North Carolina’s special interests waste no time in trying to turn the heads of the new legislature. Late Tuesday afternoon a curious line started outside a closed wooden door in the General Assembly, as anywhere between seventy-five to a hundred lobbyists lined up to introduce themselves to the new legislators. The line of well groomed men and women, many with flashy nametags that reflected the fluorescent lighting above, wound itself around a large courtyard, down a narrow hallway, and out into the foyer. These lobbyists represented all manner of industries and special interests around the state, each desiring for the state to look favorably upon their organization.
The physical representation of the plethora of special interest groups vying for influence with state legislators was very nearly lining up out the door. Some wanted state money, some wanted advantageous legislation, while others were very clearly playing defense in anticipation of deep budget cuts to reconcile a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.
The line slowly filtered through the wooden door into a conference room where each lobbyist spoke briefly at the podium before a number of dimly interested soon-to-be freshmen legislators. Some kept it short and sweet, congratulating them on their recent victory, while others were more forthcoming with their agendas, arguing that their industry creates jobs, is vital to North Carolina’s interests, or courting legislators with a variety of other talking points.