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North carolina state population

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North Carolina State Senate

What you will find on this page

This page contains information on the North Carolina State Senate that is curated and updated by Ballotpedia staff. Click on the arrows (▼) below for information and research on party control, elections, members, legislation, sessions, procedures, committees, and districts.

Party Control: current and historical information on party control of the North Carolina State Senate

Party control

Current partisan control

The table below shows the partisan breakdown of the North Carolina State Senate as of April 2019:

History of partisan control

Between 1992 and 2016, partisan control of the North Carolina State Senate shifted from being heavily Democratic to an equally strong Republican majority. Democrats went from having a 28-seat advantage following the 1992 elections to being at a 20-seat disadvantage after the 2016 elections. The table below shows the partisan history of the North Carolina State Senate following every general election from 1992 to 2016. All data from 2006 or earlier comes from Michael Dubin’s Party Affiliations in the State Legislatures (McFarland Press, 2007). Data after 2006 was compiled by Ballotpedia staff.

North Carolina State Senate Party Control: 1992-2016

From 1992 to 2010, Senate Democrats controlled the North Carolina State Senate. Democrats had their largest majority following the 1992 election when Democrats held a 28-seat advantage. For the majority of years between 1992 and 2010, Democrats had more than the 30 seats required to override gubernatorial vetoes. Democrats controlled the governor’s office for all of that time with the exception of 1992.

Republicans took control of the state Senate in the 2010 elections. Republicans picked up 11 seats in that election and won a 31-19 majority. Republicans increased their Senate majority in the 2012, 2014, and 2016 elections. Republicans have held a veto-proof supermajority since the 2010 elections. Since Gov. Roy Cooper (D) was elected in 2016, Cooper and the Republican-controlled legislature have been in a regular state of conflict that has resulted in a series of vetoes, veto overrides, and lawsuits, some of which predate Cooper’s swearing-in on January 1, 2017. Legislation passed by the legislature has included, for example, efforts to merge the state elections board and ethics commission, decrease the number of governor-appointed judges on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and require Senate approval of Cooper’s cabinet-level appointments. The Republican gains from 2010 to 2016 were in line with a national trend toward Republican state legislatures during the presidency of Barack Obama (D). From 2009 to 2017, Democrats experienced significant losses in state legislative elections, totaling 968 seats all together.

In June 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed a federal district court decision finding that 28 state legislative districts had been subject to an illegal racial gerrymander. The maps were created in 2011 by the Republican-controlled state legislature. The district court then ordered state lawmakers to draft remedial maps for use in the 2018 election cycle. The legislature adopted new state House and Senate district maps on August 30, 2017. [1]

Trifecta history

A state government trifecta is a term that describes single-party government, when one political party holds the governor’s office and has majorities in both chambers of the legislature in a state government. Democrats held a state government trifecta for 14 years between 1992 and 2017. During that same period of time, Republicans held a trifecta for four years. The table below shows state government trifectas in North Carolina from 1992 to 2019.

North Carolina Party Control: 1992-2019
14 years of Democratic trifectas • Four years of Republican trifectas

Elections: election data from 2000 to the present

Elections by year

North Carolina state senators serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every two years. North Carolina holds elections for its legislature in even years.

Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate took place in 2018. The semi-closed primary election took place on May 8, 2018, and a primary runoff took place on June 26, 2018. The general election was held on November 6, 2018. The candidate filing deadline was February 28, 2018 Filing deadline . [2] [3]

Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate took place in 2016. The primary election was held on March 15, 2016, and the general election will be held on November 8, 2016. [4] The candidate filing deadline was December 21, 2015. [5] All 50 seats in the North Carolina State Senate were up for election in 2016.

Heading into the election, Republicans held a 34-16 majority. Republicans gained one seat in the election, giving them a 35-15 majority.

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.

Heading into the election, Republicans held a 33-17 majority. Republicans gained one seat in the election, giving them a 34-16 majority.

Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate took place in 2012. The primary election was held on May 8, 2012, and the general election was held on November 6, 2012. The candidate filing deadline was February 29, 2012. A total of 50 seats were up for election.

Heading into the election, Republicans held a 31-19 majority. Republicans gained one seat in the election, giving them a 32-18 majority.

