Uncategorized

Editorial: Legislators should come clean about voter ID bill

ICYMI, the lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer is a good one. It explains — much as NC Policy Watch Courts and Law reporter Sharon McCloskey did in this story yesterday — why the claims of legislative leaders of that “legislative immunity” somehow insulates them from disclosing the real reasons behind the voter suppression bill passed last session are completely bogus. After exploring the recent hubbub surrounding the bizarre comments of Senator Bill Rabon in the puppy mill controversy, the editorial puts it this way:

“The legislators say they are protected by ‘legislative immunity,’ which they claim not only shields them from ‘arrest or civil process for what they do in legislative proceedings,’ but also having to reveal the conversations they had during the crafting of that legislation.

Are they right? The concept of legislative immunity sprung from English legislators trying to protect themselves from the bullying of English monarchs centuries ago. In the U.S., more than 40 states, including North Carolina, offer lawmakers protection from punitive executive or judicial action regarding the discharge of their legislative duties. Of course, if lawmakers engage in illegal activities, such as taking bribes, then they are not shielded from punishment. But legislative immunity does protect lawmakers from liability for what they say during floor debate and committee deliberations.

This is where things begin to get legally fuzzy. Is it ‘punitive’ to have to make public those deliberations and other communications? Are emails outside of floor debate and committee meetings also protected? States are struggling to resolve these issues, and in North Carolina, it might take a court to decide what lawmakers must reveal.

It shouldn’t. As Sen. Rabon showed, the legislative process can be an ugly mix of power and ego. But the public deserves to know more, not less, about how legislators do the business we elected them to do.”

Amen to that. Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

One Comment


  1. Jack

    January 30, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Don Yelton, former Buncombe County Republican precinct chairman, said it all in his interview on the Daily Show.

    “The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt. If it hurts a bunch of college kids too lazy to get up off their bohonkas and go get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.”

    Voter ID requirement isn’t about the integrity of the voting process in NC it’s about discrimination and reintroducing the poll tax of the Crow era that now extends to all who would vote a Democratic ticket.

Check Also

As conservative legislators ignores sea level rise, locals move ahead without them

There is a somewhat encouraging story on sea ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding [...]

The controversy over “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, has been ra [...]

North Carolina tries to mine its swine and deal with a poop problem that keeps piling up A blanket o [...]

This story is part of "Peak Pig," an examination of the hog industry co-published with Env [...]

With Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House desperate to post a big legislative win, the [...]

Latest court system mess is directly linked to the Right’s ideological war on public structures Some [...]

Republicans in Congress are rushing to advance a tax reform bill that balloons the federal deficit s [...]

The post Charitable donations and the GOP’s chopping block appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Spotlight on Journalism

We invite you to join a special celebration of investigative journalism! The evening will feature Mike Rezendes, a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe Spotlight Team known for their coverage of the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Tickets available NOW!

Spotlight On Journalism

This event will benefit NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. Sponsorship opportunities available now!

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more