Friends of representative democracy have been waiting with bated breath through the past two days of the North Carolina General Assembly’s special session, called by outgoing Gov. Pat McPotty ostensibly to fund hurricane and forest fire recovery efforts. But the session, which ended today, produced more or less only that.
And then, late this afternoon, the other shoe dropped.
According to the state constitution, the state House Speaker and Senate President can themselves call a super-extra-special session of the legislature, upon the petition of two thirds of legislators. Which petition (dated last Monday!) the GOP super-majority produced immediately after gaveling the Governor’s session to a close.
Tomorrow’s extra-special-super-dooper session of the General Assembly begins at 9 AM. Preceding it at 8:30 AM will be several committee meetings (all controlled by Republicans), including the committees on Election Law, Appointments, and Redistricting. During those half-hour sessions the committees will ‘consider’ bills submitted by members, and refer them to the House and Senate for votes.
Word on the street is that the bills to be brought up for a vote will strip incoming governor Roy Cooper (D) of many of his executive powers, importantly including the power to appoint members of the Board of Elections and directors of executive branch departments.
A source in the Democratic caucus tells me “we are debating several strategies” for tomorrow. Personally, I’m rooting for them to lock arms and stage loud sit-ins on the House and Senate floors, to be dragged away by the State Capitol Police in front of news cameras. The Republican super-majority really isn’t allowing them any other avenues to fulfill their duty to the state’s citizens. Longer-term, Republicans’ actions tomorrow are likely to raise some interesting state constitutional questions...which may ultimately be decided by the state Supreme Court’s new 4D-to-3R majority (unless #HurricaneSupremes is also on the agenda).
Never a dull moment here in North Carolina, the Heart of the Beast. Stay tuned. Pray for us, please; democracy is now under full siege and aerial bombardment in the Tar Heel State.
Insightus will liveblog this special coup d'état session of the General Assembly Thursday morning, beginning about 10 AM ET (provided the building isn’t in flames by then) here: www.insight-us.org/...
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