During the 2012 election, the total value of contributions to the 129 Senate candidates was $15,133,676. The top 10 contributors were: [6]

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.

Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate took place in 2010. The primary election was held on May 4, 2010, and the general election was held on November 2, 2010. The primary runoff was held on June 22, 2010. The candidate filing deadline was February 26, 2010.

Heading into the election, Democrats held a 30-20 majority. Democrats lost 11 seats in the election, giving Republicans a 31-19 majority.

During the 2010 election, the total value of contributions to the 137 Senate candidates was $18,614,595. The top 10 contributors were: [7]

Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 6, 2008, and a general election on November 6, 2008.

During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to the 115 Senate candidates was $15,991,201. The top 10 contributors were: [8]

Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 2, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.

During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to the 99 Senate candidates was $14,697,182. The top 10 contributors were: [9]

Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate consisted of a primary election on July 20, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.

During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to the 137 Senate candidates was $13,819,791. The top 10 contributors were: [10]

Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 11, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.

During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to the 172 Senate candidates was $12,996,012. The top 10 contributors were: [11]

Elections for the office of North Carolina State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 2, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.

During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to the 111 Senate candidates was $9,180,706. The top 10 contributors were: [12]

Members: current leadership and membership list and information on salaries and qualifications

Leadership

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. [13] [14]

Current leadership and members

  • Senate president:Dan Forest (R)
  • President pro tem:Phil Berger (R)
  • Majority leader:Harry Brown (R)
  • Minority leader:Dan Blue (D)

When sworn in

North Carolina legislators assume office the first day of the new General Assembly in January.

Membership qualifications

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.

Legislation: all legislation passed by the chamber in the current or most recent legislative session

Legislation

The legislation tracker below displays all legislation that the North Carolina State Senate has approved in its most recent legislative session—this includes legislation that has been sent from the Senate to the House and legislation that has already been approved by the House and signed by the governor after its passage in the Senate. Information on legislation provided below includes the bill number, its name, progress, most recent action date, and sponsor. The tracker is fully interactive. Scroll up and down and side to side to see more. Click the bill number to read its text in full and see its voting history. You can click the headings to sort the content in the column. You can also rearrange the order of the headings by clicking and dragging them. Finally, in the bottom-left corner of the tracker is a magnifying glass, which, when clicked, will allow you to search for specific terms. The legislation tracker is maintained and updated by BillTrack50.

Sessions: legislative sessions dates, special sessions, and key events

About legislative sessions in North Carolina

The Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares that any power not already given to the federal government is reserved to the states and the people. [15] State governments across the country use this authority to hold legislative sessions where a state’s elected representatives meet for a period of time to draft and vote on legislation and set state policies on issues such as taxation, education, and government spending. The different types of legislation passed by a legislature may include resolutions, legislatively referred constitutional amendments, and bills that become law.

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. [16]

Dates of legislative sessions in North Carolina by year

In 2019, the legislature will be in session from January 9, 2019, through July 12, 2019.

In 2018, the legislature was in session from January 10, 2018, through July 4, 2018. To read about notable events and legislation from this session, click here.

In 2017, the legislature was in session from January 11, 2017, through June 30, 2017. Before the legislature adjourned its regular scheduled session, the legislature scheduled the following additional session dates: August 3, August 18 to August 25, August 28 to August 31, and October 4 to October 17. [17]

In 2016, the legislature was in session from April 25 through July 1.

  • The Legislature held a two-day special session from February 18-19 to redraw Congressional district maps. [18]
  • The Legislature held a special session on March 23 to discuss Charlotte’s LGBT bathroom ordinance that would have went into effect on April 1. The ordinance would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their choosing by the gender with which they identify. [19] Both the Senate and House passed legislation that prevents local governments from setting up their own anti-discrimination rules. [20] Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the bill on March 23. [21] The bill was repealed in March 2017. [22]

In 2015, the legislature was in session from January 14 through September 30.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2015 legislative session included the budget shortfall, Medicaid expansion, increased teacher pay, coal ash clean up, and reforming the state’s tax structure. [23] Legislators and Governor Pat McCrory (R) disagreed over religious exemptions for local officials issuing marriage licenses, which is detailed here.

