During the current legislative short session, it's become quite apparent that the NCGA is barely controlled chaos run by just a few powerful people.
Yeah, I know, it's been that way in North Carolina for as long as anyone can remember. But consider:
- Budgets are developed by a very few people behind closed doors then rolled out all at once to other legislators, the media and the public.
- Bills are put on and taken off legislative calendars with no notice. Most legislators have no idea what to expect each day when they report to work.
- Most legislators don't have time to read the bills they're expected to vote on.
- Public input is scarce.
- Lobbyists and special interest groups get notification about bills that legislators don't get. Often they get to participate in drafting the bills.
- Committee meetings are called with no notice, often at odd hours.
- Legislation is gutted and completely replaced with unrelated legislation.
- Parliamentary tricks are used to cut off debate and quash amendments that might improve bills.
All of this, and more, serves to push legislation through that has not been carefully considered, thoroughly vetted, modified based on legislative/legal/expert/public input or held up to enough light to see the holes in it.
And those pushing the bills tend to be a handful of legislative leaders who expect their colleagues to get in line and vote for their pet legislation.
We've seen the results. Forget for a moment the policy implications of the awful NC GOP legislation -- the laws themselves are poorly written, ambiguous, incomplete, don't hold up in court and are difficult to interpret and enforce.
That's no way to run a state, Tillisberger.