I had never heard of Texan Wendy Davis until social media alerted me to her filibuster of the Texas legislature. I was able to watch online as she, and Texas Democrats, held the floor until time ran out for the abortion bill. This was the first time I ever realized that parliamentary procedure could be absolutely riveting!!
It continues to fascinate today, and is used effectively by Republican leaders at NCGA. There are many ways to get rid of a proposed bill, something you don't like, one of which is to Table the Bill. Another is to rule the suggestion is Out of Order.
Republicans have used this procedure to make bills proposed by North Carolina's Democrats simply disappear. We will never know if those bills would have made good sense for North Carolina---they were never allowed to reach the point of real discussion.
Amongst the fallen are:
A teacher and state employee pay raise of 4.5% beyond what the Republicans proposed. It was ruled Out of Order. Surely this would have gone a long way to thank our state employees for sticking with us while enduring the Recession. It would also have provided enough extra spending money to stimulate our local economy. But that idea is Out of Order.
Another proposal was for funding that would help provide last-mile broadband access for rural areas. Out of Order. Everyone claims they want to provide business opportunities to our rural areas. Broadband would help with that. But to Republicans, it was out of order.
The reinstatement of a small business tax credit that Republicans repealed last year. Out of Order. Small businesses, especially in our rural counties, need help and support. But we were never allowed to look at whether or not this would help.
Democrats proposed a Megasite economic development fund to draw a major manufacturing plant to one of our rural areas. Out of Order.
Now, this proposal has already been shown to be successful in many other states, some of them run by Republicans. Democrats proposed expanding Medicaid to thousands of North Carolinians, providing both health care and jobs. Out of Order. We are asked to congratulate NC's GOP administration when they manage to get 70 jobs or 300 jobs in our state, but in refusing to expand Medicaid expansion they are saying a big, fat NO! to 25,000 jobs--private sector jobs, by the way, not public sector jobs. (Some sources suggest it could be 40,000 jobs, but that sounds like a bit of a stretch to me.) Medicaid would help hospitals cover the costs of treating the poor, help the poor stay healthy enough to work and go to school, and provide thousands of new, local, private-sector jobs. Out of Order.
Where do we go from here? Only the GOP, and ALEC, know.