Dear CCTA Members and Friends,
Things went well this week for the Emergency Powers Accountability Act. Not perfectly, but well.
When the bill was heard in the House Rules Committee on Tuesday, CCTA’s Mary and Bob Griswold were there as was our friend and ally, Linda Harper from Goldsboro. Bob and Linda both spoke before the committee asking that the bill be sent to the House floor for a vote. Each of them did a really good job. (Hal and I watched it via livestreaming.) The Committee voted to send the bill to the House!
Then yesterday, CCTA’s Glenn Fink, Hal, and I went to every Representative’s office in the legislative office building. We talked to some Representatives, some Legislative Assistants, and left our hand-out (a brief letter asking for passage of the Emergency Powers Accountability Act) with them. We slid the letters under the doors of offices that were closed (mostly Dems with NO ADMITTANCE UNLESS WEARING FACE COVERING or WORKING FROM HOME DUE TO COVID signs on the doors) and put them squarely in the middle of the desks of Representatives whose doors were open but nobody was home.
Linda Harper and two of her buddies (Iris and Carl, but unfortunately, I didn’t catch last names) went to offices of Representatives in the legislative building, so with our combined effort, I think every Representative got a visit before the session started at 2:30 p.m.
After we finished making the rounds, we headed for the legislative building to have lunch in the cafeteria. After lunch, we went to Representative Brian Farkus’ office in the same building. He is a Democrat (very young) representing Pitt County who won by only 680 votes (I think that’s the number) and who has a constituency that includes a goodly number of conservatives, including some CCTA members. He wasn’t in, so we talked to his LA and left her with our letter. We also told her we’d appreciate it if she’d call us if he came back before the session and she (a very pleasant person) agreed, and we said we’d wait nearby just in case.
Representative Farkus didn’t come back, but while we were waiting, we saw Representative Keith Kidwell as he was making his own rounds (twisting arms, talking strategy, or both) and had a brief, but pleasant conversation with him.
We went to the gallery in time to hear and see the session. HB264 was shown as the first thing on the agenda. As it turned out, they handled a bunch of bills that were not controversial first. That part was mildly interesting.
When they got to Keith’s bill, the place really came to life. There were speeches “for” and “against” the bill. It was a real debate of the sort one would expect, and it was well done. The Democrats did a good job IF one suspended “critical thinking” and took their statements at face value. Every Republican who spoke did a good job, but Keith and John Bell were outstanding.
When the vote was taken, all of the Republicans voted “aye,” and all of the Democrats voted “no.” This is troubling for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is non-partisan (or should be) to deny unilateral decisions in a republican form of government. Our republic was designed to get us out from under the rule of a single person and to replace that with a government in which there are “checks and balances” that spread out governmental power, a government whose purpose is to protect the safety and the rights and freedoms of its citizens.
Sadly, Democrats in the NC General Assembly do not seem to understand that concept at all. I wonder if there’s any way to help them understand?
In any case, voting along party lines led to the bill’s PASSING by a 69 to 50 vote margin! It was sent to the Senate where it passed its first reading today and was assigned to the Senate Rules Committee.
The game is afoot again! I’ll soon be sending out an email with contact information for members of the Senate Rules Committee so that we can get in touch with them.
We got out in time to get to the parking lot and into our vehicle ahead of the rain, wind, and hail. It was a good day!