With the legislative session just a week away, House and Senate leaders are appointing committee chairs who will lead hearings and control the flow of legislation.
Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore haven’t made many major changes to who oversees the most powerful committees – a sign they’re happy with the Republicans who held those posts during the last session.
But departures of several key Republicans who served last year have opened up some promotions for other GOP legislators.
We’ll spare you the long list of committee appointments, but here’s some notable highlights of who will take on key roles this year:
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Raleigh senator gets a promotion: Sen. John Alexander, a Republican who owns a trucking company, didn’t chair any committees during his first term after being elected in 2014 to replace Sen. Neal Hunt.
This year he’ll be more prominent: Berger appointed him as co-chairman of the State and Local Government Committee along with Sen. Ron Rabin of Harnett County and Sen. Jeff Tarte of Mecklenburg County.
The inclusion of two moderate lawmakers from urban counties could be a positive sign for city leaders who worry that the legislature might try to limit local government power.
Alexander will also co-chair the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Information Technology.
Filling Sen. Bob Rucho’s shoes: In recent sessions, the Senate Finance Committee – which sets tax policy – has been led by Rucho, a Mecklenburg County Republican who sought to lower income taxes while expanding the sales tax to cover more services.
Rucho didn’t seek re-election, so this year the Finance Committee will be chaired by Sen. Andrew Brock of Mocksville, Sen. Jerry Tillman of Archdale and Sen. Tommy Tucker of Union County. They tend to share Rucho’s views on tax policy.
Rucho also led the committee that oversees election laws and redistricting, but Berger hasn’t named his picks to lead that committee yet.
More budget writers in the House: While Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary will continue to serve as the House’s senior budget writer, Moore has added more co-chairs to lead budget efforts under Dollar.
Three budget “big chairs” from last year will return: Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville, Rep. Donny Lambeth of Winston-Salem and Rep. Linda Johnson of Kannapolis. But this year, they’ll be joined by Rep. Dean Arp of Monroe and Rep. John Faircloth of High Point.
The Senate’s line-up of budget co-chairs hasn’t changed: Sens. Harry Brown of Jacksonville, Kathy Harrington of Gastonia and Brent Jackson of Sampson County.
Filling Rep. Leo Daughtry’s shoes: The longtime Republican legislator from Smithfield had been chairman of the powerful Judiciary I Committee before he retired last year.
That committee will now be chaired by Rep. Ted Davis Jr. of Wilmington, who moves up from chairing the Judiciary III Committee.