GOP legislative agenda likely to sail through in NC

Posted November 7, 2012 4:57 p.m. EST
Updated November 8, 2012 5:23 a.m. EST

— Requiring voters to show identification at the polls, reforming the state's cash-strapped Medicaid program and overhauling the unemployment benefits system are among the issues Republican lawmakers want to take up in the 2013-14 session.

They hope having a Republican in the Governor's Office will help, but if not, it may not matter much.

Republican lawmakers took control last year with a long to-do list, but Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed more than a dozen of their bills. Sen. Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, said he thinks things should go more smoothly under Gov.-elect Pat McCrory.

"He has had similar goals on the campaign trail," said Brunstetter, co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "He's been talking about tax reform and regulatory reform and education reform. These are the things our folks ran on and won on."

McCrory sidestepped questions Wednesday about his priorities, saying he planned to outline Thursday the transition to his administration.

He said he plans to use a team approach to tackling problems, which he said would include getting Democratic input on devising solutions.

"I like to help set the vision with input from a lot of people – help set the vision and the strategy to get to that vision – and then put together teams to make it happen," he said.

But the devil is in the details, even among party allies. When Democrats controlled the General Assembly and the Governor's Office, they often butted heads over policy. Republicans probably will, too.

"Nobody expects that we all agree on everything, but that doesn't mean there's a fight," House Majority Leader Paul Stam said. "You talk about things, try to come to a good resolution, an acceptable compromise – not compromising your principles but compromising on the details."

Abortion could be one potential conflict. Lawmakers want more restrictions, while McCrory doesn't.

If it came to a veto showdown, McCrory would probably lose. House and Senate leaders have more than enough votes to override a veto.

While legislators will hold the reins next session, Brunstetter said, at least they and McCrory are pulling in the same direction now.

"We certainly understand the power and authority of the executive branch and understand the power and authority of the legislative branch," he said. "I'm sure we'll work together. We have a good honeymoon period going on now."