NC Senate opens 2021 session
The North Carolina Senate convenes for the 2021 legislative session.
the sergeant at arms of the 2019 session will close the doors. Senators elect and guests will be seated. Please silence all electronic devices. The chair takes great pleasure and extending courtesies of the gallery to the families and friends of our senators. Elect, thank you for being with us today. We invite you to return it every opportunity. A very special courtesy is extended to my wife and some of my friends who have joined me here today. Thank you very much for everything that you have done for May. To my lovely wife and to my friends. Thank you to all of my friends who may be listening. Thank you very much for everything that you have done to help me and to help my family. We certainly appreciate you all thank you very much for being here. Sergeant at Arms is recognized, Mr. President, the honorable Tamara Barringer and the honorable filled Burger Jr of the North Carolina Supreme Court are at the door and await your direction. Sergeant at arms will open the doors and admit Justice Tamara Barringer and Justice Phil Berger junior off the North Carolina Supreme Court. All members and guests will please stand okay. Yeah. May be seated. Welcome, Justice Barrenger and Justice Burger. We greatly appreciate your participate in participation in our opening ceremony on our happy to extend the courtesies of the floor to you today. Sergeant at Arms just recognized Mr President. The three Heath Brothers are at the door and await your direction. Sergeant at arms will open the doors and escort the three Heath brothers of Thomasville, North Carolina to the well of the chamber. Right. We welcome the three Heath Brothers to the Senate chamber and appreciate your participation in our opening ceremony. You may be seated leading us in prayer as we begin. This 2021 session of the North Carolina General Assembly is the Reverend Dr Deane Clark. Reverend Clark is the wife of Senator Ben Clarke of Hope County. All members and guests in the gallery will please rise for the prayer. Good afternoon. Let us pray. Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Dear God, we come before you today united in our eternal need for your wisdom and guidance, your love and your Grace. We ask that you bless this Senate and every senator as they seek to do good for the people of this state. We pause today to remember officers Brian Signature and Howard Livengood, who gave their lives in support for and protection of the cause of democracy the same democracy that every member of this body is charged to support and protect. Lord Grant, these members courage and compassion let them be guided every day by conviction and character. Let them find ways to compromise and cooperate as they work to serve the citizens who have vested so much confidence in them. We ask a special prayer for the president of the Senate lieutenant Governor Mark K. Robinson. We pray that he learns this job, loves this job and leave a good legacy in this job. We ask a special prayer for the president pro tempore of the Senate, Senator Phillip E. Birger Sr We pray that he leads well and that he reaches across the aisle with an open hand and an open mind, seeking consensus whenever and wherever he can. We also ask a special prayer for the minority leader of the Senate, Senator Daniel T. Blue Jr. We pray that he leads well and that he reaches across the aisle with an open hand and an open mind seeking consensus whenever and wherever he can. As these leaders follow you. Lord, we pray the members follow them in service to a great state and great people. We pray that you keep every member, every staff member, every journalist, every lobbyist in every citizen that will journey through these halls safe from all harm. We pray for safe passage as members travel from far and near on the state's highways and back roads to reach the capital and carry out their sworn duties day and night. Four months. Finally, Lord, we thank you for simply letting us be here during this extraordinary period in history. Who knows? If perhaps we were called for just such a time as this, we humbly ask these blessings in the matchless name of your son. Jesus the Christ. Amen. Sergeant at Arms has recognized Mr President, the Marine Corps Junior ROTC color guard from South Stokes High School is at the door to present the colors and await your invitation. The sergeant at arms will now open the doors for the presentation of the colors by the Marine Corps Junior ROTC color guard from South Stokes High School in Walnut Cove, North Carolina. Right. Permission is granted. Yeah, I pledge allegiance to the flag off the United States of America on to the Republic for which it stands One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. 00 say, can you see by the dawn's early light works so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight or the ramparts we watched We're so get polenta Lee streaming on the rock cats The bombs bursting in air gave move through the night that our flag waas still there Oh, say, does that star spangled Benda yet wave Or the land land of the free Onda home The home of the Breyer Thank you very much to the color guard and to the three Heath Brothers. You are dismissed. Thank you very much. You may be seated. The clerk will read the certification of election as received from the Secretary of State, the honorable Elaine Marshall, and called the role of the senators elected by district. When your name is called, please stand and answer present and remain standing. The clerk will call the roll I. Elaine Marshall, secretary of the state of North Carolina, do hereby certify that the State Board of Elections met Tuesday, the 24th day of November 80 2020 in accordance with Chapter 1 63 of the General Statutes of North Carolina, at which time the board did open canvas and judicially determined the returns of votes cast in the election held on Tuesday, November 3rd 2020 and certified to me. The person's duly elected as members of the Senate from the various Senate district's comprising of more than one county and all others have been certified to me in the abstracts by the State Board of Elections as having the highest number of votes cast in the election for the Senate from District's composed of one county only for the General Assembly of 2021 district. First Bob Steinberg, second, Norman W. Sanderson Third, Earnestine Bird based. More fourth Milton F. Toby Fitch, Junior fifth, Dawn Davis. Sixth, Michael A. Lazara, seven. Jim Perry, eighth, Bill Ray, Been ninth, Michael Lee, 10th. Brent Jackson, 11. Lisa Stone Barns, 12th. Jim Bergen, 13. Danny Earl Britt Jr. 14th Dan Blue 15, J. J. Choudhury, 16th Wildly Nickel 17. Sam CRC 18. Sarah Crawford 19th. Kirk Davey Air, 20th. Natalie Murdoch 21st Ben Clarke, 22nd. Mike Woodard, 23rd. Valery P. Sushi, 24th. Amy S Gaily, 25th. Tom McInnis, 26. David Dave Craven 27. Michael Garrett 28. Gladys A. Robinson, president, 29th Steve Jarvis, 30th. Philip E. Phil Berger, 31st Joyce Profit, 32nd Paulo