Republican bullies

Trudy Wade continues her attacks on municipalities

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Dividing and conquering GOP-style:

“There really isn’t an exit clause for citizens,” Wade said of the perceived historic district shortcoming she aims to fix. “This is just clarifying a way to abolish (the special tax district) if they see the need to do that."

“It’s not written that way,” Vaughan said of Wade’s expressed desire to limit the impact to historic districts. “I know there’s concern among a number of other mayors over the negative impact it could have on their downtowns.” And Vaughan questioned the need for another exit ramp from historic districts, noting that existing law already allows the City Council to abolish such districts.

Oh no, when Trudy says "citizens," she isn't talking about their duly elected representatives, or even the City's citizens themselves as a whole. She's talking about a small subset of citizens who can be manipulated into voting the way the GOP wants. When your party can only claim 19% popularity, here's the approach you must use: (Citywide Referendum = Bad) (Small Enclave Referendum = Good). Why let the voters choose, when you can choose the voters?

Policymaking via the budget

Chris Fitzsimon lowers the boom:

Nobody debated the little-noticed but important provisions because nobody except a handful of Senate leaders even knew they were there. And it’s a safe bet that there are plenty more of them that have yet to be discovered in the massive budget document that is supposed to be legislation detailing how state taxpayer money is spent, not a bill that changes numerous state laws and makes significant policy changes.

The problem isn’t the merits of each idea, though most of them are clearly not in the state’s best interests, but that any significant policy change deserves a full debate and an up or down vote that is impossible when they are part of a larger budget document that legislators in the majority are pressured by their leaders to support.

I'm going to leave an open invitation here for any Republican lawmaker to explain "why" this should be considered acceptable. Buy I'm also not going to hold my breath, either. GOP leadership has demonstrated that debate is an unnecessary impediment, but what that really means is they have no respect for other opinions, even within their own party.

Allowing Greensboro's voters a referendum a "dealbreaker" for GOP

The blatant abuse of power is breathtaking:

The revised bill emerged in the House on Wednesday afternoon in the form of a conference report. It was written by a joint House-Senate committee that wasn’t fully formed until Tuesday afternoon.

Hardister said Wednesday that he sent word to the conference committee that he wanted the bill to include a referendum. “The referendum was a deal-breaker for a majority of the conference committee. I floated it.” The result, he said, was a compromise. “You don’t get everything you want in the legislative process.”

Pretty sure the voters in Greensboro would say "You don't get anything you want in the Legislative process." The most dumbfounding aspect of this story: Republicans feel justified in taking these abusive steps exactly because Greensboro residents would never approve them. How is that for absurdity? "This is the only way we can make this happen, so it is by default a 'legitimate' action." And you're right, it's straight out of George Orwell.

"Piñata Politics" is an apt description

The vendetta against Gene Nichol is childish and destructive:

A last-minute amendment by Senate leaders Wednesday docked the University of North Carolina School of Law budget by $3 million. Democrats say it's political payback for the school's employment of legislative critic Gene Nichol. Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, questioned whether the "capricious" cut would force reductions in financial aid or public service programs at the school. "This feels like the Gene Nichol transfer amendment," Woodard added.

Apodaca did not immediately respond to an inquiry from WRAL News about the timing and rationale for his amendment, but he said nothing to dispute Democrats' accusations during the floor debate.

When vicious attempts by Civitas to uncover wrongdoing on Professor Nichols' part didn't pan out, the next step was to close the Poverty Center. But that still wasn't enough, was it? Because the end goal is to get the outspoken Professor fired, or to force him to resign. Totalitarian regimes are notorious for silencing voices of opposition, and colleges are usually the first places they clamp down.

Bully boy Brock pushes partisan education boards

Stacking the deck in Davie County:

Brock has not responded to inquiries seeking comment. He told the Statesville Record & Landmark two weeks ago that he included Davie County — at the request of the Davie County Republican Party — in a bill that makes school board elections partisan in three other counties. Davie County was included on the third and final reading of the bill, unbeknown to five of the seven school board members and Superintendent Darrin Hartness.

