Apodaca touts NC legislature’s busy year in talk to business leaders

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Apodaca: ‘Nothing too controversial’ expected in short session

Hendersonville Republican Tom Apodaca, chairman of the state Senate’s powerful Rules and Operations Committee, touted the General Assembly’s flood of new legislation in a meeting last week with the Asheville-based Council of Independent Business Owners.

Apodaca at CIBO

Apodaca, a key player in advancing much of the recent major legislation passed by the General Assembly’s Republican majority, told the local business group that 2013 was a year of big achievements. Jon Elliston/Carolina Public Press

Apodaca began his presentation, held at a Dec. 5 lunch in a conference room at the Biltmore Square Mall, by saying he’d share “some high notes of what we did this session [in Raleigh].”

During the 30-minute talk and Q&A, Apodaca praised many of the state GOP’s major recent initiatives, including tax cuts, a balanced state budget, regulatory reductions and changes to education policies and voting laws. Listen to full audio of his remarks below.

“Those are the things we don’t hear about, the little things we do that mean so much to the state as a whole,” he said. “I think our future is very, very bright. I’m not one of these naysayers.”

In addition to matters of statewide concern, Apodaca highlighted some legislative developments specific to WNC.

The state’s transportation-spending priorities, he said, will now put major WNC road projects higher on the list and sooner on the calendar. And, he said, he’s working to complete appropriations for a substantial new Henderson County-based state crime lab, which could help the area tackle its backlog of DUI casework.

“The thing I’m most excited about is the unemployment rate,” Apodaca added. “You’re sitting in the lowest-unemployment area in North Carolina,” he said in relation to the Asheville area’s jobless rate. “Now that is phenomenal.”

Apodaca did not mention the legislature’s recently enacted series of abortion restrictions in his main remarks, but in response to a question from Carolina Public Press, he said that no additional abortion-related legislation will be considered by the General Assembly during its upcoming short session, which begins on May 14, 2014.

He also said he’ll strive to keep the short session true to its name, in terms of brevity.

“We hope to be in and out before the U.S. Open,” he said. The annual golf tournament will be held next year in Pinehurst, N.C., beginning June 9. “That’s our target: Get in, get out. Nothing too controversial.”

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Jon Elliston

Jon Elliston is the Investigations and Open Government Editor at Carolina Public Press. Contact him at jelliston@carolinapublicpress.org.

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