Jr. Right, 33rd. Carl Ford, 34th. Vicky Sawyer, 35th. Todd Johnson, 36. Paul Newton 37. Jeff Jackson, 38 Mustafa A Mohammed, 39th. D'Andrea Salvador 40th. Joyce Waddell 41st. Natasha Marcus, 42nd H. Dean Proctor, 43rd. Kathy Harrington, 44th. Ted Alexander, 45th. Deanna Ballard 46. Warren Daniel, 47th. Ralph Heists, 48. Chuck Edwards 49. Julie Mayfield, 50th. Kevin Corbyn. A letter of resignation effective at five PM on January 6 2021 was received from the Honorable Sam sources of District 17. Proclamation from the governor. The clerk will read State of North Carolina. Roy Cooper, governor. The appointment of Sydney Batch 2021 2022 by the governor of the State of North Carolina a proclamation, whereas Senator Sam, Sir See elected senator from Senate District 17 2021 2022. General Assembly resigned, effective January 6 2021. And whereas the provision of NC General Statute subsection 1 63 11 require that the vacancy created by the resignation off Senator Sam SERC be filled by appointment of the person recommended by the Senate District 17 executive committee of the North Carolina Democratic Party. And whereas the Senate District 17 Executive Committee has notified me of its recommendation of Sydney Batch of Wake County, North Carolina, to feel the unexpired term, I do by these presents a point. Sydney Batch as a member of the North Carolina Senate 2021 2022 General Assembly in witness whereof I have here and to sign my name and affects the Great Seal of the state of North Carolina at the Capitol in the city of Raleigh this 11th day of January in the year of our Lord 2021 of the independence of the United States of America, the 245th signed Roy Cooper, governor attest Elena Marshall, secretary of State the oath. The oath of office will now be administered. Two senators elect by the honorable Tamara Barringer of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. For those of you who will use a holy book for your oath, you may place your left hand on the book. All senators elect will now raise your right hand and receive the Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will support the Constitution and laws of the United States and do you solemnly and sincerely swear or affirm that you will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the state of North Carolina and to the constitutional powers and authority, which are or may be established by the government there of and that you will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution and laws have said state not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States and to the best of your knowledge and ability, and do you solemnly and sincerely swear or affirm that you will faithfully and discharge the duties of your office. As a member of the Senate of the Tooth 2021 General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, To the best of your knowledge and ability, so help you God. Congratulations to each and every one of you. You may be seated. 47 senators being present and having taken the oath of office, I declare a quorum present and qualified. The Senate will now proceed with the election of a president pro tempore, as established by the Constitution of North Carolina. Mr. President, for what purpose do you arrive? Senator Herek in to make a nomination? You have the floor for your nomination. Today I rise to nominate Senator Phil Berger to serve another term as president pro TEM of the Senate. First sworn into this body in 2000 and one, Senator Burger is the longest serving senator currently in the Senate since 2011. His leadership of this chamber has been that of an exemplary public servant, fair, honest and honorable. Throughout his strong, steady leadership, he has always been willing to listen to the concerns of every member and has put that into practice by always allowing for full debates on the Senate floor. Along with his experience doesn't accomplish attorney. He brings to his service in the Senate quiet wisdom and in spite of the demand on his time that leadership of his body this body requires. Senator Burger always makes time for his family and serves as a great example toe all members working to keep family the highest priority. My fellow senators, I don't think there is a better person for this job that my friend and mentor, Senator Phil Berger, with that Mr President, I formally nominate Senator Phil Berger to serve as president pro TEM of the 2021 North Carolina Senate. Mr. President, Senator Raben For what purpose? T rise to second the nomination. Make a motion. You have the floor for your second and your motion. Thank you, Mr President. Mr. President, Members arrived to second the nomination. Senator Phil Berger to the president. Pro tell the Senate, uh, we have worked together since I was first elected and began my service in 2000 and 11. He has been a pro TEM since that time, and his unwavering, steadfast leadership has led North Carolina into a new era. I'm proud to serve with him. The leadership that he exhibits is a rare thing to find, and I'm very, very happy to second this nomination a further move that the nomination be closed and that Senator Burgers nomination be accepted by acclamation. The motion is that the nominations be closed and that the nomination of Senator Phillip E. Burger as president pro tempore of the 2021 Senate be accepted by acclamation. Is there discussion or debate here? He None. All those in favor will say I opposed. No, the eyes have it. And the chair declares. Senator Phillip E. Burger of Rockingham County unanimously elected to the office of President Pro tempore off the 2021 Senate. Senator Harrington, Senator Raben, Senator Blue and Senator Johnson are appointed as a committee to escort President Pro tempore elect Philip E. Burger to the well of the Senate to receive the oath of office. Senator Harrington, you have the floor. Thank you, Senator Harrington. The escort committee may return to the seats. Members and guests may be seated. The honorable Philip Burger Jr of the North Carolina Supreme Court will administer the oath. Thanks. If you would place your left hand on the Bible, raise your right. Do you, Phil Berger, solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help you God and do you solemnly and sincerely swear that you will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the state of North Carolina and to the constitutional powers and authorities, which are or may be established for the government thereof. And will you endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution? Laws have said, state not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States to the best of your knowledge and ability. And do you solemnly and sincerely swear that you will be faithful and faithfully discharge your duties as president pro tempore of the 2021 General Assembly to the best of your skill and ability, so help you God. Congratulations. Yeah. Congratulations, Senator Burger. The chair has the great honor of recognizing you to address the Senate and our guest. Thank you, Lieutenant. Governor, Uh, members