The legislature returns to Raleigh…

Excerpt From: News & Observer. Written By: Jordan Schrader.

In odd-numbered years like this one, the N.C. General Assembly convenes for its “long session.” Job No. 1: to approve a two-year budget.

How long will it go? A budget is supposed to be in place by the July 1 start of the new fiscal year. Budget talks dragged on for months during the last long session in 2015, which became the longest session in more than a decade. The legislature didn’t adjourn until September. Lawmakers have some dates to circle on their calendars, including April 27. That’s the day non-financial proposals must be approved by one chamber – House bills by the House, Senate bills by the Senate – to stay alive for the rest of session.

Who’s in charge? The leadership of the Republican-dominated legislature remains the same: Phil Berger of Rockingham County as Senate president pro tem and Tim Moore of Cleveland County as House speaker. The November election maintained Republicans’ large majorities in the House and Senate, which will allow them to override vetoes from the state’s new Democratic governor, Roy Cooper – as long as the GOP sticks together. The House has 120 members: 74 Republicans and 46 Democrats. The Senate has 50 members, split 35-15 in favor of Republicans.

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