North Carolina State Senate
|North Carolina State Senate|
|2015 session start:||January 14, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Dan Forest (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Harry Brown (R)|
|Minority Leader:||Dan Blue (D)|
Democratic Party (16)
Republican Party (34)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Art II, Sec. 2, North Carolina Constitution|
|Salary:||$13,951/year + per diem + expenses|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (50 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (50 seats)|
|Redistricting:||North Carolina Legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Senators
- 6 Senate standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
As of April 2015, North Carolina is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.
Section 11 of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution establishes that the North Carolina General Assembly, which the Senate is a part of, is to convene a new regular session every two years, and that the dates for these sessions are to be set by law. Sessions in the General Assembly of North Carolina last two years and begin on odd numbered years after elections. Sessions begin at noon on the third Wednesday after the second Monday in January.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through early July (Projected).
Major issues in the 2015 legislative session include the budget shortfall, medicaid expansion, increase teacher pay, coal ash clean up and reforming the state's tax structure.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from May 14 through August 20.
Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included financing the $445 million state budget shortfall, teacher pay, medicaid and coal ash ponds.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through July 26.
Major issues in the 2012-2013 legislative swession included tax reform, cutting government regulations and reshaping the state's public schools.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate convened on May 16 and adjourned July 3.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the Senate was in regular session from January 26 to June 18. A special session dealing with redistricting began July 13 and ended July 28. The redistricting session covered more than just redistricting, with Republicans overriding five of Governor Perdue's vetoes. Some of the overturned vetoes include the Women's Right to Know Act and state regulatory overhaul. Democratic lawmakers achieved victory in sustaining the veto on the voter I.D. bill.
A second special session was called for September 12 to consider constitutional amendments, including a potential ban on same-sex marriage.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
Role in state budget
- See also: North Carolina state budget and finances
|North Carolina on|
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July.
- State agency budget requests are submitted in October.
- Agency hearings are held in October and December.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the North Carolina State Legislature in early February.
- The legislature adopts a budget in June. A simply majority is required to pass a budget.
- The biennial budget cycle begins in July.
The governor is constitutionally and statutorily required to submit a balanced budget. In turn, the legislature is required by statute to pass a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. North Carolina was one of the 10 states that used cost-benefit analysis more than the rest of the states with respect to determining return on investment regarding state programs. In addition, these states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis with respect to large budget areas and when making policy decisions.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, North Carolina received a grade of B+ and a numerical score of 88.5, indicating that North Carolina was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. North Carolina was given a grade of A in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on May 6, 2014. The general election took place on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was February 28, 2014.
|2012 Donors, North Carolina State Senate|
|North Carolina Republican Party||$2,872,503|
|North Carolina Democratic Party||$301,275|
|NC State Democratic Caucus||$135,584|
|North Carolina Medical Society||$112,250|
|North Carolina Hospital Association||$106,250|
|North Carolina Association of Realtors||$105,750|
|North Carolina Farm Bureau||$103,200|
|North Carolina Republican Senate Caucus||$97,735|
This chamber was mentioned in a November 2012 Pew Center on the States article that addressed supermajorities at stake in the 2012 election. Supermajority generally means a party controls two-thirds of all seats. While it varies from state to state, being in this position gives a party much greater power. Going into the election, Republicans in the North Carolina Senate have a solid majority and are seeking a supermajority.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, North Carolina State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 1||William Cook||0%||87,449||Stan White|
|District 12||Ronald Rabin||2%||74,146||Brad Salmon|
|District 25||Gene McLaurin||6%||84,066||Gene McIntyre|
|District 17||Tamara Barringer||7.3%||106,399||Erv Portman|
|District 19||Wesley Meredith||7.8%||69,244||George Tatum|
|District 9||Thomas Goolsby||8.3%||97,772||Deb Butler|
|District 18||Chad Barefoot||11.8%||92,770||Doug Berger|
|District 47||Ralph Hise||12.9%||82,214||Phil Feagan|
|District 50||Jim Davis||14.2%||88,294||John Snow|
|District 46||Warren Daniel||14.7%||78,457||John T. McDevitt|
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was February 26, 2010 and the primary Election Day was May 4, 2010. The second primary election was held on June 22, 2010.
|2010 Donors, North Carolina State Senate|
|North Carolina Republican Party||$2,171,725|
|North Carolina Democratic Party||$1,851,252|
|North Carolina Democratic Party Caucus||$562,126|
|Bordeaux, Frankie L||$477,675|
|North Carolina Republican Senate Caucus||$360,908|
|North Carolina Democratic Party Senate Caucus||$350,810|
|North Carolina Republican Party Senatorial Trust||$245,781|
|Goolsby, Thomas C||$169,316|
|North Carolina Medical Society||$154,500|
Elections for the office of North Carolina's State Senate were held in North Carolina on November 6, 2008.
