Thursday, January 5, 2012

Midnight madness: N.C. Republicans go bump in the night

Republican leaders of North Carolina’s legislature acted unethically – if not unconstitutionally – in the middle of the night last night.

Led by House Speaker Thom Tillis of Mecklenburg County, Republicans voted to stop teachers who belong to the N.C. Association of Teachers from having dues automatically deducted from their paychecks.

Aside from whether it’s good policy to single out one organization for different treatment from all others, the dark-of-night vote was exactly the kind of disregard for transparency that fuels voters' disgust with politicians.

Gov. Bev Perdue called legislators back into session to consider her veto of a bill gutting the Racial Justice Act. Article III, Section 5 of the N.C. Constitution spells out that at such a session, “the General Assembly may only consider such bills as were returned by the Governor to that reconvened session for reconsideration.”

In other words, the legislature could only vote on Perdue’s veto of Senate Bill 9, the bill undoing the Racial Justice Act. Republicans didn’t have the votes to override that veto, though. So they adjourned Perdue’s veto session and called for another extra session to start at 12:45 this morning. At 1:12 a.m., they voted on the teachers’ dues veto.

If that’s not unconstitutional, it’s certainly an affront to the citizens of North Carolina, who don’t need the public’s business being done in the dead of night with no notice.

Tillis defended the vote. “Some people probably don’t like the fact we’re here tonight. But the fact of the matter is we got it done, we’re out of here, we’re saving money and going back home,” WRAL reported.

He argued that the public should have known Republicans could force votes at 1 a.m. But unless you’re tracking legislative doings at that hour, it’s not clear how the public could have known. The Racial Justice Act bill was the only one on the agenda.

The whole affair should be “a learning experience,” Tillis said.

It’s a learning experience, all right. The voters of North Carolina have learned a lot about how underhanded this particular crop of legislative leaders can be, and that they scoff at the notion of transparency.

-- Taylor Batten


Jonathan said...

I would not expect a single teacher to vote for a Republican candidate again in the state of North Carolina. Their policies are an affront to those in the education, and their attitude towards educators is disdainful to say the least. This will be a campaign issue without question.

silicon28 said...

I expect this voted will be challenged in court. And unfortunately I expect the "Good, Fine Folks" of Matthews will send Tillis back to Raleigh, even though he is an affront to leadership.

silicon28 said...

Oops, please ignore the erroneous "d" on the end of "voted."

Lambie said...

Hey Silicon, that's not your only ooops, because Tillis ain't from Matthews. The Speaker of the NC House from Matthews was a Democrat who was sent to jail for accepting bribes.

Mark H. said...

How long will the citizens of North Carolina vote against their own interests? Now it is imperative that we become real citizens and become tangibly invovled in the process. Civil and polite confrontation is needed as well as vote to make a statement.
Mark H.

Wolfey79 said...

Seems to me similar to what Obama did yesterday as well. Was it dirty politics, of course, but that's par for the course in Raleigh, but since Republicans are in control, every piece of legislation is controversial to the media and they spin it as evil and dasterdly.

heavymetal said...

I bet GovFacelift will think twice before calling a special session again.

Garth Vader said...

Bev herself cast the deciding vote for the lottery swindle during a session called by the Democrats while a lottery opponent was out of town attending a wedding.

Pot - Kettle - Bev

Jason said...

Why would a teacher object to having their union dues no longer be directly deducted from their paychecks?

The fact that we are reading this article proves that the vote was indeed transparent.

So what's your beef, Observer?

BiBr said...

How is this any different than Obama's recent antics???

Skippy said...

So Obama as the PRESIDENT does something that has not been done in over 100 years and the same Obama that stated back in 2006 that recessed appointments like John Bolton were "damaged goods" and now the Dems are squeling like stuck pigs over the fact that teachers can take home more money if they want to in the middle of obama's recession that includes purposely driven higher energy costs and inflating food costs? And someone we are to beleive that teachers will be against this? What planet are the Jonathans of the workd from?

Andrew said...

When your newspaper finally collapses, just remember op-eds you wrote like this one.

heavymetal said...

I still don't get why folks are so quick to "lament the plight" of teachers. They get paid better than many in the private sector with heftier raises for the years they have in and with more job security.

Hopkins said...

Turn about is fair play. The liberal democrates have forced the hand of republicans who feel the need to operate in this manner.

Since Barry set the tone with his recess appointments yesterday the gloves have come off.

Of course I wouldn't expect to hear much O-pinion regarding that subject from a liberal pandering paper such as the CLT Observer.

J said...

For the past 100 years, NC Democrats have been doing the same things the Repubs did last night. But now it's illegal, unconstitutional and unethical.

And what ever happened to reporters just reporting? The sour grapes in John Frank's article on the session are so obvious an untrained monkey can spot it. It's so clear that he was having a hissy fit because he wasn't allowed to ask questions exactly when he wanted to. Sounds like he's been taking whining lessons from Scott Fowler (remember his whiny article & blog post when Cam Newton blew him off the day before the NFL draft?).

NC's 2 biggest newspapers get more like the New York Times every day. And no, that's not a compliment.