Ford, Warren, Crutchfield Discuss Goals for Plenary Session
Published Tuesday, January 31, 2023 12:06 AM
Raleigh — Members of the North Carolina Legislature convened the first legislative session of the year on January 25 at the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh, kicking off the first week of a long legislative session.
Senator Carl Ford, who represents Rowan and Stanley counties in the 33rd Ward, said he had a busy start to the week and often waited for the bill to be introduced for the rest of the week. Ford is entering his fourth term as a state senator.
“We’re going to be like this for a few weeks because we have to get the bill out before the committee starts meeting,” Ford said.
He serves on seven committees and chairs three committees: State and Local Government, Pensions, Retirement and Aging, and General Government and Information Technology Expenditures. Ford said it’s too early to tell what will happen with the committee because he doesn’t know what bills the committee members will introduce.
He plans to introduce four or five bills, but said he was following President Calvin Coolidge’s advice.
For Ford, state and local governments are the best way to make a difference.
“Whether it’s Republican or Democrat, local and state governments are always the best because they’re always helping people in their districts. Most of them are good ideas, and some may not be. “For the most part, these local bills get passed. So a lot of them go down in the first few weeks,” Ford said. It’s very important.”
Ford said one of the key bills he wants to work on is the “heartbeat bill.” State legislatures in Ohio, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia have already passed that bill.
Rowan County 76th District Representative Harry Warren said the first few weeks were busier than he remembered in the past, with a good number of bills being introduced on the first day. Warren is currently serving his seventh term at the General Assembly.
Warren said he had a list of bills he was going to bring to the session, but said it was difficult to predict which issues would take precedence.
“The list may shrink as more research is done, or expand as new issues emerge, so we have no plans other than to address what needs legislative solutions,” Warren said. One of the issues he said he is looking at is quota requests for the Rowan County municipality, schools and other local entities.
Another bill Mr. Warren is advocating is House Bill 2, which would allow the North Carolina Department of Public Safety to spend the additional time necessary to take advantage of subsidies awarded to purchase new weapons and safeguards. Warren said it was given to government offices. Currently, the deadline for purchasing him is June 23rd. If the money is not used, it must be returned to the Public Security Bureau. House Bill 2 extends his deadline until September, giving the sheriff’s office more time to make the proper purchases, Warren said.
Warren is also a member of seven commissions and chairs the Oversight and Reform Commission and the State Government Commission. He said the goal of each committee is to ensure that each proposed bill is voted on “fairly and solely on its merits.”
Freshman member Kevin Crutchfield, who is serving his first term at the General Assembly, said he still had a lot to learn, but he thanked the experienced legislators for helping him learn the ropes and teaching him. He has represented Cavallas and Rowan counties in the 83rd District and was named Republican freshman leader.
His goal for this session is to introduce legislation that will “help my voters and the people of North Carolina.”
Crutchfield supports House Bill 22. If the bill is passed, general or medically discharged veterans will be able to receive concealed carry permits. Currently, North Carolina law allows only honorably discharged veterans to receive a concealed carry permit.
“As proponents of our Second Amendment rights, we believe this is important because military personnel should be able to exercise those rights as well,” Crutchfield said.
He also focused on legislation drawn from his experience as a small business owner, saying, “It’s important that North Carolina remains a state where small, independent businesses grow and thrive.” He hopes to introduce these bills in the next few months.
Rep. Julia Howard, representing Davie, Yadkin and Rowan counties in the 77th District, did not respond to a request for comment.