Under the Dome

State of the State address brings NC Constitution to life

The North Carolina Constitution springs to life at 7 p.m. as Gov. Pat McCrory begins what will be his second State of the State address.

Two things to know about Wednesday's speech:

And both come from the document itself.

The document's Article III, which covers the executive branch of state government, specifies one of the governor's duties as providing "information to (the) General Assembly."

"The Governor shall from time to time give the General Assembly information of the affairs of the State and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall deem expedient," it says.

Thus, the State of the State, which has gone by that name for at least five decades. It doesn't have to be delivered in person, of course, but doing so makes for better TV.

A separate part of the constitution also requires the governor to prepare and recommend a budget. That is expected later this month.

But why does this only happen every other year? After all, it's similar to the national State of the Union address, which is typically an annual event.

Michael Crowell, an expert on the constitution at UNC's School of Government, wrote in an email that the update on state affairs only comes when the General Assembly is in regular session.

"Only every other year because under the constitution the legislature meets in regular session only every other year," he wrote. "Meeting in the second year of the biennium, the 'short session,' did not become a regular practice until the 1970s."

That part comes from Article II, Sec. 11, which says: "The General Assembly shall meet in regular session in 1973 and every two years thereafter..."