of the Senate. I have prepared remarks and I'll get into those, uh, but first I wanted Thio. Make sure that we as a body and the guests that we have here recognized both the South Stokes ROTC, uh, and the Heath Brothers for the, uh, presenting of the colors and the national anthem. I think they did a magnificent job and so I think they should be recognized. So I want to thank everyone here for the warm welcome. Once again, thank you. Members of the Senate, for providing me with the high honor to serve as the president pro temporary of the North Carolina Senate. I'd like to take a moment, Thio. Recognize some folks who are with us today. Many have already been recognized, but Lieutenant Governor Robinson Justice Barrenger used to sit back there. Um, Justice burger we don't wanna talk too much about were used to set, but Majority Leader Harrington, Democratic leader, Blue distinguished members of the North Carolina Senate are Senate principal clerk and her staff, our sergeant at Arms and his staff. And of course, uh, the family and guests of those Senate members being seated for their first Senate terms and those countless people viewing on television on over the Internet via the cameras that we see in the in the gallery. Um, I speak for all members in saying it's unlikely that any of us would be here without the love and support of family and friends. They are the foundation on which our success is built and I thank you As we begin this new session, much has changed, and in some respects little has changed from where we were two years ago. We're now in the middle of a pandemic, the likes of which none of us has experienced. More than 7600 North Carolinians have lost their lives as a result of cova, each leaving family and friends mourning a loss. Social ties, air strain, government competencies and coffers are stressed, and countless lives are altered in ways we could not have anticipated. And after a year of waking each morning with the hope that someday we could go back to the way things were, thanks to the fastest vaccine development in history, we finally have the slight glimmer of what hopefully is a light at the end of the tongue. That is something to celebrate. And though we haven't had experience with the pandemic like this, we do have experience with a consequence of the pandemic, that being economic recession, that experience began a little over 10 years ago. In fact, we spent the better part of the first part of the last decade recovering from that recession, and the second part preparing for this one. Because of steps taken, we have the financial cushion of reserves and unspent revenues to bolster our state's finances. We've avoided the teacher salary freezes and education cuts the previous recession broad. And we know it's not just happenstance that led us to that point since 2011. We reduce the share of the state takes and taxes from our citizens. They're keeping Mawr of their earnings to pay bills, grow businesses and save for the future. We cut bureaucratic red tape for the private sector to be the economic engine for job growth that we need. In turn, our population and employment have exploded, with businesses and people moving here in record numbers. Our pro growth economic development tool box produced an unprecedented expansion of our tax base. The state's economic pie grew so even at lower tax rates. State collections increased to fund the services and efforts of government. At the same time, we saved for a rainy day. Because of that, reserves existed for hurricane and earthquake recovery, and we still have substantial rainy day balances as we move forward. So while the cause of our present circumstance may be different, our policy prescriptions are largely unchanged. Voters return Republican majorities to the Legislature, bolstering our charge to lead North Carolina out of this recession as we did the last one. Now voters also returned Governor Roy Cooper to lead the executive branch, meaning mixed party control of our government continues for the foreseeable future. I intend to work with all to find, develop and expand common ground where it may exist, and I know many of you feel the same way. Governor Cooper and I have had multiple conversations since the election, and he offered a similar commitment. I take him at his word. I'm under no illusion that agreement can be reached on every matter that comes before us. This institution is a venue for exploring the opportunities that may exist for finding common ground. People from different areas and different backgrounds come together to explore different paths for our state's future, and each proponents sincerely believes their path is best. We should not be grudge. Pressing for a genuinely held policy preference disagreement is healthy and makes for better ultimate outcomes. We should all welcome discussion and disagreement, and I suggest that people understand what that entails by their returning divided government disputes, however, become unhealthy When political posturing derails sound policy. We must all guard against having the politics of an issue override the policy of an issue. I'm reminded of my predecessor, former Senate leader Mark Basnan. He grasped power firmly and one farm or political battles than he lost, and I found myself on the other side of him on many issues over the 1st 10 years I served in this body. But I also believe that in nearly every encounter, Senator Basnight intended to advance his firmly held view of what was best for North Carolina. The fact that he and I had differences on policy did not prevent him from honorably and graciously surrendering power when the people rendered their election verdict. You, as members of this Senate represent millions of people who charge you, all of us with figuring out how best to see our state progress. Success is possible on Lee if we approach policy disagreements with the assumption of good faith on all sides. In that way, we can bicker and barter back and forth, and it, days end, still see one another as a colleague, not a foe. Basic decency comes under threat when we assign base motives to one another. In times of disagreement, we become an unhealthy body. When we conclude a difference of opinion is born from a darkness in one's heart rather than an honest difference in one's mind. When that happens, we do not represent our constituents in the high manner they deserve. We cannot demonize one another's motives one day and expect to successfully worked collaboratively the next we assembled today. After a year punctuated by violence, culminating last week in the most symbolic and troubling episode of all, a mob storming the seat of our national government, our Constitution prescribes how to advance change through the three branches of government. Mob violence is not one of in 18 38 Lincoln, whose ability to give voice to our core ideas ideals is unparalleled set of mobs by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless and spirit are encouraged to become lawless in practice, and having been used to no restraint