a good assessment of what needs to be done. I just don’t think we’re ready for that now.”
Berger also downplayed criticism from Democrats about having to return to Raleigh for a third extra session in November. Democrats said the General Assembly is turning into a full-time legislature under the GOP.
However, Berger said the idea of a full-time legislature “is an issue that is probably ripe for discussion.”
“I don’t think we are there yet,” he quickly added. “I actually don’t think there’s support for that. But I do think it’s something that is worthy of discussion.”