From the desk of Senator Joyce Waddell

Operational Plans for Senate Session

Joyce Waddell

CHARLOTTE, NC- The Senate's 2019-20 session will reopen for business on April 28. Below are the short-term protocols the Senate is putting in place, with concurrence from the Minority Leader, to allow the session to reopen while maintaining health and safety for members and the general public.

Building Access

Building access will be limited to members, staff, and credentialed press.

Press Access

Press will be seated in the chamber gallery and a designated overflow room.

A single press pool camera feed for livestream will be provided by a media outlet selected by the Capital Press Corps.

Gaggles on the Senate floor will not be permitted. More detailed instructions for conducting interviews before or after session will be shared at a later date.

Chamber Floor Access

All Senators

Essential Senate staff only

Limited Clerk’s office staff

Limited Sergeants at Arms staff

Senator Seating and Voting

Senators will be appropriately spaced throughout the chamber, some remaining at their regular desks and some in other locations if requested by the Senator to allow more distance between other Senators and staff.

Senators not at their desk, but physically in the chamber, will individually vote by voice and have their votes recorded electronically.

The Senate will offer staggered and extended voting times for Senators as needed to space out the number of Senators in the chamber at any one time.

Senators will maintain a minimum distance of six feet from others while in the chamber.


· If committee meetings are necessary, they will be held virtually.

"It is important that we stay safe and remain at home as much as possible as we follow the directions of Local, State and Federal governments. " said Senator Joyce Waddell.

In the absence of formal efforts by Senate leadership to study and develop legislation that will aid in the recovery of this global pandemic, the Senate Democratic Caucus formed six committees last month to study these issues.

These committees include:



Local Government



The resulting recommendations will be sent to the Senate Pro Tem’s office for further review. Democratic leaders will continue working with legislative staff to draft bills on these items ahead of the April 28 short session.

With anticipation of the beginning of the short session, senate members are working in work groups to act on these issues in representing North Carolinians. These groups are meeting extensively through Zoom, email, and other media sources to present recommendations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full reports will be sent to Governor Cooper, Senator Berger and respective committee chairs.

"This is something that we have never seen before and I have heard of many scam sources of which we must certainly not become a victim of in regards to aggressive techniques being used. "said Senator Joyce Waddell.

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