NC Legislature Calls Mystery Special Session With Just Hours Notice

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The North Carolina state general assembly on Wednesday called an impromptu special session, but lawmakers did not specify what legislation they would convene to discuss.

State lawmakers finished up a different special session on Wednesday after passing disaster relief legislation, which was the initial reason lame duck Gov. Pat McCrory (R) called the session this week, according to the News and Observer. Then the legislature immediately went into the mystery special session.

Senate leader Phil Berger (R) announced the surprise session midday, which was convened by the legislature, not McCrory. However, he would not say what legislation lawmakers would consider, and the proclamation establishing the impromptu special session stated that the general assembly would consider “bills concerning any matters the General Assembly elects to consider.”

“There are a number of things that have been talked about,” he said, according to the News and Observer. “I am not in a position at this point to list or specifically articulate what they are because no decisions have been made, finally as to what exactly will be brought up.”

House Speaker Tim Moore also declined to specify the measures North Carolina lawmakers would discuss.

“We’re looking at two bills at this point, but it depends what other bills folks file,” he said, per the News and Observer. “I can’t (explain) until it goes through the caucus process. Some of the ideas that we were discussing at the end of the last session are some of the ideas that you may see come up today.”

The mystery special session follows speculation that North Carolina Republicans could use a special session to expand the number of seats on the state Supreme Court before McCrory left office. In the November election, the court flipped to Democratic control. By adding two seats to the court, legislators would give McCrory the ability to appoint two conservative justices before he leaves office, restoring the Republican majority.

Moore has said in the past that the state legislature will not consider a court-packing scheme, and he repeated that on Wednesday.

“I do not expect to see the court packing that people are talking about,” he said, according to the News and Observer.

On Wednesday afternoon, state Rep. David Lewis (R), chair of the House Rules Committee, hinted to local reporters that lawmakers will consider legislation regarding the governor’s power.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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