On the agenda

A few whispers coming out of Raleigh concern a 10 percent across the board cut in state programs, and potentially equal cuts in employee pay:

The historic shift in power carries promises of major change. Republicans want to cut programs and spending. They want to limit government powers, such as business regulation and involuntary annexation. Some want to maintain or expand government regulation of medical malpractice lawsuits, abortion and marriage.

When Democrats had the majority, they often blocked, limited or simply ignored Republican legislation on those issues. At times, the Democrats had to deal with internal tensions between their progressive or liberal faction and the traditional, conservative Southern Democrats. Republicans may face similar challenges.

Many of the newly elected Republicans are small-government, free-market conservatives whose ideals could create conflict with social conservatives. The two groups sometimes disagree on how much government regulation to impose on business and private life, such as the sale and consumption of alcohol.

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