Editorial blasts failed legislative session

Be sure to check out this morning’s lead editorial on WRAL.com: “Legislative partisanship triumphs over real progress for N.C.” In the latest of what seems like an endless stream of such editorials from major news outlets over the last decade, the authors make a powerful case that the all-but-concluded 2020 “short session” of the General Assembly has been another colossal missed opportunity — particularly with respect to addressing the health pandemic and the needs of the state’s badly neglected public schools. Here are some excerpts:

“In the midst of a very real pandemic, what they are not about is working with Gov. Roy Cooper to beat the virus and plan for the future; to best position the state so it can rapidly recover when the opportunity becomes clear; or even to set examples for healthful behavior.

Republicans who refuse to wear masks in the Legislative Building are acting like children. Their actions and the dangerous example they set, is helping, not slowing, the spread of COVID-19. They jeopardize our state and nation’s recovery from the ravages of the coronavirus. They need to grow up.”

After noting how lawmakers wasted precious time and effort on trying to force the opening of gyms and bars and dispensing a woefully inadequate tip/bonus to school teachers, the editorial highlights the failure to deal with public education in a meaningful way:

“One bill brings it in sharp focus:

The state Senate’s obstinate refusal to even bring up in committee, the House passed $3.1 billion bond issue for public school and road construction projects. This legislation is the definition of bipartisan consensus. The House passed it 113 to 5 (a lone Democrat and four Republicans voted against it).

This legislation creates jobs; pumps badly needed money into communities across the state; and meets critical needs of public schools not to mention the economic development benefits of a quality road system.

At a time when legislators should be focusing on opportunities for cooperation and achievement, the leaders of this General Assembly have been busy looking for opportunities to sow division.”

The essay acknowledges that there were some useful actions taken this spring — including passing the long-delayed “Second Chance Act” and a bill to address some of the huge challenges posed by the pandemic for conducting fair election this fall — but its bottom line assessment is simple and straightforward: “Election Day cannot come soon enough.”

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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