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N&O rightfully skewers Senate GOP leader

One of the chief distinguishing characteristics of the curent legislative leadership is the hyper-cynical, “ends-justify-the-means” brand of politics it practices. Whether it’s Speaker Thom Tillis’ public admission of his “divide and conquer” strategy or last month’s “midnight madness” session, the current legislative leadership will do and say pretty much whatever it takes to get its way.

Rep. Ray Rapp of Buncombe County reported at a forum in Asheville last night that he had counted 35 instances this past year in which the House Republican leadership had “called the question” (i.e. shut off debate) on the House floor. This is compared, he said, to seven times that Democrats in the House had taken such a step in the previous four years.

Given this backdrop, it’s no surprise that conservative leaders (and the assistants acting in their names) would feel free to turn their Twitter accounts into fonts of false propaganda. Who would bother to call them on it – right?

Fortunately, while most of the misleading tweets do go unchallenged, Raleigh’s News & Observer provided an important public service this morning by challenging one particularly noxious and dishonest tweet from the office of State Senate president Pro Tem, Phil Berger on the subject of the Racial Justice Act.

Click here to read this excellent editorial.

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House leadership to try something new: Actual discussion and debate!

The committee he’s appointed is stacked with Racial Justice Act opponents, but it appears that House Speaker Thom Tillis has backed down slightly from his usual m.o. (i.e. “my way or the highway”).

Next Friday, in the aftermath of Tillis’ failed efforts to repeal RJA, the newly established House Select Committee on Racial Discrimination in Capital Cases will meet at the Legislative Building in Raleigh to discuss the matter.

Though it has often not been the case with the conservatives running the General Assembly (see, for example, the kangaroo sessions in which the marriage discrimination amendment was rammed through), let’s hope there’s an actual full and fair hearing.

Perhaps if there is, RJA opponents will be able to explain to all of us exactly just what the great harm is that’s resulting from examinations of compelling data like this one.

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If you haven’t read it yet…

…read the Charlotte Observer editorial on the legislative secret session

Here’s the excellent conclusion:

“‘The whole affair should be “a learning experience,’ Tillis said.

It’s a learning experience, all right. The voters of North Carolina have learned a lot about how underhanded this particular crop of legislative leaders can be, and that they scoff at the notion of transparency.”

 

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Just when you thought the GOP legislature couldn’t get any slimier…

Conservative Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly  took things to a new level of of Machiavellian, ends-justify-the-means, no-holds-barred nastiness early this morning. After failing to muster the votes to override the Governor’s veto of the Racial Justice Act repeal, they “adjourned” the special session and then called another one at 1:00 a.m. to override another veto — this one of a bill that would prevent the North Carolina Association of Educators from collecting dues from members via payroll deduction.

Perdue and the NCAE both questioned the constitutionality of the action. Whether or not they are right, however, it’s clear that the action was underhanded and slimy and but the latest in a long series of acts that continue to take the state down a very dangerous path.

I’ve complained in this space before that the conservative economic vision is to turn our country into a banana republic on steroids.  It now appears that they have the same vision for the mechanisms of government itself as well.

(The is post has been updated. The original blamed just the House Republicans for this morning’s treachery. Obviously, the Senate was fully complicit as well. The headline and first sentence now reflect this fact).  

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As legislators return, activists eye the “veto garage” (video)

Legislators reconvene on Wednesday to reconsider the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 9, which would have repealed much of the Racial Justice Act.

The question is whether the Republican leadership could also use the special session to revisit the “veto garage” and take up any other issues left pending in 2011.

Bob Phillips of Common Cause NC is wary Republicans may make at least one more push on voter ID before the 2012 elections, which could make a difference in our tight battleground state.

Phillips says despite opinion polls that have shown support for some form of voter identification, such a law would adversely affect almost half a million active registered voters in North Carolina.

Phillips joined us recently on News and Views to reflect on efforts to suppress voting in 2011 and what lies ahead for the New Year.

To hear a portion of Phillips’ radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below. To listen to the full interview – including our look back at the newsmakers of 2011 – visit the Radio Interview section of the N.C. Policy Watch website. There you can listen to the entire show online or subscribe to our podcast feed on iTunes.

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