Session Opens NC

Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, speaks after being sworn in during the opening session of the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.

(The Center Square) – North Carolina lawmakers convened Wednesday to open the General Assembly's 2021-22 biennium and re-elected their leaders in the Senate and House.

Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, was reelected to his sixth term as Senate leader, and Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, was reelected to his fourth term as House speaker.

In addressing the state Senate, Berger acknowledged the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the state and its residents and noted North Carolina has experience rebounding from an economic recession.

Berger said the state spent the first part of the last decade recovering from the Great Recession and the second part preparing to withstand the economic downturn brought about by the pandemic. 

"Because of steps taken over the past 10 years, we have the financial cushion of reserves and unspent revenues to bolster our state’s finances," Berger said. "We’ve avoided the teacher salary freezes and education cuts the previous recession brought, but we know it’s not just happenstance that led us to this point.

"Since 2011, we reduced the share the state takes in taxes from our citizens. They can keep more of their earnings to pay bills, grow their business, and save for the future," Berger said. "We cut bureaucratic red tape so the private sector could be the economic engine for job growth."

Moore echoed similar sentiments in addressing House members. 

"In this House of Representatives, we listen to taxpayers who work hard and deserve accountability for their dollars," Moore said. "We earn the trust of our citizens to manage this state. North Carolinians expect us to put politics aside and create a state government that attracts success. And we have done that."

Republicans hold a 120-69 advantage in the House and a 28-22 advantage in the Senate.

Regional Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.