It’s the time of year when we (Gennie and Hannah) keep you up to speed with what’s going on at the Capitol. We don’t really sleep but we promise we are elated to keep you informed. This week was mostly organizational. Watch our video, or read on for the highlights. 

Rep. Matthew Shepherd elected for third term as Speaker

Known for his pragmatic leadership, Rep. Matthew Shepherd was elected for a third term as leader the House. In his speech, Shepherd called for members to listen to one another and commit to hear one another’s perspectives. He also dodged a request from extremists GOP members who asked him to bar Democrats from committee leadership. Ultimately Shepherd selected two Democrats to serve vice chair positions in the House. 


Gov. Sanders shows two faces on inauguration day 

After being sworn in, Gov. Sanders gave a tempered speech in an address to the legislative body. But just a few hours later in a speech outside to the public, she stoked division, brushed off unity, and played to extremists in her base. It’s clear there’s a messaging difference in how she speaks to lawmakers and how she speaks to the public. The culture wars got another shout out this week when Gov. Sanders signed multiple executive orders that:

  • freeze government spending
  • ban CRT in schools
  • ban the term LatinX from state documents  

On Wednesday, she signed another executive order that expands pre-k and also expands charter schools. During live coverage of her inauguration on PBS, Dr. Jay Barth pointed out that expanding pre-k (as well as increasing teacher pay) conflicts with expanding charter schools. How will the state fund pre-K and salary raises if fewer dollars go to public schools? We will see if her office can make clashing policies fit together. 

Icky anti-trans bill gets backlash

Sen. Gary Stubblefield filed SB43, which would label drag shows as adult performances only, enraging LGBTQ supporters. And rightfully so. If passed, the bill would overwhelmingly target members of the trans community. Attacks on the LGBTQ community are not unique for Arleg. Last summer Sen. Dan Sullivan (we incorrectly say Sen. Stubblefield in our youtube video) got mad that his town’s library had a PRIDE display. As a result, he filed a petition to defund Craighead county public library. It passed, and the library’s budget was slashed. Last session, Sen. Missy Irvin passed a bill banning trans youth from participating in public school sports. It’s likely we’ll see more hateful and unhelpful legislation from particular senators this spring.

That’s a wrap for this week! Next week is a short one for the legislature due to MLK day. In the meantime, keep up with #arpx business over own our Twitter page