Well, that didn’t take long. When Democrats swept the Wake County Board of Commissioners in last fall’s election, more than one wag opined that it wouldn’t take long before the GOP-dominated General Assembly would find a way to abolish the Board.
Things haven’t gone that far…yet. But as we’ve found out in the last 48 hours, conservative leaders in the state Senate have no plans to be shy in altering local election results that displease them.
On Thursday, the Senate Redistricting Committee examined a pair of bills to alter the way voters elect county commissioners in Wake County and city council members in Greensboro. The Wake County bill was considered just a day after it was introduced.
Let’s hope the overwhelmingly negative response the bills have spurred from the public cause the senators to think twice. As the Greensboro News & Record noted in an editorial blasting the bill impacting Greensboro yesterday, even Gov. McCrory is sending signal that the bills go too far:
“The idea that the state should dictate Greensboro’s local governing structure contradicts the leeway granted by law to all other cities and counties.
While not referring specifically to Wade’s proposal, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory expressed an important principle Tuesday:
‘Let me put it this way: As governor I constantly have to fight Washington not to interfere. I think the same philosophy applies to Raleigh interfering with local governments.’
Members of the Senate Redistricting Committee, most of them Republicans and none of whom represents any part of Guilford County, should keep that principle in mind when Wade asks them to approve her bill today.”
Unfortunately, if past performance is any indication, Senate conservatives have little interest in principle when it comes to redistricting (or the Governor when it comes to just about anything).
The Committee plans to vote on the matters next Tuesday. It’s unclear at this point whether additional public testimony will be allowed. For Wake County residents, the legislative delegation from Wake will apparently have an open meeting on Monday at 3:00 pm in Room 1124 of the Legislative Building.