but dread of punishment, they thus become absolutely unrestrained. Last week's mayhem has been denounced by all corners of American life, and it appears that authorities are aggressively enforcing the rule of law. That's good. There are, however, voices that question whether previous incidents have also been subject to the rule of law. Unfortunately, some tolerated or excused lawlessness as acceptable as if one injustice somehow absolves responsibility for theft, property damage and vandalism. The late Vermont Royster put the dangers succinctly in noting How thin is that veneer called civilization? It's critical that we put down the rhetorical weapons that inflame Mawr division. And, as Lincoln says, let reverence for the laws be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in the legislative halls and enforced in the courts of justice. Legislators come and go. Majorities expand and fade, but the institution must endure. All of us, from the most senior to the most junior, have a solemn responsibility to protect our form of government and honor the rule of law. So today I take to heart Lincoln's instruction that sober reason replace violent passions so each of us can faithfully advance our policy preferences through the civility and respect we show for each other and for the institution in which we are privileged to serve. I want to thank you. Yeah, yeah! The next order of business to come before the Senate is the adoption of rules. Ah, procedure by which this body shall govern itself. Senator Rehman is recognized. Thank you, Mr President. Mr. President, I move that Senate Resolution one be filed and brought before the Senate for first reading and for immediate consideration on second reading. Introduction of a resolution the clerk will read Senate Resolution one adopting the permanent rules of the Senate for the regular session of the 2021 General Assembly. Second reading of Senate. Resolution one. The clerk will read Senate Resolution one, Senate permanent rules 2021. Senator Raven is recognized to explain the resolution. Thank you, Mr President. Uh, members, uh, I will quickly run through the rule changes a czar presented. And this resolution, they start with rule six. Uh, this rule removes the language or this change removes the language. Require a quorum for the approval of the journal. This accounts for the practice of approving the journal drink skeletal sessions. Rule 15. This edition clarifies that reading and discussion ing off. Central statement is limited to three minutes. Rule 17 B. The revision provides that derogatory statements may not be made on the Senate floor about either a senator or more than one senator. Rule 24 1. This revision allows the principal clerk to receive and refer committee reports following a German of the daily session. Also allows the Pro TEM to appoint committees during this tab. Rule 32 Most of these are very straightforward, as you've seen. In fact, all of them are Rule 32 the AG. Any our committee is being renamed Agriculture, Energy and Environment Rule 40 a one. This change updates are rules reflect the practice of filing of bills. Elektronik Lee Rule 40.2 contains the deadlines to request and follow your local bills. And for the upcoming long session, Rule 41 sets the crossover day this year for May 13, 2021. The house will have the same crossover day. Those are the rule changes, uh, that we are presenting, uh, in this resolution, I encourage all of you to support them. Uh, there are straightforward, but I will happily take any questions. Thank you, Mr Brennan. Is there discussion or debate? Mr. President? Senator Blue. For what purpose do you rise? Well, my friend Senator rave in yield For a question. You have the floor for you, Will you yield for a question. Thank you, Senator. Ravens question in going through the rules and and I command you for, uh, for any transparent manner keeping us informed as you've changed him. But I have one question and I'll give you some background foot in my caucus. The number one discussion, as you would imagine, has related to Covert 19 and the CDC recommendations on Face Mask is one of the favorite discussions. It was my intention to offer an amendment to the rule to require that we do that until we're out of a state of emergency. But in looking at the chamber, looking at the galleries, I don't want to impose rules. I try to impose rules. If, in fact, that's the intention of the rules Chairman, President Pro TEM that we could. Joe, we twist arms. We do whatever is necessary to ensure that members respect other members in wear mask while they're in the chamber. I know that it takes 50% plus one to amend this bill, but it's easily, uh I think achievable to get two thirds. If, in fact, we find members not obeying what I see them doing today, and that is wearing mask. So my question to you, is it the intention of the rules chair and the President Pro TEM, uh, to require all of our members of staff and other folks in the chamber to wear mask during the duration of the governor's executive order, or until most of us could get two shots in our arms? Thank you, Senator Blue. Uh, let me cliff I What you're asking. Are you asking for a rule change to that? Are you asking for a request? I'm trying to glean the rules Chairman's intention and the president pro attempt intention. And I don't typically amend rules. I try to and I am not intending to. Although I had intended to when I came on the floor. I'm not intending to do that. If you will assure me that it is the intention of the rules chair and the President pro TEM to insist that members and visitors in the gallery and staff were masked when we're in this chamber. Um, since since you directed that toward the Pro TEM and may, I'm gonna allow, uh, my boss to speak, but that's okay with Senator. Burger presidency rise. Uh, Thio respond to a question that has been asked by Senator Blue You have Florida Senator blew my intention Aziz, before today, Um, in talking thio members is to, as you said, encourage and cajole folks to, uh, where a mass, Um, out of respect for other members, uh, in in the chamber. I am reluctant to make it a mandate. You mentioned the CDC recommendations, and, uh so I think we're all elected individuals in here, and at least the members are on. And I believe that you will find that most members will we will see fit Thio to continue to wear masks. Um, so I mean, that's my response to your question. Hopefully that addresses what your concern, Waas. Thank you, Senator Burger, Uh, debate the rule. Debate the resolution. Rather, you have the floor just just briefly, Senator Burger, You and I have discussed this and and we understand some of the difficulties of members who get elected the same way we do in their opinions, and I respect that. Ah, but but I'd like to say that I think that the rules work well a Z they've been formulated. But I would encourage all of the members to follow your advice and suggestions. Uh, totally, when it comes toe mask, worry. Ah, And as I indicated, it would take 50% plus one to amend