What to expect in the NC General Assembly in 2023
The new session of the North Carolina General Assembly will gavel in on Jan. 11. With it will likely come another year full of right-wing Republicans wasting time on culture-war issues that voters aren’t concerned with.
Unfortunately, for reasonable North Carolinians, Republicans again have a veto-proof majority in the Senate. Thankfully, though, Republicans fell one seat short of a veto-proof majority in the state House, thus preventing a total supermajority in the legislature.
Meredith College political science professor David McLennan told WRAL that the slim margin in the House is likely to lead to Republicans proposing more bills focused on social issues.
Republicans will almost certainly propose legislation that would take away rights when it comes to issues that North Carolinians are clearly in support of, such as abortion rights and LGBTQ+ rights.
It’s also likely that right-wing extremists will focus on “getting Critical Race Theory out of schools” – despite CRT not being taught in schools – instead of working to implement the Leandro Plan and fund public education.
The hardest fight in this next session may be over abortion rights. Republican leaders in the General Assembly have said they could seek to ban abortion as early as six weeks – before many people even know they are pregnant. Current state law bans abortion after 20 weeks.
Republican legislative leaders have already said they will reintroduce the state’s version of Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill – House Bill 755, known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.”
Though there will be tough battles over a variety of issues championed by right-wing Republicans, there’s also the chance for progress to be made on some legislation that previously stalled.
Some of the General Assembly’s most socially conservative House lawmakers won’t be seated this session and that could open the door for the passage of some bills that those politicians opposed, such as Medicaid expansion, online sports gambling and possibly the legalization of medical marijuana.
It’s not entirely clear yet what legislation Republican leaders will try to advance first, but it’s well-known which issues will be fought over at some point in this year’s session.
Sensible North Carolinians of all political stripes will need to come together to put pressure on legislators to advance bills that actually address the issues facing this state and not waste time on partisan fights that won’t accomplish anything for anyone.