You know…the day that North Carolinians can finally say adieu to the 170 members of the 2013-14 General Assembly? As has almost always been the case with the current crop of state lawmakers, the signals are mixed and confusing.
News reports this morning indicate that even as legislative leaders look for ways to append a badly needed fix onto the terribly flawed budget that was just passed a few days ago, they’re once again playing political games with each other and the citizenry. If this is how things end — with a critical provision to help schools made contingent upon a new corporate giveaway scheme — it will be a fitting conclusion to a remarkably ineffective and discombobulated session.
Perhaps it’s only fitting that the N.C. legislature comes to the end of its long short session in a squabble over how and when to end it. It hasn’t mattered much that the Republicans are in charge of everything – the state House and Senate and the governor’s office. GOP infighting and House vs. Senate power plays – along with a little muscle-flexing or attempts at it by Gov. Pat McCrory and his staff – have been constant backdrops during the session that began May 14.
In the plaintive words of Rodney King, paraphrased: Can’t they all just get along? Or at least agree to close down the shop and get out of town? And save us taxpayers the $50,000 a day it typically costs for them to be in session?
Of course, there’s a very good chance this will not be THE day. Having apparently failed to fashion a coal ash clean up plan in the more than six months that have passed since the Dan River disaster, the General Assembly may return yet again after the fall election for a rare “lame duck” session. If that happens, at least a couple of things appear to be certain:
1) It won’t be the first time the adjective “lame” will be used in the same sentence with the 2013-14 legislature and 2) Coal ash will be far from the only mess that will be left behind for future General Assemblies to clean up.