Raleigh, N.C. — UPDATED: The state Senate has announced it will postpone its organizational session until 11 a.m.
The North Carolina General Assembly goes into session at 9 a.m. Wednesday to formally elect leaders in the House and the Senate. Although the Raleigh area is expecting precipitation that may include freezing rain, leaders and staffers said Tuesday night they were planning to go ahead with swearing in members, adopting temporary rules and electing leaders.
"We could convene and recess, but right now that's not our plan," Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said. A member of the House Clerk's staff said that chamber still planned to convene at 9 a.m.
Presumptive House Speaker Tim Moore has tapped Lewis as his Rules Committee chairman.
HOUSE: With Republicans holding wide leads in both chambers, neither leadership race figures to be much more than a ceremonial formality. In the House, Minority Leader Larry Hall said Tuesday that Democrats did not plan to offer a candidate for speaker. Sometimes the minority party will offer a candidate as a form of protest or to air issues of concern.
Lawmakers return to Raleigh on Wednesday "We don't have anyone among the Democrats planning to run right now," Hall, D-Durham, said.
That will leave Moore, R-Cleveland, to take the place of former Rep. Thom Tillis, who is now a U.S. senator.
SENATE: Senators are expected to re-elect Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, as the the president pro tempore of the Senate. Although Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is president of the Senate by virtue of his office, his powers are limited by in large part to presiding over the chamber. The power to appoint committees and control the flow of legislation rests with Berger's office and his deputies.
NEWSER: Berger has an 11:45 a.m. news conference on the legislative calendar. Barring problems due to weather, staffers say both Berger and Moore should be on hand to field questions.
AFTER TODAY: The General Assembly will go home for two weeks after Wednesday's session. That will give legislative leaders time to sort out office assignments, committee posts and other details before the real work of lawmaking begins. The first day of the regular weekly session will be Jan. 28. Medicaid and funding for education are expected to be the major issues on the agenda when they return.
COAL ASH: The Coal Ash Management Commission, which Gov. Pat McCrory is suing to derail, will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the McKimmon Center. The bulk of the agenda focuses on "beneficial uses," ways to reuse and recycle material left over after coal is burned for fuel despite having heavy metals and other toxins such as arsenic in the mix.
IF YOU MISSED IT: The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced Tuesday afternoon that assistant secretaries Mitch Gillespie and Brad Ives have stepped down.