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January 26, 2017 12:00 pm
Jere Royall, Director of Community Impact and Counsel at NC Family, speaks about the upcoming legislative session, the lawmaking process, and how citizens can get involved.
They know that they have been elected to represent the people who live in their district and when they hear from them.
They tell us makes a tremendous difference in their decision-making process is family policy with family president John Rustin thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters today were going to be speaking with a special member of our staff jury Royal, who serves as counsel and director of community impact frenzy family jury is also one of our registered lobbyist and spends a great deal of time at the North Carolina Gen. assembly speaking with and developing relationships with state lawmakers as we seek to inform and educate them about issues that are important to families across our state today.
Jerry and I are going to be looking ahead at this year's session of the North Carolina Gen. assembly, offering some insights into how the legislature works. Some of the items that are likely to be considered this year and how you are. Listeners can actually get involved in helping to shape and influence walls and policymaking in North Carolina jury will conduct family policy matters.
It's always great to have you on the program. Thank you. John is good to be back here for starters this year is the beginning of what is referred to as a two year legislative biennium. So in the odd-numbered years following a general election like in 2017 state lawmakers will meet in what is referred to as the regular or long legislative session. This session typically begins at the end of January and runs into the summer, typically July or later. Then next year in 2018 lawmakers will continue the two-year session, usually starting in early May in meeting for a couple of months and that session is typically referred to as the short session jury what is the difference between the regular or long session and the subsequent short legislative session will in the long session year what the Gen. assembly does establish a budget for the next two years, and that is a long process where they determine where revenues are going to come from and then how those revenues are going to be appropriated. In addition to that they look at basically really all of state law. As far as proposals that are being made to either make new laws or to amend existing laws or even to repeal existing laws in the short session years.
Technically Gen. assembly just looks at making adjustments in the budget and a few other exceptions are made like constitutional amendments that might be considered, but as we know, sometimes they can find a way if they really do want to bring up an issue in the short session year.
They do that but a lot more is considered, in the long session year and that's what makes it last that much longer will Jerry. The 2016. General election did not really affect the balance of power in the Gen. assembly all that much.
In fact, Republican slightly expanded their vetoproof super majorities in both the state Senate and the statehouse, but lawmakers are returning to a divided government with a newly elected Democratic governor Roy Cooper how do you think that is going to change bills that are considered to answer the overall political environment of this year's legislative session. Will the next four years may be more similar to what we saw eight years ago when there was a Democratic governor and Republican legislature in both the House and the Senate, where you may have some policy differences, but just as you're saying when there's a super majority in both the house and the Senate. The reality is that the legislature is going to be able to pass laws that that more in line with their policy positions and if the Gov. vetoes that is that they will have the necessary votes to override that veto, but that didn't necessarily. It may look that way.
On paper, but we seen even in a with a Republican governor. The same thing can happen. You can think that the veto override will be automatic, but when those votes are taken off and they're very close vote not jury the lawmaking process is certainly one that is fraught with challenges with twists and turns, and sometimes even political danger and intrigue. Generally speaking jury. How does a bill become a law in North Carolina and how long does that process usually take one of the things I think that would be very helpful to point out when you think about the whole process is the fact that the way our government works is citizens can literally be involved in every stage of the process of a bill being passed in the legislature. Even at the very beginning stage. When a bill is drafted individual citizens across the state can draft a bill in the next step is to take it to a member of the Gen. assembly who then will introduce a bill that will develop give it to the staff at the Gen. assembly bill drafting and research part of of the staffing they are and then it it wants a bill drafted, it's introduced either in the house or the Senate. At that point is then referred to a committee where there's discussion and debate, and then they vote on the particular bill and and actually even before that happens classy. Sometimes a committee chair has the discretion of whether or not to even bring up a bill we seen that happen over the years.
When we been involved with encouraging what we believe to be very important legislation to be introduced but not even be brought up once it is brought up there again. There opportunities for citizens to interact with members of the committee. Citizens can even come and testify in the committees, then the bill goes to the floor of the chamber where it's been introduce aphids in the house. There they they debated and they voted on the bill there. If it passes it goes over to the other chamber goes through a similar process through the committee and then through the floor for passes both chambers bill then goes to the governor where the governor can sign the bill if the governor didn't sign the bill in a certain number of days it goes into effect. But if the Gov. vetoes then bill then it comes back to the legislature comes back to the original chamber where the has to be a 3/5 vote of the members present and voting. In order to override a veto. And then if if it is overridden. They are goes to the other chamber so even at every stage of that process. While it's in the Gen. assembly or while it's in the governor's office. We as citizens all have an opportunity to interact with our elected officials to encourage them to pass good legislation or encourage them not to to pass legislation that we don't think would be good for your listening to policy matters so I spent to listen to our radio show online and from what resources have a place of persuasion in your community website electing jury because a big part of our mission here at NC family is to positively affect North Carolina's public policy are laws and regulations on behalf of families.
