To the Editor:
My grandmother always told me that, “nothing good happens after midnight.” I never quite grasped why until last week. While the vast majority of North Carolinians were sleeping, the radical Republican-controlled legislature was at it again. With zero notice and disallowing debate for a record 35th time this year, Republicans in the legislature convened at 12:45 a.m. to remove the N.C. Association of Educators ability to have a dues check-off payroll deduction.
Why would they convene a post-midnight special session to attack school teachers? Simply, they saw an opportunity. With Rep. Womble in critical but stable condition after a tragic accident; and after Rep. William Wainwright had to excuse himself due to a serious illness; Speaker Thom Tillis could exploit their absence for an advantage albeit completely immoral. Constitutionality aside, no reasonable person would say convening a special midnight session in this manner is honest.
Rob Christensen has watched and/or covered every NC legislature since 1977, and said “I’ve never seen anything quite like last week’s hijinks.”
Last year, Speaker Tillis said that “[Republicans] are living up to their commitment to be more transparent.” How is this transparent? These are the exact antics that anger voters to the point of apathy. As for alleging that Democrats did the same thing when they were in power, is at the outset irrelevant; furthermore, with all the previous legislations reticence they never pulled off something this egregious.
Republican Rep. Tim Moore said at 1:05 a.m., “Whenever the will of the majority is to pass legislation without further delay, we should move forward.” This was the same tactic used to pass the job-killing budget; and leaves North Carolinians sleeping with one eye open when the lights are on at the General Assembly.
Rep. Tillis, the John Locke Foundation, Civitas, and all the other people/organizations with allegiances to Art Pope have came out against the coverage of the midnight session. Seems they like condemning journalists for accurately describing the Republican’s actions. Speaker Tillis seems especially upset over it; so much so he wrote a letter to his supporters and cancelled a newspaper subscription.
The sensible people in North Carolina didn’t vote for this vindictive and unprecedented way of legislating. The budget deficit in North Carolina is an extremely pressing issue, but in addition to that, is the growing leadership, morality, and priority deficit seen in our General Assembly. Our state and its people deserve better. As Elvis Presley sang it best, “funny how things have a way of looking so much brighter in the day light.”