Notes from the Capitol: March
What a political year 2012 is shaping up to be. Not only is there the presidential election which will be brought up close and personal as a result of the Democratic National Convention being held right here in Charlotte, but there also are a great many candidates running for office. Almost as newsworthy as the number running for office is the number not running for re-election. In the North Carolina House of Representatives, at least 30 current members will not be returning in 2013. There promises to be an even more massive change than in 2011 when a Republican majority took control of the legislature for the first time in more than 100 years. As a result, there will be a huge change in how business is done; new committee chairs will determine new agendas and members with less than 10 years in the legislature will outnumber veterans.
The North Carolina General Assembly will again convene May 16 for their “Short Session,” and I am beginning the second year of my first term. I want to tell you what I actually accomplished in the first year of my first term in office.
During my first year, I introduced six bills, three of which were signed into law. 1) Remove horse barns and equestrian facilities from onerous local regulation; 2) Reduce costs for chicken processors and increase profits for growers by allowing live chickens to be transported in similar amounts as fresh produce; and 3) reduce methamphetamine abuse by blocking sales of pseudoephedrine-containing medications to abusers. I also made major contributions to legislation outlawing artificial drugs like “Spice” and “bath salts” in North Carolina. I was a key sponsor of 15 bills and a co-sponsor of 45 other bills; 21 of these were signed into law.
During session, I worked on six committees: Agriculture, Appropriations (Justice & Public Safety subcommittee), Commerce & Job Development, Education and Military Affairs & Homeland Security. In this interim period between sessions, I am chairman of the Methamphetamine Abuse Oversight committee and serve on the North Carolina Economic Development Commission and the Child Fatality Task Force. In addition, I am on interim committees on Military Affairs and Economic Development & Global Engagement. Committee work takes me to Raleigh most every week.
Education issues are preeminent on my agenda. I meet regularly with staff, House members, teachers and administrators to gain better insights into how we can improve education outcomes as well as retain and attract great teachers. I have meetings scheduled across Union County with parents, teachers and administrators to both insure clear and correct communication and to gain further insights. Education issues are not only extremely important but also extremely emotional. It is imperative that we all strive to look closely into every report and critically at every claim. There is a tremendous amount of missinformation in circulation. Ask hard questions of your legislators at every level. Don’t be sidetracked by hyperbole either by the legislators or those that look only out for their own agenda.
I have scheduled a town hall meeting for the general public March 27 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the community room at the new Waxhaw Emergency Center on Providence Road. Please attend, share your concerns and allow me to explain what we are attempting to do. This economy continues to create difficult challenges for us all. There are many things we must do, some things we must not do and most things we can do better. Please help me identify each of them and help us define a way to accomplish them. Please contact Laurie Payne in my Raleigh office at 919-733-2406 or email me at Craig.Horn@ncleg.net. I look forward to seeing you on March 27 at the Waxhaw Emergency Center.
NC House of Representatives