Senate wants an organizational session

Posted June 27, 2012

— The Senate is trying to reorganize how the legislature gets organized.

S 847 is a technical corrections bill, meant to clean up flubs and references in the state's laws. But Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus, added in a last minute measure that will change how the legislature starts a new session.

Under current law, the General Assembly begins meeting in odd numbered years on "third Wednesday after the second Monday in January." That translates into a Jan. 30 start date in 2013. The complaint with this system is that the legislature gets together and then sits idle while it organizes committees. 

Hartsell's measure would say that lawmakers would meet for a one day session on the second Wednesday in January to "elect officers, adopt rules and otherwise organize the session." They would then adjourn until "the third Wednesday after the second Monday."

That would give legislative leaders time to appoint committees, assign offices and do other administrative work. When they return a couple weeks later, lawmakers would, in theory, be able to get right to work. The Senate has passed a similar measure in years past, only to see it rebuffed by the House.

The Senate passed the measure, but there was at least one objection.

"There's 170 of us who come up here every time, all different agendas, all with different egos," said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe. "It doesn't hurt for two dogs to circle a little bit before they go to barking, to get to know each other. I just don't see what the problem is we're trying to address here."

It remains to be seen whether the House will accept that change. 


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