the rules to require that today. But I think if what you say is correct, Senator Burger, uh, that the overwhelming majority of your members believe that the CDC has some idea of what they're talking about when they suggest West Mass point. And so, if in fact, during the course of our stay here during the session, members are not observing that rule, we can is easily amend the rules, then with the two thirds as we can as a minority on today with 50% plus one. And I just wanted to bring that to the members attention and in full respect for all of the other members and their kinfolk. And what we saw happen in D. C. Last week with respect to the infection of five Congress, people who happen to be in the room with somebody who was infected, that we ought to be ever vigilant out of respect for us fellow senators and fellow staff and visitors to observing these requirements and I'm not going to try to force your members to do something that they don't want to do, but your assurance that you will keep controlling them as you see it on, I'm twisting and doing whatever is necessary. I think we'll put everybody at ease and we'll make everybody, uh, feel that they are respected by their colleagues as they return that respect. And I think and basic embracement off what I think was a great statement by you as we opened this session s o. I was telling Senator Raben and it was my intention to offer an amendment to require mastering, but I think that that could be accomplished based on what you see it. Ah, and based on your knowing and the members knowing, Ah, that is going to constantly be an issue until it is practiced by everybody, at least in this chamber, uh, for their own safety. And, uh, for the tearing of their fellow senators and the people who come here toe watch us. New business. Thank you, Mr President. It's their further discussion or debate. Mr. President, Senator awarded for what purpose? T rise. Speak briefly on the resolution. You have the floor. Thank you, Mr President. Uh, listen, listen, I just want to take a moment to thank Senator Raben and Julie Bradburn, the rules committee counsel for, uh, taking Senate Democratic caucus input into the rules and, uh, for our good discussion on these, and I urge unanimous adoption of our rules today. Thank you. Any further discussion or debate? Hearing? None. The question before the Senate is the adoption of Senate Resolution one. All those in favor of the adoption of Senate resolution will vote. I opposed. No 10 seconds would be allowed for the voting. The clerk will record the boat. Sort of fits. That's our and Senator Proctor 47 having voted in the affirmative. Zero in the negative. The rules for the 2021 Senate adopted leaves of absences are requested and without objection are granted for Senator Bazemore Garrett and forward. Senate rules 65 establishes the office off the Deputy President pro tempore. Nominations are now in order for Deputy President Pro tempore off the 2021 Senate. Senator Daniel, For what purpose do you rise to make a nomination? You have the floor for your nomination, Mr President. Members are rise to nominate Senator Ralph Heist to serve as deputy president pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate. Senator Heiss and I were both elected to this body in 2000 and 10, and it has been my pleasure to serve alongside him for the past 10 years. Back then, he was the youngest member of the Senate, but we all quickly learned that he was wise. Beyond his years, Senator Heis has earned his reputation as a senator who has the ability to become an expert on the most complex issues facing our state. Despite having a young family and having to travel farther to Riley than 47 of his Senate colleagues, he is one of the hardest working legislators and has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to this body. Representing a district that reaches from the Tennessee line on the North to the South Carolina line, A line on the South senator heist has become a legend in western North Carolina, and his leadership in this body has benefited the people of North Carolina from Murphy to mania. With that Mr President, I formally nominate my dear friend and colleague Senator Ralph Heist, to serve as our deputy President pro tempore. Senator. Krav it for what purpose? T rise a rise to second the nomination. And to make a motion, you have the floor for your second and your motion. Thank you, Mr President. Mr. President Members, I rise to second the nomination of Senator Ralph Heist to serve as our deputy president pro tempore. Senator Heis as my colleague, Senator Daniel said, is wise beyond his years. Absolutely 100%. Hey, has been my mentor. I'm a few years older, but he has definitely been my mentor. I've known Senator Heist through his mother for a number of years. I consider him a dear friend, and I have learned more from Senator Highs than almost anybody I can think off. Um, certainly in this body, but almost in my lifetime. He I consider him to be genius on all things health care. And I couldn't do the things I've done on health care without his assistance. And he's always there. A senator Daniel said He's one of the hardest workers we have in this body, and any time I've called on him for anything, he has always been there, and I consider him a dear friend and I'm honored to second his nomination. I further move, Mr President that the nominations be closed and that Senator Heists nomination be accepted by acclamation. The motion is that the nominations be closed and the denomination of Senator Wife Heist for Deputy President Pro TEM pour off the 2021 Senate be accepted by acclamation. Is the discussion or debate? If not, those in favor will say I opposed? No, The eyes have it. And the chair declares Senator Ralph Heists unanimously elected to the office of Deputy President Pro Tempo of the 2021 Senate. Senator Daniel, Senator Previck, Senator Ballot and Senator Sanderson are appointed to escort the deputy President Pro tempore elect Ralph Heist to the well of the Senate to receive the oath of office. Senator Daniel, you have the floor. Mr. President, I present Senator Ralph Heist to the body as deputy President pro tempore and asked that he be seated as such. Thank you, Senator Daniel. The escort committee may return to their seats. Members and guests may be seated as well. The honorable Tamara Barringer of the North Carolina Supreme Court will administer the oath. Senator Heists. Are you ready? to take your oath of office. If you are. Please take your put your left hand on the Bible. Raise your right hand and answer these questions. Do you, Ralph high solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution and laws of the United States? So help you God, do you solemnly and sincerely swear that you will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the state of North Carolina into the constitutional powers and authority which are or may be established for the government thereof. And you will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution and laws have said state