How State Government Works
Laws of North Carolina, known as statutes, are made by the General Assembly. The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) is made of two bodies or houses; the Senate, which has 50 members; and the House of Representatives, which consists of 120 members. Each legislator represents either a Senatorial District or a House District.
The General Assembly meets in regular session beginning in January of each odd-numbered year, and adjourns to reconvene the following even-numbered year for a shorter session.
The Senate and the House of Representatives meet in their respective chambers on Monday evenings and during the day on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The members return to their homes to take care of their affairs and be available to their constituents during the weekend. During the week, committee meetings are held in the morning and late afternoon. A great deal of the legislative work is done in the committee meetings.
The House of Representatives is presided over by a Speaker, elected from its membership. The presiding officer of the Senate (called the President of the Senate) is the Lieutenant Governor of the State. She/he has no vote in the Senate except to break a tie. The Senate and House also elect other officers from their respective memberships including a President Pro Tempore in the Senate.
At the beginning of each session, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives appoint members to serve on the standing committees of each body. There will be a dozen or more committees for each body, and their work is very important, as every bill introduced will be studied by at least one committee in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. Every legislator serves on several committees.
Each house elects a Principal Clerk who is responsible for keeping the necessary records of the house. Each also has a Sergeant at Arms, who serves as "police officer" for that house and whose assistants act as doorkeepers while the body and its committees are meeting. A third officer is the Reading Clerk who reads all documents or parts thereof which the constitution, rules, or the presiding officer require to be read during the daily session.
The Legislative Services Commission, consisting of seven members of each house, is the management authority for the General Assembly. The Commission, through its Legislative Services Officer and staff, provides the following services to the legislature; bill drafting, legal assistance, fiscal analysis, general research and library services, administration of the legislature's budget, clerical assistance, computer services, proofreading, printing, supply, food service, and building maintenance and security.
Each campus has one registered legislative liaison. Liaison personnel are not lobbyists. The University and its campuses are not principals.
Even though campus liaisons are not lobbyists and the University is not a lobbyist principal, registation and reporting requirements still apply.
- Liaisons must be registered with the Secretary of State's office.
- Liaison personnel must file lobbyist reports quarterly under oath. Reports cover all reportable expenditures made for the purpose of lobbying, including those reimbursed by the University. Additionally, if expenses are incurred in any month while the General Assembly is in session, a monthly reportable expenditure report must be filed.
- Liaisons may not give any gifts to legislators.
- Do not give athletic tickets to a designated individual (legislator, member of council of state, etc.).
- Remember, gifts include meals.
Each campus has an ethics liaison. Please contact your ethics liaison with any questions.
Directions to NC Legislative Complex
From West/Northwest I-40 US 70
I-40: Take exit 289. This becomes Wade Avenue. As Wade Avenue ends, exit right onto Capital Boulevard South towards downtown. After Capital Boulevard becomes Dawson Street, turn left on Jones Street. The Legislative Building will be located 2 blocks away on the left.
US 70: US 70 becomes Glenwood Avenue. Stay on Glenwood to Wade Avenue. Cross the overpass and exit on Wade Avenue East. As Wade Avenue ends, exit right onto Capital Boulevard South towards downtown. After Capital Boulevard becomes Dawson Street, turn left on Jones Street. The Legislative Building will be located 2 blocks away on the left.
From Northeast US 64 US 1 and US 401 US 64
Continue on New Bern Avenue (inbound New Bern Avenue becomes Edenton Street) to the intersection of Edenton and North Wilmington. Turn right onto North Wilmington Street. Turn left at the second traffic signal onto Lane Street. The Legislative Office Building will be on your right, the Legislative Office Building will be on your left.
US 1 and US 401: Continue on Capital Boulevard South towards downtown. After Capital Boulevard becomes Dawson Street, turn left on Jones Street. The Legislative Building will be located 2 blocks away on the left.
From East/ Southeast I-40 US 70
US 70 US 70 merges into US 401. Continue north and stay right on South Wilmington Street. You will pass the State Capital Building on your left. The Legislative Building will be located 2 blocks away on the left.
I-40: Exit I-440 West. Proceed to the South Saunders Street exit and exit right. Travel north on South Saunders Street, which becomes McDowell Street. Continue on McDowell to Jones Street. Turn right on Jones Street. The Legislative Building will be located 1 block away on the left.
From South/ Southwest US 1 and US 64/US 401 US 1 and US 64
Exit onto I-440 East and proceed to South Saunders Street. Exit at South Saunders Street and go north on South Saunders Street, which later becomes McDowell Street. Continue on McDowell to Jones Street. Turn right on Jones Street. The Legislative Building will be located 1 block away on the left.
US 401: Continue north and stay right on South Wilmington Street. You will pass the State Capital Building on your left. The Legislative Building will be located 2 blocks away on the left.
Is there a map of the Legislative Complex?
Here is a link to a map showing the State Legislative Building, the Legislative Office Building, the Capitol, and many other State Government buildings as well as visitor parking lots.
Where do I park when I visit the Legislative Complex?
Public parking is available in three visitor's lots. Visitor's lot #1 is located at the corner of Jones Street and Wilmington Street. Visitor's lot #2 is located in the 300 block of North Salisbury Street and can also be accessed from the 300 block of North McDowell Street. Visitors lot #3 is located at the corner of Polk Street and Wilmington Street. Rates are charged by the hour and the parking lots are controlled by the Department of Administration. Other city owned lots and private lots are available throughout the downtown area. Public spaces are available on some of the streets in the area of the Legislative Complex but parking is limited to Members and authorized staff on the streets adjoining the Legislative Complex.