Any notion folks may have had that North Carolina’s new governor would be playing a leading role in crafting the state’s policy agenda this year seems to have already been partially dispelled on the first day of the 2013 legislative session.
Right out of the box, without any apparent involvement of Governor McCrory (or even a nod in his direction), Senate and House leaders have seized the initiative by introducing major, hard right proposals on such subjects as rejecting the implementation of federal health care reform, slashing the state’s unemployment insurance safety net and even passing a constitutional amendment to enshrine anti-labor union laws in the state constitution.
Traditionally, these are not the kinds of fundamental issues and proposals that legislative leaders advance on their own initiative without involvement of a governor who shares their party. But the new relationship between the novice (and pretty clearly overwhelmed) governor and the ambitious and already-well-ensconced Senate President Pro Tem and House Speaker is not like past legislative-executive relationships. At least at this point, every indication is that the folks on the west end of Jones Street will be calling the shots and the new fellow in the Governor’s mansion will be taking orders and trying to keep up.