by: Jim Bradley Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Republican-controlled Legislature convenes in Raleigh for its short session this week. Leaders said they'll move quickly on big and controversial issues like offshore drilling and fracking and raising teacher pay.
“It’s like moving an aircraft carrier. You don't take a turn,” said Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg. “You guide it into the spot that it needs to go.”
As politics resumes in Raleigh, some said there's another agenda to watch in the state Capitol.
“Republicans control it, but who exactly is leading the Republican brand?” political expert Michael Bitzer said.
Bitzer said after dominating the agenda last year, Republican lawmakers could find themselves in a tug-of-war with Gov. Pat McCrory.
“I think what McCrory has to do is be much more aggressive. But he can't be seen as being too antagonistic to a legislature that has veto-proof numbers in both chambers,” Bitzer said.
Some Republicans are already complaining privately that McCrory announced his plan for coal ash disposal days before a high-profile legislative hearing on the same issue last month.
Rucho said he welcomes the governor's input but insists the Legislature remains in firm control of the agenda.
“There's economic growth happening. There are jobs being created. All that being said, that's exactly where we want to be going,” Rucho said.