Now, a Republican is in the governor's office, and McCrory says the compensation is a high priority for him as well. If basic principle isn't enough to persuade fellow Republican Berger to let the bill through, perhaps the McCrory-Tillis duo can work out some behind-the-scenes horse-trading to make it happen.
Tillis deserves complete credit for keeping the possibility alive. He is the chief sponsor of a bipartisan bill filed Wednesday that would pay the $50,000 lump sum to survivors of the invasive program the state carried out for decades. It's one of only three bills Tillis expects to file all session, signifying its importance to him.
Berger was noncommittal when asked about the proposal earlier this month. It seems he doesn't understand, as Tillis does, that few things violate small-government conservatism more than state government invading its citizens' bodies, often against their will. North Carolina's program, which ran for 45 years until 1974, was one of the nation's most aggressive. The state deemed certain individuals "feeble-minded" and sterilized them so they wouldn't procreate. It was inhumane and is a stain on North Carolina's history. Compensating the few remaining living victims is a minimal nod to that fact.
McCrory's spokesman told the Winston-Salem Journal in August that McCrory is fully supportive of the compensation and "would like to see it happen as soon as possible." The Journal said the spokesman reiterated that stance shortly before the legislature convened.
To read Tillis' bill, click here.
UPDATE: The Washington Post reports that the Virginia House is considering a bipartisan bill that would compensate that state's eugenics victims as well.
-- Taylor Batten