Special legislative session: Trashing openness and process

For those North Carolinians not paying a whole lot of attention, something very big is apparently going to happen next week in our state.  As best as can be determined, our state legislature is going to convene in special session in Raleigh for the purpose of amending (perhaps in multiple ways) our state constitution – the fundamental governing document for our state.

A special session to amend the constitution? Heck, that doesn’t happen every day — or even every decade! One might think that this would actually be a big, dadgum deal — maybe even a big enough deal that a lot of North Carolinians would be paying attention.

There’s only one problem with this theory — well, two if you count the almost non-existent coverage in the mainstream news media: Nobody has any idea what’s even going to be debated!

Hard as it might be to believe — especially in light of the much ballyhooed promises of the state GOP to bring all sorts of new openness and transparency to state government this year — no one in the House or Senate leadership has officially announced what’s on the agenda for next week.

That’s right — we are not making this up; Both houses of the General Assembly are scheduled to convene in less than 117 hours to (apparently) alter our fundamental state law and, as of yet, there has been no official announcement of what will be debated — much less the actual proposals themselves.

Oh sure, there have been rumors and offhand statements, but, as of yet — no one has actually spelled things out in black and white.

How can this be? And how can there not be a great hue and cry from all corners of the political spectrum? In comparison, this makes the past decisions of legislative Democrats to ram through state budgets with little or no notice look like child’s play.

We’re talking about amending the doggone constitution…next week! What is this, Texas? Wisconsin?

Come on, Representaive Tillis and Senator Berger, you guys made some minimal progress on the transparency and openness front during the 2011 session. Put an end to this right now. Announce a new date certain for a special session at least a month down the road. Publish the texts of the amendments you intend to consider.   

If you don’t, all of your previous blabbing about transparency and openness are revealed to be lies.

Come on guys, tell the people what the plan is. What are you afraid of?   




  1. Rob Schofield

    September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Right after this post went up, I received an email notice from the Senate Rules Committee that really clears things up. Here’s what it said:


    The Senate Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate will meet at the following time:


    Monday September 12, 2011 4:00 PM 1027

    The following will be considered:


    Senator Tom Apodaca, Chair

  2. david esmay

    September 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Ok, what the hell does that mean?

  3. Rob Schofield

    September 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    No idea. It’s just a blank notice that they’re meeting (sorry for the formatting problems) and that, apparently, they’ll simply take up any old bills they feel like discussing.

  4. Ben Wright

    September 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    It’s a bill to prevent sponsors from shortening their name or using acronyms. The RBC Center will have to be referred to as the Royal Bank of Canada Center.

  5. […] NC Policy Watch: Hard as it might be to believe — especially in light of the much ballyhooed promises of the […]

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