N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis
N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s new General Assembly convened for their new session on Wednesday, bringing with them an historic dominance of Republican control not seen in the state since 1870.

For the first time since the end of Reconstruction, Republicans hold power in both the legislative and executive branches of the state. Last Saturday, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory was sworn in as governor. He ended a week-long, cross-state tour in Charlotte yesterday.

The new session of the legislature approved rules and officially elected their officers on Wednesday. Cornelius Rep. Thom Tillis was reelected speaker of the House. Rockingham Sen. Phil Berger was reelected as the Senate’s president pro tempore. Both men addressed jobs and the economy in their speeches, though Tillis has said he wants to make a controversial voter identification law one of the first matters of business when the legislature reconvenes for work at the end of the month.

A voter identification law was proposed last year and vetoed by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue. Both McCrory and Tillis seem to have softened on some of the potential requirements of the bill. Both say they might allow other forms of identification without photos on them.

“I would still like a photo on it, but I would also be willing to accept other options,” McCrory said, according to Raleigh’s News & Observer. “I’ll let the legislature work to develop those bills. I expect a voter ID bill to be passed in the very near future.”

Critics of the voter identification law have said it would prevent some currently-eligible voters from participating in elections, particularly students and seniors.

The legislature returns to Raleigh for business on Jan. 30.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.