RALEIGH – With Republicans retaining, and even expanding a majority in the N.C. House of Representatives, the caucus met Monday to elect leaders for the 2021-2022 legislative session.
Tying a record for most terms as Speaker of the House, Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) was reelected by the caucus to that post for the fourth time.
“I am proud we kept our promises to North Carolinians, that our record of results earned strong support from voters across the state, and most of all that I can continue serving the people of Cleveland County who trust me to be their voice in this state legislature,” said Speaker Moore upon being reelected to lead the state house.
Leading yet another Republican majority in the chamber will be Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), first elected to the leadership role in 2016.
Bell said in a statement:
“It is truly an honor to have once again earned the support and trust of my Republican colleagues to continue serving as their House Majority Leader. I couldn’t be more proud of the tremendous amount of work that each one of our candidates put in this election cycle to not only keep control of the NC House, but expand our majority for the first time since 2012. Going forward, we are now positioned to build on the past decade of successful conservative reforms, and continue making North Carolina a better place for all.”
As Bell notes, the expanded majority reverses years of steady erosion as redistricting and urbanization chipped away at Republican dominance. While it is not a veto-proof super-majority, it does reduce the ease with which House Democrats can sustain the inevitable vetoes to come from Democrat Governor Roy Cooper.
After a period of overriding every veto that Cooper handed down, Republicans were forced to reckon losing that unilateral ability after 2018 elections delivered enough wins for Democrats to help the governor frustrate legislation. After that election, even when legislation was passed with a bipartisan super-majority of House members, Cooper was able to bully those Democrats who voted for the bill into sustaining his veto of that legislation.
That won’t be as easy to do, with Republicans needing just a few Democrats to override such vetoes. There are still some conservative Democrats with constituencies that expect common sense representation; not mere allegiance to Cooper’s partisan political pandering.
Cooper has said he views his reelection as a mandate to expand entitlement programs like Medicaid, which means he’ll likely veto budgets that don’t include such, just like last legislative session.
Common sense, however, will hopefully be what drives the 2021-2022 session. North Carolina certainly needs to energize the economy by getting government out of the way, and lowering the State’s take from business profits and pay checks. Not to mention the pressing need to push back against Cooper’s ability to unilaterally enact draconian Pandemic Panic restrictions on the citizenry.
One of the majority’s first orders of business should be revising the NC Emergency Management Act to ensure no governor has the authoritarian power to deny individuals the ability to go to church, open their business, or **GASP** go in public without a mask on.
Helping fill out the leadership roles to make that happen are:
Rep. Sarah Stevens (R-Surry) as House speaker pro tempore; Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus) as deputy majority leader; Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland) as conference leader; Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) as majority whip; and Rep. Pat Hurley (R-Randolph) as joint conference leader.