not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States to the best of your knowledge and ability. And do you solemnly and sincerely swear that you will faithfully discharge your duties as Deputy president pro tomorrow, Uh, of the 2021 General Assembly to the best of your skills and ability, so help you God help me. God E. Congratulations, sir. In the house, you have the floor to address the Senate. Thank you, Mr President. President Pro tempore. Members of the judiciary does my heart. Great. See you back from the chamber camera. Thank you. Distinguished visitors and guests. Fellow members of the Senate. Thank you for your support. I will do the best that I can for this office to support the president pro tempore Phil Berger and all the members of this exalted chamber. I appreciate all the support you have given. Two years ago, I was privileged to stand here for the first time, received the oath for this office. I was here with my wife, land my sons, my mother. And as most of you know, last October, she finished her battle with kings. It's a very special day for me today. Today would have been her 71st person. As I stand here, I want to first think so many people in this body and others for their prayers, their support and their wishes because I and my family made it through that very difficult time. I'm humbled to serve with such great individuals and who offer those supports in times of need. Thank you for your vote of confidence again in this position as this begins, the second decade and a new age of history in the North Carolina Senate under the capable leadership of Senator Phil Berger jokingly said he was the last Republican to serve in the minority and still serve in the Senate. I hope it stays that way for a very long time. I would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our lieutenant governor, Mark Robins, and say that we look forward to working alongside you and could not b'more excited about what your historical election and service represents to the citizen of the North Carolina's citizens of North Carolina. I will keep my other comments brief. But as I have searched for what I could say at this moment, given everything we're seeing in this nation the conflicts, the pandemic, the issues we saw that our national capital, it has been laid heavy on my heart for weeks now. A verse from a season Ephesians Chapter six, verse 12 for we wrestle Not against flesh and blood but against Principalities against powers against rulers of darkness of the world and against spiritually weakness in high places too often has elected officials. We're drawn to conflicts with each other. We're led to believe that the enemy sits on a different road in a different chamber, or even in a different branch of government well, we often miss the opportunity to wrestle against the true enemies that afflicts so many. This Bible that I have taken the oath on today belonged to my grandmother. It was one that was given to her many years ago by her Sunday school class. It used to be read, but over many years of prayers and study, it's become this quite ish peak Cooper. Our grandparent's never had much. I was 12 years old when they finally moved to a home with running water. Ah, home. That didn't require building a fire in the kitchen stove, a pan in the kitchen for a bathtub and a long walk out the back door to get to the outhouse. But my grandmother worked for almost 40 years in a lunch room at a local community school. She never drove a car, never even wore pants. But she committed everything to improving the lives of her Children, grandchildren and the Children she served every day in that community lunch, she made sure that my mother was the first in her family to go to college through an exchange program at Warren Wilson College. And make no mistake about it, I stand here today because of the battle she fault. This Bible shows the scars of where she wrestled against Principalities, against powers, against rollers, of darkness, of this world against spiritual wickedness in high places. And two generations later, I'm able to stand here with a testament to that battle she fought. Truth is, all of us come from similar struggles where people have fought those battles for us, and we're all truly blessed to be here today, and we can all reflect on what delivered us to that point. It is my hope and prayer, especially in those moments where we feel drawn to wrestle against each other when we see those in the other party, chamber or government branches are enemies, that we instead take a moment to reflect on what we're truly called to battle against and the simple power that we all have to truly change things. I hope that the end of this by any that our theme reflects similar to what this first says, that we didn't fight against each other and against parties, but we thought against the things that hold people back all across this stuff. I again say thank you for this opportunity to serve and tow lead in this body. And I look forward to standing arm and arm with so many of you as we continue to build this state following this pandemic and this unprecedented season of division. Thank you. Thank you very much. Yeah. Okay. The Constitution of North Carolina directs the Senate to elect its other officers. The general statutes defined them to be a principal clerk and the sergeant at arms. The chair now declares nominations are in order for the office of Principal Clerk off the 2021 Senate. Mr. Senator, Senator Raven. For what purpose do you rise to make a nomination, sir, you have to flow for your nomination. Thank you, Mr President. Mr. President Members arrived today to nominate Sal Holland again to serve as our Senate principal clerk. So has served this body for a decade. Those of us who were in the Senate a decade and no ago there how much Sarah has done to make our state operations more streamline and seamless. She has spearheaded efforts to update technology and to improve the way we do things like filing sponsor Bill and participate in debate on the Senate. floor. Sarah and her staff are some of the hardest working people in this body. They do this behind the scenes way. Rarely see how hard they were. They're here at night, long after we leave the business of the day. And if the session is complete before any of them go home, these are the people that dot every are cross every t. Make sure every signature is in the proper place and in order, so that what we do in this chamber can become law in law without fail. She's done an outstanding job for our chamber, and I'm pleased to recommend her for another term. With that, Mr President, I formally nominate sale Holland Service principal purpose for the 2021 Senate. Mr. President, Senator Highest for what purpose do you rise to second the nomination and to make a motion, you have the floor for your second and your nomination. Mr. President, I rise to second. The nomination of Sarah Holland is principal clerk of the 2021 North Carolina Senate. You know, it's kind of hard to remember back, uh, what it was like serving