By Kirk Ross / Carolina Public Press
Legislators from Western North Carolina will exercise a substantial amount of oversight for the General Assembly’s powerful committees during the 2017-2018 session.
State House Speaker Tim Moore of Cleveland County and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger of Rockingham County, both Republicans, announced their choices for committee chairs and other assignments for the 2017-2018 session of the General Assembly on Monday.
Earlier this month, the General Assembly conducted a one-day opening session to swear in members and elect the leaders for each chamber. Legislators return to Raleigh next week to begin committee work.
In the House, Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, was renamed as a main co-chair of the House Appropriations Committee, but this year Moore added two co-chair slots, so McGrady will be one of six co-chairs instead of one of four. McGrady was also named chair of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee.
Rep. Jonathan Jordan, R-Ashe, will also be managing multiple chairmanships. Jordan was appointed chair of the Homelessness, Foster Care and Dependency Committee and co-chair of the House Education Committee on Universities and Judiciary III Committee.
Rep. Josh Dobson, R-McDowell, will co-chair the Health Committee as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
Also in the House, Rep. Michelle Presnell, R-Yancey, was named a co-chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation.
House committee assignments are expected later this week.
In the Senate, Sen. Ralph Hise, R-McDowell, will serve as co-chair of the Health Care Committee and Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon, was named co-chair of the Transportation Committee.
Berger also handed out committee assignments for the Senate, which has far fewer committees than the House.
Hise will serve on the Finance Committee, Davis will serve on the Health Care Committee and first-year Sen. Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson, was appointed to the Education, Health Care and State and Local Government committees.
Senator Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe, was appointed to the Transportation Committee.
Apodaca launches lobby business
One familiar WNC name not on the list of committee chairs is former Senator Tom Apodaca, who served as Berger’s second-in-command and chair of the Rules and Operations Committee before resigning in July 2016.
That resignation started the clock on a required six-month pause before he could lobby his former colleagues in the legislature.
This week, Apodaca filed paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office setting up his lobbying business.
According to the filing, Apodaca’s Vista Strategies, with offices in downtown Raleigh not far from the legislature, will represent tobacco giant Altria, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, lottery equipment maker IGT, the N.C. Wine and Beer Wholesalers Association and Winston-Salem based insurer National General Management Corporation.