The committee schedule on the latest House Calendar includes a meeting Tuesday afternoon of the House Capital Appropriations Committee, but it won’t be in a committee room where citizens and the media can attend, or at least listen online.
The calendar says the meeting will be “around Rep. Womble’s desk.” That would be Rep. Larry Womble of Forsyth County, the committee chair.
Committee meetings are often held around legislators’ desks in the scramble to adjourn at the end of the session. They are usually announced a few minutes before they begin and they are always chaotic, with lobbyists crowding around making it next impossible to hear, much less count votes or record the meeting as the rules require.
A few years ago, a House Committee met around a desk on the House floor to consider a change in the proposed state employee pay raise and at least one committee member couldn’t break through the crowd to vote.
Meeting around a desk is absurd, even when it’s announced beforehand. That’s why there are committee rooms in the Legislative Building and Legislative Office Building, to have meetings.
It may seem like inside legislative baseball, but it’s one reason the legislative process is difficult to follow, which is in no one’s best interest.