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was February 29, 2008, and the primary Election Day was May 6, 2008.
|2008 Donors, North Carolina State Senate|
|North Carolina Democratic Party||$1,953,530|
|North Carolina Democratic Senate Cmte||$1,088,751|
|North Carolina Republican Party||$569,871|
|Soles Jr, R C||$341,000|
|Reeves, Nena W||$244,274|
|North Carolina Republican Senate Cmte||$206,436|
|Citizens for Higher Education||$198,000|
|Rucho, Robert A||$170,000|
|North Carolina Medical Society||$146,000|
|Nichols, Monroe Jackson||$131,000|
Elections for the office of North Carolina's State Senate consisted of a primary Election Day on May 2, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.
|2006 Donors, North Carolina State Senate|
|North Carolina Democratic Party||$1,735,712|
|North Carolina Democratic Senate Cmte||$902,979|
|North Carolina Republican Party||$392,766|
|Queen, Joe Sam||$191,073|
|North Carolina Association of Realtors||$189,750|
|Citizens for Higher Education||$178,250|
|North Carolina Medical Society||$138,859|
|North Carolina Home Builders Association||$128,550|
|North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers||$128,500|
|Bank of America||$121,200|
Elections for the office of North Carolina's State Senate consisted of a primary Election Day on July 20, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.
|2004 Donors, North Carolina State Senate|
|North Carolina Democratic Party||$1,851,975|
|North Carolina Democratic Senate Cmte||$638,428|
|Harris, Oscar N||$287,352|
|Queen, Joe Sam||$278,400|
|North Carolina Republican Party||$264,603|
|Citizens for Higher Education||$142,000|
|North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers||$105,000|
|Testa, James (Jim)||$100,000|
Elections for the office of North Carolina's State Senate consisted of a primary Election Day on June 11, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.
|2002 Donors, North Carolina State Senate|
|North Carolina Democratic Party||$2,083,272|
|North Carolina Democratic Executive Cmte - Senate||$543,136|
|Queen, Joe Sam||$250,000|
|Odom, T L (Fountain)||$151,000|
|Moore, Tony P||$101,500|
|Love, Jimmy L||$90,723|
|North Carolina Association of Realtors||$89,200|
Elections for the office of North Carolina's State Senate consisted of a primary Election Day on May 2, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.
|2000 Donors, North Carolina State Senate|
|North Carolina Democratic Executive Cmte - Senate||$1,760,153|
|North Carolina Democratic Executive Cmte - House||$283,082|
|North Carolina Medical Society||$84,000|
|Bank of America||$74,000|
|North Carolina Republican Party||$61,914|
|Hipps, David G||$61,000|
|Carolina Power & Light||$54,000|
Article 2, Section 6 of the North Carolina Constitution states: Each Senator, at the time of his election, shall be not less than 25 years of age, shall be a qualified voter of the State, and shall have resided in the State as a citizen for two years and in the district for which he is chosen for one year immediately preceding his election.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the senate, the Governor is responsible for selecting a replacement. When making the appointment, the Governor must make the selection from a list of recommended candidates submitted by the political party committee that holds the vacant seat. The appointment must be made by the Governor within seven days of receiving the list of recommended candidates. The person selected to the seat serves for the remainder of the unfilled term.
- See also: Redistricting in North Carolina
Redistricting is the responsibility of the State Legislature. The Governor does not hold veto power. North Carolina is 1 of 16 states whose maps require approval from the U.S. Department of Justice per the Voting Rights Act.
North Carolina received its local census data on March 1, 2011, showing concentration of population and political power in cities, particularly Charlotte and Raleigh. The Republican-controlled redistricting process began proper on July 11, 2011, when Republicans released their proposed maps. Each chamber's final map passed through the General Assembly on July 27, 2011. The DOJ pre-cleared the plan on November 1, 2011, but lawsuits followed, as Democrats and community charged that Republicans had illegally packed black voters to weaken their voting power.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the North Carolina Legislature are paid $13,951/year. Per diem is $104/day set by statute. Legislators are allowed up to $559/month for expenses.
