Well, that was fast. Less than an hour after Senate Bill 4 made it back to the Senate after it was passed in the House, Gov. Pat McCrory signed it into law and then recommended his chief of staff’s wife as an appointment to the Industrial Commission.
The outgoing governor has not responded to multiple requests for comment about the special session, and there had been speculation about whether or not he would sign legislation that came from the surprise fourth special session of the year.
House Speaker Tim Moore made the announcement that the bill was signed. The bill will create a bipartisan Board of Elections and ethics agency, reestablish partisan elections for the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, modify the appellate court process and allow McCrory to fill a vacancy on the Industrial Commission.
Yolanda Stith’s name was put forth a short time later in the Senate session. She is currently the Executive Director at North Carolina Association Long Term Care Facilities and the wife of Thomas Stith, McCrory’s chief of staff. She was previously a lobbyist.
Democrats steadfastly voted against Senate Bill 4. They also voiced their opposition and concern about everything from the timing and the power grabs to partisan judicial elections and adding a layer of appeal.
Senators and Representatives also spoke boldly about their disdain for the special session as a whole. Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake, said it was not democracy at work, but despotism.
“The only disaster relief we seek now is to save ourselves from this disastrous legislature,” he said. “The voters did not send us here to re-litigate events from 40 years ago. We’re not here to exact revenge on each other nor expand our powers.”
Neither the House nor Senate have adjourned yet.