Commentary, Defending Democracy

Today’s “must read” editorial decries latest special legislative session plans

Be sure to check out this morning’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com. It speaks the truth about the latest special session plans from Republicans on Jones Street. This is from “Special session reveals phony motives behind constitutional amendments”:

“Want proof of the true partisan motivation for the bundle of vague and unnecessary state constitutional amendments carelessly rushed out of the North Carolina legislature last month? Look no further than Saturday’s letter from House Rules Committee chair Rep. David Lewis to House Speaker Tim Moore.

Lewis fears a commission, set up by the legislature to provide unbiased summaries of the proposed amendments, won’t spin and obfuscate as the Republican leaders of the legislature want.

Without a shred of proof, Lewis wrote that the commission would overreach and therefore legislative leaders should quickly call a special session to write the explanations themselves. Bringing the legislature back is a terrible idea and shouldn’t be done. It will lead, as we’ve seen in the past, to nothing but trouble.

The commission, established in state law (passed by the legislature), is made up of the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the General Assembly’s legislative services officer. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein happen to be Democrats and Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble is a Republican. It is not a political complexion that the dictatorial leaders of the veto-proof Republican-dominated legislature find to their liking.

In stark contrast to the way the current leadership rules the legislature, the commission has outlined an open and transparent process to develop the summaries of the proposed amendments – including sincerely seeking input from the public and holding publicized open meetings.

That is, unfortunately, the polar opposite of the secretive, orchestrated and hasty approach that Lewis, Moore and their cohorts in the state Senate employed when in just a few days they shoved the amendments onto the November ballot.”

After explaining the reality of what such a special session will entail (obfuscation, hypocrisy, lack of genuine debate) the editorial concludes this way:

“While certainly not intended, legislative leaders may end up providing an even clearer display of their heavy-handed approach to governing.

Rather than enhancing their desire to camouflage their efforts to rig the State Constitution, legislative leaders will offer up another unvarnished display of their insincerity and abuse of authority.

In the end, these legislative leaders will offer up the best argument yet to vote against these superfluous state constitutional amendment.”

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