Uncategorized

Procedural trick used to speed Racial Justice Act repeal?

(Cross-posted from Legislative Watch).

A House Judiciary subcommittee debated the proposal to repeal the Racial Justice Act this morning. You can watch a video of the entire committee meeting at WRAL.com.

Not surprisingly, the enthusiasm of the supporters for speeding the death machinery of the state vis a vis people who would otherwise be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole is fairly sobering to watch. This, combined with the arguments of a bevy of pro-death penalty prosecutors that the bill is somehow about “public safety,” provides a bit of a surreal feel to the event.

On the more uplifting side, however, are the comments of Tye Hunter, Executive Director of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. Hunter does a masterful job of debunking the argument advanced by some prosecutors that the law is prohibitively expensive. Senator Floyd McKissick also does fine work in reminding the committee of the stakes involved in death penalty decision-making.

One “inside baseball” aspect to the whole episode that may escape the general public is a procedural trick that supporters used in an apparent effort to make final passage of the bill easier. Rather than taking up the scheduled bill (House Bill 615) that dealt with the subject of repeal, Committee Chair Paul Stam instead took up a Senate bill on a completely different subject that has already passed the Senate and then substituted the RJA repeal language.

As a practical matter, this accomplishes at least two things: 1) it obviates the need for the RJA to pass the House by the June 9 “crossover” deadline, and b) it makes it possible for the Senate to pass the RJA repeal with merely a single “concurrence” vote and bypass the traditional committee process.

All in all, another “ends justify the means” bit of hardball politics from the supposed champions of open and transparent government running the North Carolina House.

Check Also

Cooper continues winning streak against legislators; Judges grant TRO

In case you missed it earlier this evening, ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

With just a few hours left until the crossover deadline, the state of North Carolina’s environment i [...]

On Monday morning, there was only one way left to save the Court of Appeals and a few hours with whi [...]

The political compromise that repealed HB2 was enough for the NCAA and ACC, both of which have retur [...]

Conference comes a day after new report lauds benefits of same-day registration The new line-up for [...]

How many times do we have to say it? Well, it’s worth repeating – especially in the aftermath of rec [...]

As the national pundits weigh in on President Trump’s first 100 days in office and the General Assem [...]

How the General Assembly is spending “crossover week” and what it ought to be doing The last week of [...]

To casual observers, the recent controversy surrounding public school class-size mandates in grades [...]

Featured | Special Projects

Trump + North Carolina
In dozens of vitally important areas, policy decisions of the Trump administration are dramatically affecting and altering the lives of North Carolinians. This growing collection of stories summarizes and critiques many of the most important decisions and their impacts.
Read more


HB2 - The continuing controversy
Policy Watch’s comprehensive coverage of North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law.
Read more