House Speaker Thom Tillis

Congress returns for its final session of the year on Monday afternoon, and lawmakers have a big to-do list ahead before they can adjourn for the holidays.

Photo: Rep. Tim Moore and NC House GOP Leadership
Jorge Valencia

North Carolina Republicans have nominated a new State House Speaker to succeed U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis. Tim Moore is an attorney and small business owner from Kings Mountain, a small town about 30 miles west of Charlotte. He's been in the House for six terms.

The Republicans in the House of Representatives chose Moore in a closed-door meeting. They locked themselves in a conference room at Randolph Community College. Moore needed at least half the votes plus one to win, and that was exactly what he got.

Rep. Tim Moore is the GOP's choice for Speaker of the House
NC General Assembly

North Carolina House Republicans selected Cleveland County Rep. Tim Moore as their choice for Speaker of the House of Representatives, making him the almost-certain successor to U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis in one of the state's three most powerful public offices.

Moore, 44, an attorney in rural King's Mountain and seven-term representative, received 37 votes in the first-round of voting - likely a comfortable victory in a race against five other candidates.

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory has filed a suit against House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger, saying he's trying to stop them from usurping executive powers.

The lawsuit, filed in Wake County Superior Court, alleges violations of the separation of powers, executive power, and appointments provisions of the state Constitution, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Former governors Jim Hunt, a Democrat, and Jim Martin, a Republican, joined McCrory in the filing.

Some North Carolina legislators say they were surprised and upset to hear that their House Chamber is undergoing renovations.

They say they didn’t green light the $125,000 expense, and that it didn't go through the legislative services commission. The project received approval from the office of House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is transitioning to U.S. senator.

“Quite a surprise,” said House Republican Representative Julia Howard. “I am shocked that they’re taking the red curtains down, that’s a piece of our history. It does disturb me.”

Tillis Defeats Hagan

Nov 5, 2014
Thom Tillis
www.thomtillis.com

A little more than a decade ago, Thom Tillis was a resident of the town of Cornelius in northern Mecklenburg county. He wanted a bike trail near his house, and, despite knowing nothing about politics, he lobbied the local parks commission. Soon, he won election to it, then the town council, then the State Legislature three times, until he became speaker.

And then last night, he won a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan
NC General Assembly/US Senate

    

As the midterm elections get closer, education is a prominent topic in North Carolina’s congressional races. 

Hagan/Tillis Debate
Jessica Jones, WUNC

The race for North Carolina's senate seat is one of the hottest and most expensive in the nation.

Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis met in their second debate yesterday. They exchanged sharp words on national security, healthcare and immigration.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Michael Bitzer, professor of politics and history and provost at Catawba College, about the debate.

Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan
NC General Assembly/US Senate

Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan squared off with her Republican challenger, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis in their first senatorial debate last night.

The race is essentially neck and neck with two months left before midterm elections. Tillis attempted to tie Hagan to an unpopular president, while Hagan tried to associate Tillis with an unpopular legislature. 

And with nearly $15 million in spending from outside groups, the race is already one of the most expensive in the country.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

A few members of the North Carolina House of Representatives will be back in Raleigh for a skeleton session today, but no real business is expected to be conducted. Technically, they need to be there to keep the legislature in session. That’s because they couldn’t agree with their colleagues in the Senate on one of their main priorities this summer – what to do about 33 coal ash dumps around the state.

This story starts in February this year, and you might have seen it on national newscasts.

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

Leaders in the state Senate have offered an eight percent pay raise for teachers as they inch closer to putting together a budget.

Senate leaders unveiled their offer to House budget negotiators late Tuesday afternoon. Senators had previously wanted to give educators raises of 11 percent, but House leaders said such a large increase would require cutting too many other areas.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

House and Senate leaders are back in Raleigh today to try to resolve large differences in their spending plans for the year. 

They're now two weeks past their deadline, as they've been at odds over how much to pay teachers and at what cost. Senators want to give large raises of about 11 percent, but they would pay for them in part by cutting more than 6,000 teacher assistants. 

House leaders have been adamant about providing more modest raises without laying off any educators or impacting the state's Medicaid health insurance program.

Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan
NC General Assembly/US Senate

House Speaker Thom Tillis is the target of a new ad that criticizes the state legislature’s cuts to education.

The Senate Majority PAC spent $800,000 on the ad in support of U.S. Senator Kay Hagan in her bid for re-election against her Republican rival.  

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

House and Senate leaders are not showing signs of meeting their July 1 deadline to make adjustments to the state's two-year budget. They're still deadlocked over differences in their spending plans.

Senate leaders call the House's budget plans unbalanced and unsustainable. They say a five percent pay raise for teachers is not enough. Senators are offering 11 percent by cutting back on teacher assistants.

Governor Pat McCrory gathered with school leaders and legislators on Wednesday to show their support for a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay.
Reema Khrais

State House Republicans are teaming up with Governor Pat McCrory to help speed up slow budget talks. Legislators are supposed to make adjustments to the two-year state budget by July 1, but progress has been sluggish.

Representatives say they want to at least pass a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay. It would give teachers an average five-percent raise without relying on funds from the lottery.