Two things to contemplate on this lovely, globally warm afternoon:
1) Sue Sturgis at Facing South has a fine new post about the questionable industry folk who shepherded North Carolina lawmakers on a fracking “fact” finding mission last fall. As you can imagine, the main company in question is a real paragon of public-spirited corporate virtue.
2) Here’s how the dialogue should have gone between Rep. Becky Carney and House Speaker Tillis in the aftermath of her accidental and deciding vote in favor of the fracking bill (and how it would have gone had Tillis ever tried to live up to his pledges about transparency of honest government):
Rep. Carney: “Mr. Speaker, I need to raise a point of order: I accidentally voted ‘aye’ when I meant to vote ‘no.’”
Speaker Tilis: “Members of the House, Rep. Carney has raised a matter that puts us in a bit of an awkward position. As you know, our rules technically prohibit members from changing their votes after the fact when the change would alter the outcome. On the other hand, it would be an obvious injustice for our state to enact a major policy change for which the constitutionally required majority does not actually exist through a mistake. That’s not something I’m prepared to preside over.
In light of the late hour and the rapid-fire nature of the votes we’ve been holding, my initial thought is that I might be inclined to seek the House’s leave to simply suspend this rule. I worry, however, that this may create a troublesome precedent.
So, let’s do it this way. Having voted on the prevailing side, Rep. Carney is well within her rights to move to reconsider the vote by which the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 820 was overridden.
Rep. Carney is therefore recognized for a motion.”
Rep. Carney: “Thank you Mr. Speaker. Having voted on the prevailing side, I move to reconsider the vote by which the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 820 was overridden.”
Speaker Tillis: The Majority Leader, Rep. Stam is recognized.
Rep. Stam: “Mr. Speaker, I know Rep. Carney to be an honorable woman and I know further that as part of a group that came to power in this House on a platform of transparency and honesty, that neither I nor my Republican colleagues want such an important matter of state law to be decided via an accident. I therefore stand in support of the motion.”
The motion would then have passed by a wide margin — perhaps unanimously — and the matter would have been back before the House. At that point, maybe it would have then failed and maybe the fracking supporters would have found someone else to voye “yes.” There’s no way to say for sure.
But we do know one thing: Whatever the result, it would have been determined honestly and honorably. Unfortunately, as anyone who watches this WRAL story in which the Carney, Tillis and Stam are interviewed will attest, class, honesty and honor are not subjects with which Tillis or Stam are well-versed.