Commentary

Authors of HB2 special session say “no” to holding one for hurricane response

Sometimes you just can’t, as they say, make this stuff up. In March of this year, North Carolina’s political leadership took the extraordinary step of summoning 170 legislators to Raleigh for a special session of the General Assembly. The urgent purpose: to pass a law enshrining discrimination against LGBTQ North Carolinians in state law.

Now, seven months later, a huge portion of the state has been impacted by a genuine emergency that’s taken the lives of at least 20 people. And what’s the response of that same political leadership? If you guessed “Oh, let’s wait and see what to do. Better not rush into action” you’d be right on the money.

Perhaps the most outrageous statement thus far, however, comes from Gov. McCrory’s state budget director, Andrew Heath. Heath told Raleigh’s News & Observer that calls from state Senate Democrats for a special session to marshal state responses to Hurricane Matthew were “a shameful display of political theater.” This from a man whose boss has not missed an opportunity in the last few days to grandstand in front of TV cameras — even if all he was doing was regurgitating weather news that everyone had already seen.

The bottom line: There will certainly be plenty to do to respond to Hurricane Matthew for some time to come, but the idea of a special session in the near future — if only to make sure that the state’s responses to the crisis are properly aired and vetted — makes a lot of sense. The notion that the authors of the HB2 special session won’t even consider interrupting their re-election campaigns to consider such a possibility speaks volumes.

 

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