in the senate when we first got here and before Sarah took over. Um, motions and bills and filing was all the paper process. Everyone zealous had to stack their little legislative book every day for everything we could consider. We had thio circle jackets everywhere. We went to get signatures and co signatures. Elektronik devices weren't even allowed on the floor when we began. Those may have been easy decisions for us to make a za senate, but it was the Clerks office that had to make it all happen to make it all function, to make it all work. And she has done a nearly flawless job over 10 years. We're excited to see her grow and her family grow and come forward as she continues the great work she's done. And no one does. That great work better than the hallmark of the Senate is to select the staff around them that can make sure it continues to move, even if they have to be away for a moment. It's what makes feel a great leader, and it's what makes Sarah Glade clerk. She has a great staff around her. It's had low turnover in the time I've been here, and it gets more efficient every year, and it still has to put up with us and all their little whining and quirks. So with that, Mr President, I further move. In addition, the nomination that nominations be closed and that Sarah Hollins nomination is principal clerk be accepted by acclamation. The motion is that the nominations be closed and that the nomination of Sarah Holland for the principal clerk of the Senate of the 2021 session be accepted by acclamation. Is there discussion or debate? If not, those in favor will say, I opposed. No, the eyes have it. And the chair declares. Sarah Holland unanimously elected to the office of principal clerk of the Senate for the 2021 session. The sergeant at arms will escort the principal clerk elect to the well of the Senate where Justice Burger will administer the oath of office. Miss Holland, are you prepared to take your own place your left hand on the Bible? Raise your right. Do you, Sarah Holland, solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution and laws of the United States, do solemnly and sincerely swear that you will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the state of North Carolina and to the constitutional powers and authorities, which are or may be established for the government thereof. And will you endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution and laws of said state not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States to the best of your knowledge and ability, And do you solemnly and sincerely swear that you will faithfully discharge your duties as principal clerk of the Senate of the 2021 General Assembly to the best of your skill and ability, so help you God? Congratulations. Congratulations, Madam Clerk, please assume your seat. Nominations Air Now, in order for the sergeant at arms off the 2021 Senate. Senator Jackson for what purpose do you rise for? Thank you, Mr President, For the purpose of the nomination, you have the floor for your nomination. Thank you, Mr President. Members, I rise to nominate Robert Bob Merrick to serve a czar Sergeant, Senate Sergeant of Arms. Bob is you know, he's a proud alumna of East Carolina University and a month before his graduation. And I did not know this until I was reading up on his bow with a degree in psychology. In 1976 he was already playing professional football in the Canadian Football League. So in 1983 Bob realized his lifelong ambition. When he joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bob spent more than 25 years working increasingly sophisticated cases in the areas of organized crime and violent crime, as well as domestic and international terrorism. We could certainly use that today here, even in North Carolina. During his career, the FBI took full advantage of Bob's organizational and leadership abilities, and Bob was an instructor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. But Bob has another side to him as well. Bob is the mission and outreach coordinator at Hope Community Presbyterian Church in Wilmington. He has served on the board of directors, the New Hanover County Law Enforcement Association and the FBI retired association. He's also a former commissioner on the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, and Bob and his wife, Linda, live in Wilmington. They have two happily married Children, Scott and Caroline, and one granddaughter, Della Francis. Bob is a Meme has been a member of the Senate sergeant of arms staff since 2000 and 11 And with that, Mr President, I formally nominate Bob Merrick to serve as our sergeant of arms off the 2021 North Carolina Senate. Mr. President, Senator Newton. For what purpose? The rise to second the nomination And to make a motion, sir, you have the floor for your second and your motion. Thank you, Mr President. Members, I'm honored, uh, to second the nomination of Robert Bob Myrick to serve as our sergeant at arms. I also move that the nominations be closed and that Bob my Rex nomination be accepted by acclamation. The motion is that the nominations be closed and that the nomination of Robert Myrick for Sergeant at arms off the 2021 Senate be accepted by acclamation. Is there discussion or debate? If not, those in favor will say I opposed No, The eyes have it. And the chair declares, Robert Marik unanimously elected to the office of Sergeant at arms for the Senate for the 2021 session, The sergeant at arms may proceed to the well of the Senate where Justice Barrenger will administer the oath. Mr. Merrick, are you prepared to take your I am a place your left hand on the Bible. Raise your right hand and please answer these questions. You, Robert Robert Myrick, solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution and laws of the United States. Do you solemnly and sincerely swear that you will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the state of North Carolina and to the constitutional powers and authority which are or may be established for the government there. And you will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution and laws of set state not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States to the best of your knowledge and ability. And do you solemnly and sincerely swear that you will faithfully discharge your duties as sergeant at arms of the Senate of the 2021 General Assembly to the best of your skill and ability, so help you God? Yeah. Congratulations, Mr Mark. You may assume you see message from the majority caucus clerk will read. Dear President Robinson, this is to advise you that the Senate Republican caucus met on November 30th 2020 with 28 members present and elected the following officers for the 2021 session of the General Assembly Senate Majority leader. Senator Kathy Harrington, Senate Majority Whip Senator Tom McInnis, Senate Majority Whip Senator Jim Perry, Republican caucus leader Senator Carl Ford. In addition, the following officers were nominated for the 2021 session of the General Assembly. President pro