In Davie County, the leadership of the Republican Party is primarily made up of individuals — including Ridenhour and Drechsler — who opposed the recent $54.5 million bond referendum to build a new high school.

Get that? The Republican Party leaders aren't pissed off Democrats are spending too much, they're pissed off the voters (in an R+47 County) were *allowed* to vote on a new high school. A vote that passed 54% to 46%, by the way. Why put up with the hassle of Democracy when you can just rule like a tyrant?

Trudy Wade doubles down on attack to democracy

There's more than one way to gerrymander a city:

The N.C. Senate voted 31-16 Thursday morning to approve House Bill 263, which originally would only make changes to the Trinity City Council. However, state Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) modified the Trinity bill, adding the changes to the Greensboro council that were originally proposed in Senate Bill 36, which has been languishing in a House committee.

There should be a rule dealing with this, a tactic we've seen more than once from overly-aggressive Republican lawmakers. They put a bill forward, and when it starts to struggle from lack of support, they just add the same language to another bill. In other words, if you can't get what you want, it's time to start cheating. When the House gets HB263 back, they should vote it down with extreme prejudice. Send a message now, or risk losing whatever limited powers you still have.

Another GOP chickenhawk praises preemptive war

Faux-Libertarian Civitas invites Scott Walker to the stage:

Walker said that the biggest safety threat is radical Islamic terrorists and that it is only a matter of time before there is another attack on American soil. The nation needs a leader who has the courage to take the fight to the enemy before it comes here, he said, receiving standing applause from the 600-plus members of the dinner crowd.

Walker had his chance to back up that big mouth. He dropped out of Marquette in time to join the battle against Saddam Hussein in Gulf War I, but that would require more than just talking. The truth of the matter is, while President Obama has engaged in more military actions abroad than many on the left would have preferred, he's done a heck of a job cleaning up after Bush's horrific mistakes. If we allow another Republican chickenhawk to take his place, we'll have sons and daughters in harm's way in ten different countries, coming back home irreparably broken or in a body bag.

Profiles in idiocy: Voting isn't important 'cause we already decided

Rucho is either really stupid or terminally arrogant:

Rucho didn’t seem fazed by it all, telling the News & Observer that Senate Republicans discuss controversial bills ahead of time and know how their members will vote so he was confident that the bill putting a lower cap on the state’s renewable energy would pass.

In Rucho's mind, "Committee" = "Committed." Apparently the meeting and the talking and the voting are non-essential aspects of the process, easily dispensed with if they threaten to slow things down. Maybe we should teach that in the new "Founding Fathers" required historical courses.

Opposition to ag-gag bill growing daily

Animal cruelty is only part of the issue:

Animal welfare and labor advocates began pressuring Gov. Pat McCrory this week to veto the bill. The Humane Society of the U.S. launched a week-long TV ad campaign.

The farm group’s letter says in part: “By permitting severe repercussions against those who report on illegal activity on farms, HB 405 grants a free pass to those recklessly cutting corners, and as such, directly threatens our economic viability as responsible farmers and food producers.”

Legislative alert: Crazy gun bill to be rammed through Wednesday

And it's a "new" version, whatever the hell that means:

House Speaker Tim Moore announced that a new version of House Bill 562 will available to the public online by 9 p.m.

It's scheduled to "pass through" – that is, to be approved by – the House Rules Committee at a 9 a.m. meeting Wednesday and will then be added to the House's floor calendar for debate during Wednesday's 2 p.m. session.

Among other things, making the "Crossover Deadline" nothing more than a bad joke. I'm sure Republicans will trot out their usual, "Democrats did it first!" excuse for twisting the rules and ramming through legislation lawmakers (and everybody else) haven't had the time to study. But they never did that with bills that could have such a profound impact on the safety of citizens. There's a huge difference, but the GOP just can't grasp it.

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