NCGA Republican leadership to everyone else: 'Drop dead'
Thursday, 24 May, 2018 — civics
Paul A. Specht and Will Doran writing for the News & Observer, covering the latest in a long series of the North Carolina GOP freezing out Democrats from involvement in the legislative process:
Democrats are upset that Republican legislators are mostly excluding them from state budget talks, as it’s unlikely any proposed changes will be adopted once the budget is revealed.
Republican leaders plan to gut an old bill and amend it as a “conference report” to include their budget plans, meaning state lawmakers will have no method for amending the legislation.
The NCGA leadership isn’t denying the accusation.
Shelly Carver, a spokeswoman for Senate leader Phil Berger, said the purpose of the short session is to adjust the two-year state budget that was passed over a six-month period last year — “not to write an entirely new plan.” Republicans hold a supermajority in the House and Senate, so it’s unclear whether Democratic proposals would be adopted even if under a more open process.
“It’s clear Gov. Cooper and legislative Democrats are upset they won’t be able to abuse that process to try to score political points in an election year, but lawmakers of both parties will have the opportunity to vote on the bill and make their voices heard,” Carver wrote in an email.
The thing is, this supermajority is the result of an unconstitutional racially-based gerrymander. Delaying motions have allowed the state GOP to delay a reckoning with redrawing both the state legislative districts and the state’s congressional districts. So, the reason why Democrats won’t be heard during the budget process is because the NC GOP explicitly set up the process to allow exactly this.
“(A)n entirely new plan” talks past recent events in Raleigh, specifically the May 18, 2018 rally of state public school teachers in Raleigh for better pay and better school funding.
Jeff Jackson, a state senator representing Charlotte put it this way, as part of a thread put it thusly:
Ultimately, this is about teachers. Republicans know that Democrats are going to offer amendments to raise teacher pay and Republicans don’t want to be on record voting against that. So they’re going to torpedo the whole process to avoid publicly saying “No” to teachers.
Both my NC Senate and NC House representatives and neither is involved in this process. I effectively have no representation at the state level.