tempore. Senator Phillip Burger, deputy president pro tempore. Senator Ralph Heist, principal clerk. Miss Sarah Lang Holland. Sergeant at Arms Mr Robert Mirek Sincerely. Kathy Harrington, majority leader of the Republican Costis. The chair recognizes Please stand as your name is called. Senator Kathy Harrington, Majority Leader. Senator Tom McInnis and Senator Jim Perry, majority whips and Senator Call forward Republican Joint Caucus leader Thank you. Message from the minority caucus clerk will read Dear Lieutenant Governor Robinson. The Senate Democratic caucus met on Tuesday, November 24 2020 and elected the following officers for the 2021 22 legislative term. Senator Daniel T. Blue Jr of Wake Minority Leader, Senator Jay Choudhary of Wake Minority Whip, Senator Valerie Fu xi of Orange County caucus chair, and Senator Robert Ben Clarke, the third of Hoke County caucus secretary, respectfully signed Senator Robert B. Clarke, the third Senate Democratic Caucus secretary chair Recognizes please stand as your name is called Senator Dan Blue. Minority Leader. Senator Jay Choudhury, Minority Whip Senator Valerie Fu Xi. Caucus chair. Senator Ben Clarke, Caucus secretary. Mr. President. Senator Raben. For what purpose? The rise to make a motion. Mr. President, you have the floor for your motion. Thank you, Mr President. And members, having voted with the prevailing side on the election of Senator Phil Berger, is president pro tempore of Senate. I moved the Senate do now reconsider the vote by which he was elected on further moves. That my motion to reconsider a laid upon the table, Mr Breast. State of the Heist. For what purpose? You rise second, the motion. This is a non debatable motion and we'll go straight to a vote. The question before the body is the motion to table the motion to reconsider the vote for President Pro tempore. All in favor will vote Aye. All oppose will vote. No. 10 seconds will be allowed for voting and the clerk will cord to vote. Senator Fitch, I 47 having voted in the affirmative, zero in the negative. The motion has been tabled. Senator Raymond is recognized. Thank you, Mr President. Arise to make a motion, Mr President, Without objection. So ordered. Thank you. Uh, Mr President Members, I moved the rules be suspended to the end. That Senate joint resolution the gentleman resolution be filed and brought to the floor for first reading and then immediate consideration On second reading, I moved further that upon adoption, the resolution be sent to the house by special message. Introduction of a resolution to Clark will read Senate joint resolution to by Senator Raben joint resolution adjourning the 2021 regular session of the General Assembly to a date certain, as provided by law. Senate Joint resolution to. On a second reading, the clerk will read Senate Joint resolution to adjourn 2021 organizational session. Senator Raben is recognized to explain the resolution. Thank you, Mr President. Members, As you know, we're holding this organization's session today to allow us to hit the ground running at the end of the month. By statute, when we adjourned today, we will remain adjourned until January 27th because we were enduring for more than 10 days. Three days. I apologize. The Constitution requires that we are adjourned by joint resolution. The Senate joint resolution to simply does this with that. Urge your support and we'll be happy to answer your questions. Thank you, Mr President. Is there further discussion or debate hearing? None. The question before the Senate is the passage of Senate joint resolution to on its second reading. All those in favor will vote. I opposed note. 10 seconds will be allowed for the voting. The clerk The clerk will record to vote. Senator Fitch Art, 47 having voted in the affirmative. Zero in the negative Senate joint resolution to has passed its second reading and without objection will be read a third time. The General Assembly of North Carolina in acts. Is there further discussion or debate here? None. All in favor of the passage of Senate joint resolution to on his third reading Will say I opposed No, the eyes have it and Senate Joint Resolution two passes third reading on would be sent to the House by special message Azaz, the new president of the Senate. I would like to take a few moments just to address this honorable body. Uh, and I'll take my glasses off to say this in case they get a little steaming, uh, as a person who comes from very humble beginnings. I'm sure a lot of you all do. I was a person that comes from a blue collar background just a few years ago. For those of you who don't know, I was working in a factory in High Point. Now, stand here as lieutenant governor of North Carolina. This has been an amazing journey. And the reason why it has been an amazing journey is because I live in an amazing state in the greatest nation on Earth. I don't believe there is any other nation on Earth that would have allowed me to rise to this station in life so quickly but than the United States of America. I say that for this purpose. I firmly believe that this is still the land of opportunity, equal opportunity and freedom and justice. I still believe that. And anyone who doesn't I can sit them down. And I have a story to tell them about Mrs Robinson's youngest son from Greensboro, North Carolina, who once upon a time sat on the banister in a rat infested house and dreamed of doing great things because his mother had over overwhelming faith in God. Because he lives in the greatest freest nation on earth has now achieved great things. And so I say to you, Keep in mind this country may have many problems, but it's still the greatest country on Earth. And as lieutenant governor, I intend to fight every day to make sure that this state, the greatest state in the greatest country on Earth, stays that way. I'm honored to be here. Thank you all for accepting me. And I look forward to working with each and every one of people I'm trying to think Change. Thank you. It's funny. Thank you. Senators haven't received your oath of office adopted rules of procedure and elected your officers. The chair directs the principal clerk to send a message to the House of Representatives informing that honorable body that the Senate off the 2021 General Assembly is organized and ready to proceed with public business. Are there any notices or announcements with no further business to come before the Senate, the chair will entertain a motion for a German and recognize the senator Burger. Mr. President, I move that Senate do now adjourn pursuant to Senate joint resolution to adjourn 2021 organizational session and subject to Senate Rule 24.1 to reconvene on Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 at 12 PM The motion by Senator Burger, seconded by senator raping is that the Senate do now adjourn pursuant to Senate Joint resolution to subject to stipulation stated by Senator Burger to reconvene on Wednesday, January 27th 2021 at 12 PM All in favor, say AYE. Opposed? No, the eyes have it, and the Senate stands adjourned, okay?