In 2014, the legislature was in session from May 14 through August 20.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included financing the $445 million state budget shortfall, teacher pay, Medicaid, and coal ash ponds. [24]

In 2013, the legislature was in session from January 9 to July 26.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included tax reform, cutting government regulations, and reshaping the state’s public schools. [25]

In 2012, the legislature convened on May 16 and adjourned July 3.

In 2011, the legislature was in regular session from January 26 to June 18. [26] 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 (D) vetoes. Some of the overturned vetoes included 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. [27]

A second special session was called for September 12 to consider constitutional amendments, including a potential ban on same-sex marriage. [27]

In 2010, the legislature was in session from May 12 to July 11. [28]

Procedures: rules and procedures for veto overrides, the budget, and vacancies

Procedures

Every state legislature throughout the country features it own internal procedures that it uses to govern itself and how it interacts with other parts of state government. Ballotpedia’s coverage of internal state legislative procedures includes veto overrides, the role of the legislature in the state budget, procedures for filling membership vacancies, and redistricting.

Veto overrides

State legislatures can override governors’ vetoes. Depending on the state, this can be done during the regular legislative session, in a special session following the adjournment of the regular session, or during the next legislative session. The rules for legislative overrides of gubernatorial vetoes in North Carolina are listed below.

How many legislators are required to vote for an override? Three-fifths of members in both chambers.

How can vetoes be overridden after the legislature has adjourned?

Role in state budget

The state operates on a biennial budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows: [29] [30]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July.
  2. State agency budget requests are submitted in October.
  3. Agency hearings are held in October and December.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the North Carolina State Legislature in early February.
  5. The legislature adopts a budget in June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.
  6. The biennial budget cycle begins in July.

North Carolina is one of only six states in which the governor cannot exercise line item veto authority. [30]

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. [30]

If there is a vacancy in the North Carolina General Assembly, the governor is responsible for appointing a replacement. [31] [32]

When making an appointment, the governor must make a decision from a list of recommended candidates submitted by the political party committee that last held the vacant seat. [33] The appointment must be made within seven days of receiving a list of recommended candidates. [32] The person selected to the seat serves for the remainder of the unfilled term. [32]

See sources: North Carolina Const. Art. 2, Sec. 10 and North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 163-11

Committees: role and list of current committees

Committees

Every state legislature and state legislative chamber in the country contains several legislative committees. These committees are responsible for studying, amending, and voting on legislation before it reaches the floor of a chamber for a full vote. The different types of committees include standing committees, select or special, and joint.

  • Standing committees are generally permanent committees, the names of which sometimes change from session to session.
  • Select or special committees are temporary committees formed to deal with specific issues such as recent legislation, major public policy or proposals, or investigations.
  • Joint committees are committees that feature members of both chambers of a legislature.

Ballotpedia covers standing and joint committees. The North Carolina State Senate has 17 standing committees:

The state of North Carolina has 170 legislative districts. Each district elects one representative. The state Senate has 50 districts and the state House has 120 districts.

Use the interactive map below to find your district.

Redistricting

In 37 states, legislatures are primarily responsible for drawing congressional district lines. Seven states have only one congressional district each, rendering congressional redistricting unnecessary. Four states employ independent commissions to draw the district maps. In two states, politician commissions draw congressional district lines.

State legislative district lines are primarily the province of the state legislatures themselves in 37 states. In seven states, politician commissions draw state legislative district lines. In the remaining six states, independent commissions draw the lines. [34]

In North Carolina, the state legislature is responsible for drawing both congressional and state legislative district lines. District maps cannot be vetoed by the governor. State legislative redistricting must take place in the first regular legislative session following the United States Census. There are no explicit deadlines in place for congressional redistricting. [35]

State law establishes the following requirements for state legislative districts: [35]

  • Districts must be contiguous and compact.
  • Districts “must cross county lines as little as possible.” If counties are grouped together, the group should include as few counties as possible.
  • Communities of interest should be taken into account.

There are no similar restrictions in place regarding congressional districts. [35]

2010 census

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.


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SOURCE: http://ballotpedia.org/North_Carolina_State_Senate

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