We will once again be spending a lot of time at the legislative building monitoring legislation and promoting strong family policies.
While there is no surefire way to know exactly what legislators will consider during any given legislative session. What do you anticipate will be some of our top priority issues this year, but I think one of the main things as I was reflecting on that would be that we maintain the progress that's been made in recent years and thankfully we have seen some very good laws passed in in critical areas like sanctity of human life, religious freedom, educational choice. These were significant changes that were made in our state laws and is always.
Once a good laws passed the deer challenges to those laws and so I think we can have a real focus on helping to maintain those laws that have been passed in the last few years. Well, I couldn't agree more, and will also continue to work to keep bad laws from being enacted. I know we've seen efforts to legalize sweepstakes gambling in North Carolina even to push medical marijuana were the legalization of illegal drug use and things of that nature.
Physician-assisted suicide has been a big issue and a lot of other states and I expect it will see proposals dealing with that at least introduced if not considered this session so we really have our hands full, or are there some other issues that you can think about that were to be involved with I think you have mentioned some that you know points out the reality of part of our work is not only encouraging good laws to be passed but trying to stop ones that are not good, and the ones that some of the ones you mentioned are ones that have been proposed in recent years that assisted suicide medical marijuana video sweepstakes. We have done extensive research in each of these areas show in the harms. If these laws are passed and that's again a vital part of the process is for us to try to help inform legislators as they are making decisions on these laws but also again coming back to the fact that the citizens across the state are vital part of how information is shared with legislators when they hear from people at home.
It makes a tremendous impact on them to know that the people they represent have taken the time to be informed and to contact them and communicate with them about laws that they are considering what jury I would just as we close and were nearly out of time. But before we depart. I do want to ask you about that last point that you made about citizen involvement.
Do you really believe that citizens can have an impact in the legislative process and we often tell them that they can, but we have some listeners out there who were saying not come on that. That's really not not the case. Can they really have an impact.
Well, I think that is always when you look at the facts and the facts in this case are what we heard from legislators the impact that it makes when they hear from the people they represent in one thing we have heard along those lines is the more personal the contact. I think the greater the impact. Emails are good, but I think when you become more personal and make a phone call or write a letter sometimes a save in a hand, especially a hand written letter will make a tremendous impact on them and probably the greatest impact will be if you personally visit with legislators, whether it's at the legislature in their home district. They know that they have been elected to represent the people who live in their district. And when they hear from them. They tell us. It makes a tremendous difference in their decision-making process immunity, especially when they're hearing the facts and the truth about an issue that are considering well I did.
I completely agree with you and experience that in my years down at the Gen. assembly one thing and additionally that I would encourage your listeners to do and something that simple but is extremely important is to pray for their elected officials to first of all find out if they don't know already who those elected officials, or whether there members of the local school board, the city Council. The county commissioners the state legislature or even their representatives in Congress and the U.S. House in the U.S. Senate and praying for our president. That's all extremely important and it gives individuals a much more personal time relationship with those elected officials because they are lifting them up in prayer there supporting them and I think that is a great place to start and then reach out and call, contact your legislators as you said go see them in Raleigh or talk to them when their home over the weekend back in the district and let them know that you're praying for them. Let them know that you care about them that you support them that you appreciate all the sacrifices that they make on our behalf and that really can create that rapport with them. So when an issue comes up that you care about. Then you got a natural audience there to go to and into talk with about the issues and their gonna be much more inclined to listen to you. If you have invested time and energy in that relationship. So it's it really does come down to relationships and the more that we all can develop relationships with those elected officials.
The more we can help support them in in the service that they're providing for us, but also the more likely they are to listen to us when we bring issues of of concern or interest to them what areas we close working our listeners go to learn more about the goings-on at the Gen. assembly.
All the work that NC family is doing to advocate to be an advocate on their behalf. Probably the easiest way to get involved is going to our website NC family.org and there on our homepage is that you can click sign up and that will allow you to then receive our publications to help inform you about issues that are being considered by the legislature. Thank you Jerry. So if individuals go to our website NC family.org again that's NC family.org they can sign up to get our emails and other correspondence, especially action alerts that we send out when it's most important for members of the public to contact their elected officials.
I just want to encourage all of our listeners to go to the NC family website NC family.org and make sure that you are signed up to receive our emails and especially our action alert so that you know when it's most important to contact your elected officials about issues that you care about and without jury Royal. I want to thank you so much for being with us on family policy matters and for your great and very important work here at Carolina family policy welcome.
Thank you for blessing policy matter, production and to listen to our radio show online for more valuable resources and information about issues important to families in North Carolina website family.org on Twitter and Facebook