Friday, July 31, 2015

Week 12: The Final Week

Today is my last day in 417 of the LOB. It's very bittersweet because I am going to miss the people in my office and all of the laughs and stories shared.

This week, an Appropriations meeting was held to discuss the differences between the budgets in relation to education. The committee heard from several teachers, teacher assistants, principals and superintendents from across the state to learn about their hesitations with funding. The final budget is not in sight and probably won't be for a long time.

The House also passed a bill regarding regulation of farm animals that enforced that local governments do not have the power to enforce their own standards of care. All farm animals must be treated by the same standard of care throughout the state.

Lastly, on Thursday during session, I was recognized by the House floor for being a Warren Leadership Fellow and everything that I had done this summer. I was so surprised and I was truly honored to work for such a great and admirable representative.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 11: Monuments and Money

This week was another week revolving around the budget and wondering what is going on throughout the NCGA.

On Tuesday, the House took up SB 22 that would requires respectful treatment of the American and North Carolina flags, as well as establishes the Division of Veterans Affairs as a place of disposal of old, tattered flags. This bill also protects monuments, memorials, and works of art by the State of North Carolina. This bill became controversial since the recent Charleston shooting and vandalism of Confederate monuments. The debate was long but the bill passed 70-39.

Also, on Tuesday, I was super humbled by Representative Langdon and his LA Tom. They came in from session with a card and cheesecake to celebrate my recent 21st birthday. They have been so nice to me this summer and I hate to leave them at the end of the week.

Session was short on Wednesday and legislators began to put off bill to Tuesday, July 28, one of them being the Regulatory Reform Act of 2015. Tuesday should be a long, but exciting day.

Budget talks are still happening but there is no end in sight for this years session!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Week 10: Budget Mayhem and Support NC Hog Farmers

This week again has been centered around the budget. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the House Ag/ Natural and Environmental Resources Appropriations subcommittee met to discuss the differences between both chambers budgets. The committee heard from several state agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Labor and Department of Transportation, so that they could voice their concerns about the budget. There was a total of 4 meetings to finish the discussions.

On Tuesday, Speaker Moore announced the members of the House that would serve on the Conference committee for the budget. Over 80 members were chosen and the Senate has yet to announce their conferees. It will be interesting to see them come together and reach an agreement when there will be about 100 members on the committee.

On Wednesday night, NC Farm Families hosted an event called Rally Round the Farm which gathered together farm families, more specifically those coming from hog farms, as well as employees that work for swine integrators. The event was held in Kenansville in Duplin County and about 3,500 people attended. Many legislators attended along with the Lieutenant Governor and Commissioner Troxler. The events purpose was to unite farm families against those organizations that oppose commercial hog farming. It was such a great event and I am so blessed to come from a hog farming family.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 9: Recess

This week, both chambers decided to recess and enjoy time at home with their families. This means that there is not too much going on at the General Assembly.

We spent this week doing constituent work and guessing when both sides will reach an agreement on the budget. With both versions of the budget being very different, we have no idea when that will be. We are hoping that when members return next week that they will buckle down and get this budget finalized!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Week 8: Budget talks!

This week at the NCGA has been interesting! Both chambers and the governor passed a 45 day continuing resolution which will keep the state running while the legislators keep working on finalizing the budget.

In the meantime, the appropriations subcommittees have been meeting this week from the House to understand the differences in the two budgets and what they need to sort out. For two, days the AG/NER subcommittee has been listening to staff and learning that main points of controversy between the budgets. They have been long, but informative meetings that are essential to the budget making process.

Since today is "Friday" at the legislature to celebrate Independence Day, both chambers are taking a week-long break and will return back to work the next week to work out the budget. Everyone is expecting this session to last well into the late summer months.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Week 7: The House says "We Do Not Concur"

This week, the House of Representatives voted to not concur with the Senate's proposed budget. They voted on this Tuesday and have not yet announce who the members of the conference committee will be. The committee will meet to hash out the budget and try to reach common ground. The proposed budgets are very different from one another and it could take awhile to have one finalized.

The chamber did pass the Medicaid Modernization act on Tuesday and the Senate included their version into their budget plan. They are also discussing today a bill that would make it mandatory that the liquid used in vaporized cigarettes to have a childproof lid on it.

Other than that, the House had been relatively quiet this week and will continue to be until the budget has been worked out. They are also taking a week-long recess the week after July 4th.
It's going to be a longer session than originally planned but these legislators have to finish their business for our state.

On a personal note, I received a pen from Representative Langdon today! He makes pens as a hobby and he always makes them specifically for each person he gives them to. Mine? NC State red of course!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 6!

This week was very diverse in regards to the work I was doing.

On Monday, I worked in the office until the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce came to meet with their legislators from the House and the Senate. They talked with them about issues they are facing in their towns and communities and asked several questions about the budget.

Tuesday was a very busy and hot day at the NCGA. It was Livestock Legislation Day so different commodity groups, such at the NC Pork Council and NC Cattleman's Association, came to the legislature to talk to lawmakers about current issues within their related field. They also brought sausage biscuits and milk which was great too!

Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the announcement of the Governor's task force for food manufacturing in North Carolina. The announcement was held at the NC Fairgrounds. The task force was set in place to try and bring food manufacturing to rural counties in our state. We produce so much food but send those products somewhere else to be manufactured. They want to create more jobs in rural North Carolina and this will surely do that!

It was a great week and I can't believe this experience is half-way over. I have learned so much about the legislative process and how much the policies made here effect the hardworking farmers in North Carolina.