Reality Check: What to expect from upcoming NC legislative session

The North Carolina General Assembly is scheduled to go into session at noon Wednesday. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The North Carolina General Assembly is scheduled to go into session at noon Wednesday. Many of the votes in Raleigh come down on party lines, but one question received a bipartisan answer: How long lawmakers expect this session to last?

"The rumor is that it's going to be fairly short," said Democratic Sen. Terry Van Duyn.

"I expect it's going to be a short session, meaning a day or two," said Republic Rep. Chuck McGrady.

Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards also predicted a short session.

McGrady is already in Raleigh. He says he expects a bill to come up regarding Gen-X, a chemical the state found dumped into the Cape Fear River. It hasn't affected water in the mountains, but McGrady says the state needs to focus on emerging contaminants, which are chemicals without a standard.

"It's an important issue. It doesn't apparently affect anything in Western North Carolina specifically, but the principles and how we go about addressing this type of pollution, I think, is critical. Critical across the state. It doesn't matter where you live," said McGrady.

"We need to develop standards. We need to figure out how to deal with these chemicals before it's too late and we've contaminated our drinking water," said Van Duyn, who added DEQ needed more funding.

Van Duyn and McGrady also said they will address appointments made by the governor.

"They're at least 13 people right now that have been waiting for months for the legislature to take this up," Van Duyn said.

She said the General Assembly needs to let the governor do his job.

News13 spoke with Chuck Edwards by phone Tuesday afternoon, while he traveled to Raleigh. He said North Carolina was in the running with Alabama to land a 4,000 job Toyota-Mazda plant. The automakers picked Alabama as the site of a new $1.6 billion joint-venture auto manufacturing plant, a person briefed on the decision said Tuesday.

Edwards said the legislature may need to change regulations and fund incentives.

"While I don't know for sure that will be on the plate, it's one of the things I'm hoping to discuss this session," said Edwards.

Van Duyn is also concerned about a state law mandating certain class sizes. She says school districts need indefinite flexibility to comply, and she says they need that flexibility now to budget for next year.

"We need to provide school boards and school districts with the flexibility that they have always had to use their resources in the way that's best for their students," said Van Duyn.

News13 has recently reported about proposals to change the state's judicial system. McGrady and Edwards said they didn't expect the issue to come up this session. Van Duyn wasn't sure what may happen this week and added she's very concerned about the issue.

A group from Asheville is leaving early Wednesday to protest proposed judicial changes. News13 plans to report on their trip from Raleigh.

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