When sworn in
North Carolina legislators assume office the first day of the new General Assembly in January.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of April 2015|
The Lieutenant Governor of the State serves as President of the Senate, but can only vote in the event of a tie. The Senate elects other officers from their members, including a President pro tempore. The President pro tempore then appoints members to serve on the standing committee.
|Current Leadership, North Carolina State Senate|
|President of the Senate||Dan Forest||Republican|
|President Pro Tempore of the Senate||Phil Berger||Republican|
|State Senate Deputy President Pro Tempore||Louis Pate||Republican|
|State Senate Majority Leader||Harry Brown||Republican|
|State Senate Majority Whip||Jerry W. Tillman||Republican|
|Republican Caucus Secretary||Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr.||Republican|
|State Senate Minority Leader||Dan Blue||Democratic|
|State Senate Minority Whip||Terry Van Duyn||Democratic|
|Democratic Caucus Secretary||Ben Clark||Democratic|
Senate standing committees
The North Carolina Senate has 25 standing committees:
- Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources
- Appropriations/Base Budget
- Appropriations on Department of Transportation
- Appropriations on Education/Higher Education
- Appropriations on General Government and Information Technology
- Appropriations on Health and Human Services
- Appropriations on Justice and Public Safety
- Appropriations on Natural and Economic Resources
- Committee of the Whole Senate
- Education/Higher Education
- Health Care
- Information Technology
- Judiciary I
- Judiciary II
- Pensions & Retirement & Aging
- Program Evaluation
- Rules and Operations of the Senate
- State and Local
- Ways & Means
- Workforce and Economic Development
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the North Carolina State Senate for the first 19 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last three years. The North Carolina State Senate is 1 of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. The final three years of the study depicted a shift in the North Carolina senate with the final year being a Republican trifecta.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the North Carolina state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. During the years of the study, North Carolina experienced many years under a Democratic trifecta, from 1993-1994 and from 1999-2010. In 2013, however, this trend switched, and the state experienced a Republican trifecta instead. North Carolina's SQLI rating was in the 30s for most of the years of the study, with its lowest ranking in 2003, finishing 41st. However, in more recent years of the study, the state's ranking improved. Its highest ranking was 11th in 2011 during a divided government.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 30.08
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with divided government: 30.89
- North Carolina
- North Carolina House of Representatives
- North Carolina State Legislature
- North Carolina state legislative districts
- State legislative scorecards in North Carolina
- Governor of North Carolina
- North Carolina Constitution
- North Carolina Senate official webpage
- Official list of members of the North Carolina State Senate
- North Carolina General Assembly
- census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
- census.gov, "Census 2000 PHC-T-2. Ranking Tables for States: 1990 and 2000," accessed May 15, 2014
- North Carolina State Senate, "About the Senate," March 3, 2009
- North Carolina General Assembly, "N.C. Gen. Stat. 120-11.1," accessed July 14, 2014
- www.fayobserver.com, "State lawmakers have no plans to extend Medicaid in North Carolina," January 21, 2015
- www.jeffersonpost.com, "State legislature reconvenes for short session," accessed May 16, 2014
- WRAL, "Ceremony marks opening of legislative session," January 9, 2013
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed June 6, 2014(Archived)
- Associated Press, "N.C. lawmakers leave town after new maps, overrides," accessed July 14, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2010 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed July 14, 2014(Archived)
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money, "North Carolina State Senate 2012 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- PEW Charitable Trusts, "In Legislative Elections, Majorities and Supermajorities at Stake," November 2, 2012
- Follow the Money, "North Carolina State Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "North Carolina State Senate 2008 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "North Carolina State Senate 2006 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "North Carolina State Senate 2004 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "North Carolina State Senate 2002 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "North Carolina State Senate 2000 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- North Carolina General Assembly, "North Carolina Constitution," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Section, Article II, Section 10)
- North Carolina General Assembly, "North Carolina General Statutes," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Statute 163-11(a), NC General Statutes)
- North Carolina General Assembly, "North Carolina General Statutes," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Statute 163-11(b-d), NC General Statutes)
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- North Carolina General Assembly, "Structure of the North Carolina General Assembly," accessed July 14, 2014
- North Carolina General Assembly, "North Carolina Senate Leadership 2013-2014," accessed July 14, 2014
State of North Carolina
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Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Superintendent of Public Instruction | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources | Commissioner of Labor | Chairman of Utilities |