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

On its 65th anniversary, Brown v. Board of Education and school desegregation are in jeopardy

Tomorrow is the 65th anniversary of the U.S. ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

It appears that Thomas Farr is back in the game – the North Carolina redistricting game, that is. Th [...]

At its meeting next week, the UNC Board of Governors was scheduled to unveil a new plan for the futu [...]

You can hear the anger rising in Yevonne Brannon’s voice as she talks about the state’s controversia [...]

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Patrick McHenry has been representing western North Carolina in the U.S. House si [...]

I am a public school teacher in Forsyth County. As a special education teacher, I work with students [...]

As most everyone who knows the North Carolina legislature will tell you, regardless of their politic [...]

North Carolina lawmakers sped past their self-imposed crossover deadline last week – the date by whi [...]

The post The Nutcracker appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]